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Pure Electrics Won’t Work for Most Motorcycle Enthusiasts, Who May Have a Hybrid Future

A hybrid concept shown by Kawasaki more than a year ago with a small electric motor placed above the clutch/transmission housing, and a battery under the rider’s seat.

Regulations mandating fuel economy for auto manufacturers have generally ignored motorcyclists. Motorcycles have always achieved remarkable fuel economy in comparison with automobiles, with 40, 50 and even 60 mpg relatively commonplace for two-wheelers. Honda’s NC700X frequently averages 70 mpg according to Fuelly.

By comparison, the “remarkable” new 2023 Toyota Prius hybrid is rated in the low 50 mpg range with Car and Driver testing revealing an actual 45 mpg. Pretty good for a car, I suppose, but not hard for an ICE motorcycle to beat.

Nevertheless, it is expected that Euro emissions and fuel economy standards are coming for motorcycles hard over the next several years. Reduced C02 emissions and strict MPG standards are prompting motorcycle manufacturers to look at pure electric solutions, hybrid gas/electric solutions, alternative fuel solutions (so-called eFUELS) and even hydrogen. For enthusiasts, we can expect the adoption of hybrids in the relatively near future that provide both the performance and range we demand.

Pure electric motorcycles simply don’t work for enthusiasts. Certainly, acceleration and top speed are not a problem for pure electric motorcycles. My recent drag race with a Tesla sedan driven by a soccer mom drove home the point that electric powertrains can certainly offer high performance. Take a look at this YouTube video if you are not convinced.

A more recent hybrid concept drawing from Kawasaki.

So electric vehicles, including motorcycles, can haul ass and offer plenty of adrenaline to even the most enthusiastic motorcyclists. The problem is range and weight. To give you an idea of the “state-of-the-art” in production electric motorcycles, take a look at the spec sheet for Zero’s DSR/X. This new model boasts a “city range” of 180 miles, but acknowledges an average range of only 85 miles at a steady 70 mph on the highway. Zero lists curb weight for this model at 544 pounds thanks to extensive weight-saving measures. Again, with current technology, this is about as light as you can expect for a pure electric model with this sort of performance and range. 544 pounds is in the ball park of large-displacement ICE adventure tourers.

With the latest and greatest technology, the MotoGP Championship runs a MotoE pure electric series, where the bikes can’t do more than 6-8 laps, with lap times slower than the smallest ICE-powered bikes in Moto3. Take a look at this discussion with Ducati and Triumph representatives regarding the problems with weight and range for high performance electric motorcycles.

So if you want good performance and decent range, don’t expect it from pure electric bikes anytime soon. The major manufacturers realized this. Ducati does not want to damage its reputation with production models that disappoint consumers, and has directly said so. Kawasaki has production electric models coming soon with relatively low power and low range designated as “city bikes”.

But gas/electric hybrids promise performance, practicality and good range in motorcycles. At the 2022 EICMA Motorcycle Show a few months ago, Vitesco Technologies promoted a turn-key hybrid solution for motorcycle manufacturers incorporating an electric motor and removable battery that could be added to, and augment, mid-displacement motorcycles primarily driven by ICE. According to Vitesco, this hybrid package adds less than 50 pounds to a ICE bike, and it actually had a working prototype based on a Husqvarna Svartpilen 401. Reportedly, this concept bike weighed less than 380 pounds.

Recent Kawasaki patent drawing depicting a hybrid bike with an electric engine at “M” and a battery at “13”.

So hybrid motorcycles promise to be both lighter and much less expensive than pure electrics. Featuring a gas engine, they can quickly be topped-off at a gas station like any other motorcycle. But the hybrid drive train can boost both fuel efficiency and performance.

Workable hybrids have the potential to essentially double the torque output of a stand-alone ICE bike. At the same time, their electric motors can take over motive force where the ICE is least efficient, such as stop-and-go traffic around town. Relatively simple clutch and transmission features can seamlessly couple and de-couple the ICE and electric motors to maximize efficiency, as well as performance.

Kawasaki promises a hybrid production motorcycle for sale in 2024. Prototypes and patent drawings show a small, efficient electric motor placed directly over the transmission of existing Kawasaki engines. Kawasaki, of course, has extensive experience packaging superchargers into motorcycles, so it has an advantage in experience here.

So enthusiasts need not despair that electric motorcycles will be their only option, at least in the near future. Performance, good range and decent overall weight can be achieved with hybrid powertrains.

Kawasaki illustration of handlebar controls for automatic/manual transmission in hybrid motorcycle models.

72 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Pretty funny when Alta made the 5 major manufacturers look like chumps – 4th at the Redbull Straight Rythum in 2016!

  2. Jeremy says:

    If OEMs can’t figure out how to meet emissions any other way, then so be it. Seems like a lot of extra hardware to cram into a motorcycle chassis, though, for emissions to be the only benefit. Hopefully there is a better way.

    • Tom K. says:

      Agree, I can imagine hybrid systems for motorcycles being fairly lightweight, maybe using hub motor/generators and a small battery. I’m going to reserve judgment until we actually see a production model to determine whether any fuel economy / emission gains will outweigh the added weight, complexity, packaging and financial costs. My guess is a company as large as Kawasaki can model this accurately without even having to build a prototype, and then let marketing do their thing to gauge customer acceptance.

  3. RyYYZ says:

    I could probably live with a hybrid bike. At least it would be competitive with, or maybe even better, than current bikes in terms of range.

    For what I want a motorcycle to do, even just on the weekend, nevermind touring, e-bikes just aren’t anywhere close to being acceptable.

    My typically weekend ride is not very long, but doesn’t typically revolve around places that would have fast chargers. If any e-bikes even had decent fast charging, like a Tesla or Ioniq-5 – 10 to 80 % in ~20 minutes, which they don’t. The best need over an hour to do a charge like that. Hell, sometimes when I’m out riding around in the sticks it takes some doing to even find a nearby gas station.

    For touring, my current bike has a range of ~400 km on the highway. Again, some places even gas stations are few and far between. And I only have to stop for 5 minutes for fuel. No, I’m not saying I routinely ride through multiple tanks of gas without stopping, but I stop when and where I like, i.e. not at gas/charging stations. So big improvements in range and charging times would be necessary before an e-bike would be a decent replacement for what I want a motorcycle for.

  4. Artem says:

    I think this idea is total bulls…t. You have to have either EV or ICE.

    • Mick says:

      I have to agree. A hybrid system on anything but a city bike seems like a “something”. Like they are doing “something” about a problem without really doing anything to solve it.

      Performance is a problem that was solved decades ago. A street bike really doesn’t need a ton of power and the industry absolutely refuses to make them any lighter. For quite a while the lightest bike that many OEMs made was their 1000cc sport bike that made well over 100 horsepower. Even the 600s seemed to always weigh just a little bit more and they were making over 100 horsepower. Now days anything that makes more power than the Yamaha 700 comes with “modes” so you can turn the engine down. Hybrid systems would only add weight to bikes that are already much heavier than they really need to be.

      Most people have a motorcycle because the use it for joy rides. The street bike customer is generally super tolerant of heavy motorcycles. But few are going to swallow another 50 pounds for a system the is just ballast on a joy ride through the countryside. “In town” is a place where most motorcyclists are leaving as quickly as they can. A system that might save you a couple of teaspoons of gas on your escape before it becomes useless isn’t something a lot of people are going to want to drag around with them, or pay extra for.

      I am obviously not someone with my finger on the pulse of the fashion industry. If having a hybrid motorcycle becomes fashionable, they will sell well. I have watched, amazed, as riders go from sport bike to Harley as if there is no middle ground. Clearly these folks are buying an image. Now days it’s the adventure bike for people who don’t even know where the nearest forest is. Clearly a lot of people can be made to buy just about anything with the right ad campaign. Make a hybrid something that the fashionable want to stand next to and be prepared to produce a lot of them.

      I’ll continue to watch from the sidelines and buy two stroke dirt bikes. They might not be fashionable. Pass the beer nuts.

      • Reginald Van Blunt says:

        Agreed also, as I doubted earlier on this blog, about Hybrid motorcycles.
        All fashion sucks too. Silly folks who can not make their own decisions about what is practicle for them follow fashion.
        As to the subject of light bikes, There is no reason a simple street bike could not be light, the problem is all the stuff added to a frame including sophisticated valve trains, many transmission gears, exhaust gadgets for politicians, and cheaper than available structural materials.
        Wouldn’t it be swell to have a 450 to 600 cc thumper, classically styled, with a 4 sp trans, pushrods, titanium / carbon fibre frame, solid aluminum handle bars, with no steel anywhere outside the engine and a flat seat ?
        Here’s a beer nut to you Mick, way to go.

      • Motoman says:

        Geez Mick. I can’t even make a joke or snarky comment about your great post! And I really loved this gem: “clearly a lot of people can be made to buy just about anything with the right ad campaign”

        • Reginald Van Blunt says:

          Remember the 60s english motorcycle ads with beautiful girls in hot pants draped over Nortons, Triumphs, and BSAs ?
          Hoo Chee Momma those were the days !

      • Artem says:

        My point is it is very complicated. Not good.

      • Artem says:

        You are too keen to two strokes. Besides, a lot of man do that. Even Rossi, not to mention other greates.

    • Dave says:

      While I don’t think it’s a “BS” idea, I do think hybridization on motorcycles as a solution looking for a problem. Motorcycles that don’t get great mileage do so because of the compromises that must be made for extremely high performance. The NC700 mentioned in the opening paragraph gets the mileage it does (better than many scooters) by having a very conservative tune that has the engine running at close to its efficiency peak while riding under normal riding speeds and conditions. It makes for a decidedly un exciting power output but if you want efficiency, that’s the answer.

  5. Timothy Beal says:

    No one mentioned swappable batteries! This is totally the way to go for two wheels! A kiosk at every 7-11, every Safeway, Chevron station, etc. Two, three, four batteries in your bike depending on the size of the bike. Extra batteries in your truck for dirt bikes. This is a no-brainer!

    • todd says:

      The last few dirt bike rides I have done took me venturing many miles and a whole day of riding through the mountains. I usually need to bring a spare gallon of gas just to make it back. If I had to come back to the van every hour or so to swap a battery, I would immediately sell the bike and go buy a YZ250X for half as much.

      • Jeremy says:

        Most of my dirt bike rides are pretty long, too. That’s true for most riders around here. But for MX tracks or anyone that lives east of the Rocky Mountains where virtually all land is privately owned and a long dirt bike loop might be 35 miles, swappable batteries are a good solution.

        • Mick says:

          My little electric is a bit of a side show. It can’t do a long loop and I have pushed that thing out of the woods in full gear enough to make sure I don’t get too far from the truck with it. But it’s obviously not a fully developed technology.

          What I am waiting for in an electric bike is, well, a hybrid. Meaning something in between a mountain bike and a dirt bike.

          Take the upcoming Sur-Ron Ultra Bee for instance. It’s a bit lighter than a 125 and a bit smaller in most dimensions. It has about enough power for a tight woods environment and it’s size and shape would help maximize the effectiveness of that power. In the type of woods that I like to ride most. It needs no excuses. The bike I’ve had for a few years now was about half as powerful in stock form and still able to keep up.

          It’s still not something that I would bring to the Desert. But in a nice forest with firm ground would be an excellent place to ride the thing like you stole it.

          But then you would need to park it and get on your real bike while the thing is charging back up. The technology isn’t there yet. And it’s not coming soon.

          I wonder if the above hybrid is the wrong way to go about it. An electric bike with a small turbo generator as a range extender might be a better idea.

  6. todd says:

    I am not worried. There will always be a low mileage used ICE available to buy. I like to shift an engine and be engaged in the machine. An electric has none of this experience. I think less and less people will become riders if electric is what’s available. People are driven to ride because of some sort of visceral, raw, emotional appeal. An electric washing machine has none of that. I don’t think adding mass as a hybrid is the solution either.

  7. RichBinAZ says:

    Hybrid sounds like a possible good solution as it avoids the problem with recharging the battery, when (not if) electricity is not available.

    I did some simple number crunching re pure EV’s (too long to repeat here) but one of the biggest problems will be the size/capacity of the electric grid. It will need to at least double if everyone has an EV and are trying to charge it at home after work.

    Lets see, California narrowly missed rolling blackouts this year during the summer of fire. Then back east this winter, there were threats of blackouts too when the ice storms took down the trees and power lines strung up thru them. So we are at the max already. Best double it now and protect the substations from being shot up with wall technology.

    The government is just starting to notice that EV’s are heavy too. With an electric Hummer weighing 9000lbs, they are worried about crashes with lighter cars. Bikes weren’t even mentioned. Won’t that break up the roads faster too?? Now we need eco-tarmac, or concrete, the worst CO2 producer.

  8. Neil says:

    Bottom line, what kind of local power plant do you have? If it’s not clean, then the car is not clean. Tons of coal around the country and it’s not all going to be solar and wind. Greenpeace: HUGE environmental destruction to have solar and wind all over the native environment. Re-use energy. Nuclear Fusion. Clean carbons.

    • TimC says:

      Cheap abundant energy is a primary factor in lifting us out of short lives of pure toil.

      “Abundant” is an understatement, as it turns out.

      https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/41889

    • TimC says:

      Another thought – “clean” carbons does NOT mean blocking carbon emissions – which feed the plants. Any questions class on the real motive for zero carbon?

      • Motoman says:

        Jeez I wonder how the plants survived without the extra carbon we pump into the air. 🤔 Hmmm

        • TimC says:

          Actually, the Earth is relatively carbon-starved compared to most of its existence (post-life anyway). Freeing it up by using it for energy is the best thing we can be doing currently.

          • Mick says:

            It’s amazing that people fall for lines like that. Absolutely dilusional.

          • TimC says:

            It’s amazing that people don’t know science at all yet call those that do “delusional.”

          • Dave says:

            How does Co2 in the upper atmosphere feed plants? Our atmosphere 47% more carbon in it than it did prior to the beginning of the industrial age.

        • Mick says:

          So that’s the latest coal company spin eh? It needs work. Lots of work.

          I operated a coal plant until I retired twenty one years ago. Since that time, the plant that I worked at and every other coal plant in the MSP metro area has been torn down and replaced. Unsurprisingly, the plants and crops in the area don’t miss the coal plants at all. Go figure.

          I’d like to hear this real motive thing too. That must be a real doozy. I suppose you’re saving it up to see if we fall for the carbon-starved line, which is quite a whopper. And I suppose a minimum requirement for a suitable mark.

  9. Grover says:

    All I know is that some compromises will have to be made by everyone. That delicious liter bike that you’ve been lusting after will be a thing of the past in a few years. No way are they going to mandate e-cars and let you get away with a 200 hp, two-wheeled freedom machine. Nope, you’re facing a new world where the government will decide what’s best for you regardless of the engineering.limitations.

    • Tom K. says:

      It’s premature to consider your predictions as a foregone conclusion (at least in the U.S.A.), where we are supposed to be able to “fire” idiotic behavior at the voting booth. Personally, I cannot think of a period in my lifetime that deserved to be repudiated at the ballot box as greatly as the last three years. But it didn’t happen – instead, we doubled down via Senator Fetterman. Color me very confused.

      My concern is that we are going to choose some very poor (expensive and inefficient) solutions to a very real problem (anthropogenic climate change) simply to feed the idea that we’re doing “something”, or worse, choose solutions only intended to line the pockets of unscrupulous leaders. The issue is so immense (and the consequences so thus-far unquantifiable) that it can only be properly addressed with a viable, affordable, whole-planet, long-term plan, formulated by our best technical minds (sorry, Greta, you’re not one of them) over a long period of inquiry and debate, with buy-in from all of us. How hard can that be?

      So far, I haven’t seen one yet, and crossing our fingers in hopes cheap fusion power is only a decade away is not really a plan. There are about eight billion souls on the planet currently, and the vast majority of them want to live the same lifestyle as those in the most developed countries. And they will burn everything that burns in order to create the energy to allow that to happen, climate change be damned, and that very scenario is happening at an ever-increasing pace in second-and-third-world countries. Electrifying the entire transportation fleet of the U.S. won’t make a whit of difference to that inevitable outcome, even if it were possible (which it isn’t with current technologies and resources).

      The Good News is that the planet will survive just fine. If the worst predictions are true, then most of us won’t be, however, but at least the problem is largely self-correcting. Not sure who said it, but a quote comes to mind: “Why should I worry about future generations, what have they ever done for me?”

      • TimC says:

        You started off good. I stopped at ACC being “very real.”

        HORSE HOCKEY.

        • Tom K. says:

          NASA, along with most other experts, disagree with you.
          I have no idea whether they’re right, but have decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, and give into the argument that climate change is both real and man-made. In their favor, it’s really hard to believe that releasing billions and billions (trillions?) of tons of carbon into the atmosphere over a couple of hundred years, that nature sequestered over millions and millions of years, is not going to have to have some kind of effect on the planet.

          My point is that even if they’re right, that even if climate change is “real”, and man-made, and will have some kind of major effect going forward, that the genie is already out of the bottle at this point, and since NOBODY can predict with certainty how damaging the effects will be, there’s nothing we can do about it anyway without creating extreme poverty, famine, or untold human misery by abandoning fossil fuels willy-nilly. We just don’t have the raw materials needed at this point (or the wealth) to electrify the world with renewable energy sources in the timeframe being suggested, and until we get a better handle on the problem, shouldn’t waste resources on “solutions” which are hugely expensive with unknown or limited benefits.

          The problem is, the Gretas of the world want both to eat their cake and have it, I’m guessing the suggestion that they get rid of their own refrigeration, air conditioning, smart phones and fresh produce wouldn’t get very far off the ground. But the idea that three billion Africans, Chinese, and Indians need to live a primitive lifestyle forever might just be OK with them. The Third World disagrees, and that’s proven by the number of coal fired power plants currently under construction in China and India. Driving the U.S. into poverty by banning fossils while the rest of the world is more than happy to continue oxidizing them, just isn’t a solution. What I find odd, is that the Greenies have disavowed nuclear power when they should be crying out for it.

          • TimC says:

            The experts have a great track record lately, don’t they?

          • Nick says:

            Please stop slanging-off Greta. Without her input, a lot of people would never have taken notice of global warming. She doesn’t pretend to know all the answers or have a masterplan to fix the situation but she’s done a very good job of whistleblowing. The problem is that governments are made up of egotists who just want to protect their jobs and can’t risk upsetting the electorate by enacting the necessary legislation. I’m glad I won’t last long enough to see the eventual outcome!

  10. JR says:

    Just like the auto industry.. if the plan is to also kill the motorcycle industry with this type of crap.. then you are off to a good start.

  11. Scott says:

    Solid state batteries seem like they’ll be ready in a few years and should double range, it seems like hybrids will cost manufacturers a lot of R&D dollars to be a fairly short term solution until pure battery electric motorcycles have sufficient range to satisfy consumers. I lean to the environmental side of most debates, but I question whether the environmental impacts of pure ICE vs hybrid motorcycles over the next few years until battery technology is ready is significant enough to justify regulators cracking down on them before battery technology is ready.
    Also, given that drag (who’s affect on mileage I don’t believe is helped much by hybrid technology) has a much more significant impact on motorcycle fuel economy than on automobiles and mass (who’s affect on mileage is significantly helped by hybrid technology) has a much smaller impact on motorcycle fuel economy than on automobiles, I question the impact hybridization will have on motorcycle environmental impact. That said, stop/start technology might help emissions in city riding, particularly for places that don’t allow lane splitting, and if it increases performance, that’s always fun.

    • joe b says:

      As if solid state batteries were something real already. might as well, ask to power them with dilithium crystals, eh? its always, “there will be a battery revolution”, but not in our lifetime. its not going to be, “the next few years”.

      • Grover says:

        Right. The all-new battery composition that will “weigh 1/2 as much, have twice the output and be totally affordable is right around the corner” mantra of the EV proponents is getting tiring. I wish they would just plonk down their $25k on a Zero e-bike and enjoy their 80 mile rides before charging.

      • Stinkywheels says:

        I kinda agree. I’d also hate to say when the next groundbreaking battery will come. I’ve went from lead acid to NiCad to LiIron/Ion in my lifetime. I never was able to predict those. I’ve seen a lot, might live long enough to see more.

  12. Tom K. says:

    I think the future for two-wheeled electrics does exist, but only in a product typically used for much less range than traditional motorcycles – commonly known as a “bicycle”. Dirck previewed one a couple of years ago, and if my memory has not slipped too far down the cliff, he pondered “Whether that type of vehicle would continue to blur the line between bicycles and motorcycles”, as it had pretty impressive range, weight, price, and speed specs (sorry that I’m too lazy to provide the link). But a fat-tired electric bicycle is definitely in my future, and as others have pointed out, there’s no law restricting a person from owning more than one vehicle, just having one to use as a commuter when bringing your car into the shop is a real plus.

    I’ve never believed that electric motorcycles would replace the ICE flavored variety absent gub’mint mandates, but it’s hard to fault Zero from giving it the old college try. I’m still not even convinced that BEV’s will completely replace ICE four-wheelers, especially in SUVs and trucks, since they just don’t make sense for many drivers (those without a place to charge, rural folk, those that don’t put on many miles in a year, etc.), at least with current technology and costs – Ford’s “$39,000 Lightning” turned out to be a fantasy. Saudi Arabia is going to be swimming in petrodollars for the rest of our, and probably our great-grandchildren’s, lives.

    As an aside, if we were truly serious about cutting our carbon emissions, vehicles are far from the lowest-hanging fruit anyway. I just got my latest natural gas bill, and I used 280 therms to heat my home last month. Considering that a therm (100,000 BTU’s) contains as much energy as about 5/6 gallon of gasoline, I used as much energy in a month of heating my home as I typically use in an entire year of driving my car (6000 miles at 25 mpg). Bottom line, we need to focus more on insulation than lithium ion batteries if we want the best hang for the buck. And comparing OTR trucks to trains? We definitely need more goods shipped by rail in this country. Excuse me now, but there are some clouds currently floating over my house that definitely need to be yelled at.

    • Harry says:

      Tom, agree with you to a point. Take a look at the PBS Newshour for 1/11/23. They talk about heat pumps. They also mentioned drilling a well (small hole) deep in the ground where the normal ground temp is around 50 F to increase efficiency. Heat pumps use electricity and can both heat and cool. Roof solar panels can provide some of the energy. Interesting segment.

      You are correct insulation and our housing environment are a major contributor to green house gases. But so are other sources like beef cattle and transportation. My tesla was charged at home with solar panels installed on my roof.

    • Neil says:

      Too many homes don’t even have a lick of insulation. We need to tear down old wooden shacks in older cities and replace with more efficient high density housing so many units share heat. We also have to watch who (and what energy) we vote for. We need hybrid energy for now using ALL resources and not just screwing the consumer suddenly. I worked at Greenpeace so I am all for common sense but we need costs to not soar. My apartment has no insulation in the outside walls from 1970. They’ve wasted well over a Million dollars I am sure.

  13. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    I have some doubt that a hybrid motorcycle would offer similar advantages to an airplane or automobile hybrid, because of the average power to weight ratio advantage motorcycles have. Scaling down might not be worth it due to the extra weight of electric motor and battery considering the small amount of time a motorcycle needs loading the engine for normal acceleration.
    My next automobile wll be a hybrid, and never a CVT or pure EV.

  14. Tom R says:

    It is interesting that the same company behind the smoky Mach III two-stroke 500 is now arguably the leader in developing innovative motorcycle powertrains.

  15. Mick says:

    Finally! A motorcycle with a walk button. They’re lookin’at you ORT.

    I doubled the output of my little electric guy last week. The thing weighs 125 pounds and is faster that you might think possible. I have it set up for supermoto right now and have been terrorizing the ‘hood while I test different settings.

    The new motor controller can be tuned via Bluetooth with a PC or Android phone. Apple people need not apply. The phone app is still in beta and needs to be side loaded. They didn’t bother to make an Apple version of the computer software either. Gotta like those guys.

    • MGNorge says:

      Your comments on software availability caught my eye as it’s something I pay attention to. In the US, someone could almost be excused in thinking that there’s little other than Apple products available in both smartphones, and to a lesser degree, computers. So persuasive and overwhelming is Apple’s presence in advertising and representation in media of all kinds in the US. By the numbers, iPhones today represent just over half of smartphones in the US, but again, one could almost be excused in thinking there were no other choices. Same with computers, they’re very much represented in media, ads, and film, but they’re even further down the list numbers wise. Worldwide, the numbers are even further apart as Android holds over 70% of the total market, which includes the US. As far as Apple computer goes, they are sixth largest, but one would be hard pressed seeing this in media in the US. So, it’s not hard to see where some software just will not be developed for platforms with lower representation in the market, at least right away. I remember this same thing in motorcycles some years ago. A motorcycle in the US was largely depicted as a Harley Davidson almost everywhere you looked. To a degree that still exists today.

  16. Magnus says:

    I own a Zero FX. The thing is a blast around town and does well on the highway, but range is definitely an issue. I would prefer if someone could incorporate a small Honda inverter style generator into an all electric bike to add range. It wouldn’t add too much weight and could charge constantly if need be. Being able to cruise at highway speeds until the gas tank ran out would do me fine. A generator could be finely tuned for minimum exhaust pollutants at the most efficient rpm. Of course, engineering everything into the most efficient package would require a lot of commitment. Just adding a Honda generator onto my FX is not the answer, though I have considered a trailer…

  17. Roadrash1 says:

    Whenever I contemplate EVs, I never consider them in terms of “they must fulfill all the missions”.
    Most people I know have multiple vehicles…

    • MGNorge says:

      I was reading that many EV adopters do in fact use more than one vehicle. A hybrid or Plug-in Hybrid may be chosen for electric driving in town plus the ability to travel on longer trips without the need for a charge and a full electric for commuting and running errands.

      • TimC says:

        The problem is they are being forced (2035 timeframe at this point) on us when they are not yet feasible as a single vehicle (even if they were, the “forced” part is BS yet anytime I point out issues around freedom on this site there are those that seem against the idea).

        • Dave says:

          They are feasible, some will just need to accept some limitations, mostly out in the fringe of use cases. 90% of drivers don’t need any more range or capacity than ev’s offer now. As they proliferate we’ll see lower priced options come available, then people won’t feel “forced” to save hundreds or thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs.

          • TimC says:

            Feasible – not as a single vehicle they sure as hell are not.

          • Dave says:

            Sure they are, if you acknowledge that the vast majority of drivers don’t need to do whatever obscure task you’re imagining frequently enough to need to own a vehicle for it.

            Almost all drivers drive short to medium distances almost all of the time, alone.

          • todd says:

            I need more than 80 miles of range on my bike. That is just barely enough to cover my 80 mile commute as long as I can expect a charging spot at work to keep me from worried I will have to sleep at work or somewhere part way home. I would still need another bike with around 3-400 mile range for the regular weekend rides I do with friends.

    • Harry says:

      I own a Tesla, purchased in 2020. Love the car. Not brand loyal, dislike Musk. Why Tesla? Look at the charging station map – https://www.finder.com/tesla-superchargers-map. I have driven cross country many times, no range anxiety at all! These are DC chargers that can place 100 miles in around 15 minutes.

      Tesla did their homework. These chargers are only for Tesla use. Can I currently drive a Ford Lightening cross country? Yes, using ElectrifyAmerica and EVgo But their network is minor compared to Tesla. There will be range anxiety.

      Remember we are in the infancy of the EV path forward.

      • Neil says:

        My electric grid is HALF clean energy. Many places have coal. So E cars don’t make sense everywhere. Lithium is mined by children and the poor. Perhaps not newer mines. But a great majority. Same with cadmium for cell phones. We don’t see the forest thru the trees. One of THE biggest polluters is power plants and Industry. We need to start there. By the way, Arizona is powered greatly by the largest Nuke Plant in the US, just as a forest thru the trees example. Phoenix was a really stupid idea without at least double roofs and white cement roads etc.

        • Dave says:

          About 22% of US electricity is coal fired at this point and dropping in favor of natural gas and renewables. Still, an EV charged with coal fired electricity is still cleaner and more efficient than burning gasoline in an I.C.E. vehicle. It takes longer for that EV to make it to its carbon break even point. The coal electric plant in the middle of my city emits cleaner air than it takes in, minus the Co2.

          Lithium is mined mostly in a salt brine evaporation process. You’re thinking of cobalt mining in Africa, which has been done at large scale (for fuel desulpherization) since long before demand started rising for battery production. Interesting how it wasn’t an issue before but it is now.

          Agree about Phoenix. Can’t figure out why they stopped to build a city there.

        • Tom K. says:

          Quick question: Which (same-sized, same construction) home uses more energy each year for climatization, one in Phoenix, or one in Chicago or Minneapolis? Yes, there is less water available in Phoenix, but as Las Vegas has shown, water not evaporated for agriculture or other outdoor use, can be recycled and reused (no matter where you are, it’s likely some of the water molecules you consumed today passed through the kidneys of a triceratops or George Washington or more recently, somebody further upstream).

          My guess is we’d produce much less CO2 each year if the majority of our population lived at significantly lower latitudes than they currently do.

          • Dave says:

            I was surprised at that claim and became interested so I looked around and couldn’t find a source that showed that homes in AZ used less energy than those in MN, IL, WI or most other states. I wasn’t surprised at what I found. Having visited Phoenix in the summer I was left wondering how a city ever came to be in such an inferno.

            As for Vegas, look in on the state of Lake Mead. If that doesn’t improve that city and state will have to make drastic adjustments to continue its existence.

          • Tom K. says:

            Dave, I wasn’t making a claim, I was genuinely asking a question I didn’t know the answer to, and was hoping someone more knowledgeable would confirm or deny my suspicion.

            My thought was that since Chicago has an annual average temperature of about 50°F and Phoenix’s is about 75°F, Phoenix is closer to the number that “they” typically use for a baseline for calculating heating and cooling degree days (65°, if I remember correctly), and therefore should require less energy to climatize an equivalent home. But, it’s also obvious that you can’t assume, because the variation from average throughout the year is going to weigh heavily in the matter (I believe Honolulu has an average annual temperature that is a few degrees greater than Phoenix, but I’m sure that home energy usage there is very low in comparison, due to the small variations in daily and seasonal temperature). Also, I think “they” use 65°F as the yardstick because solar intensity, humidity, and windspeed play a fairly significant role in home heating/cooling.

            But another thing to consider is efficiency – as someone responded above, heat pumps (and A/C units) can have efficiencies in the 200-300% range, while heating with fossils probably averages 80-90%. Of course, you have to consider the inefficiencies of making the electricity to run your heat pump to begin with. Also, heat pumps greatly lose efficiency when outside temperatures fall below maybe 20°F; you need some kind of backup heating for latitudes above some point in the U.S.

            Bottom line, I think daily life in Phoenix would be an improvement over Chicago with respect to weather, simply because in Phoenix, you have some hours of “desirable” outdoor temperature almost every day of the year, even though they would be after sundown maybe four or five months of the year. You sure can’t say that about northern Illinois. I’m going to do a deep dive into the weather almanacs available online to see whether anyone has comparisons of heating/cooling degree days between major U.S. cities, I did a cursory search and got bupkis. I guess we can’t all live in San Diego, but I’d like to come closer than where I’m currently at (not surprisingly, ChiTown).

          • Tom K. says:

            Well, that took less time than I anticipated! My math says that Chicago and Phoenix are about equal, with the total heating and cooling degree days reversed (6320 and 940 for Chicago, and 860 and 7240 for Phoenix). That said, as an old barstard I still think I’d take Phoenix simply because you don’t have to shovel sunshine, LOL. Likely if you take the carbon emissions from not having snow and ice removal, less-stringent building codes (no snow weight for roofs and shallow frost depth for foundations and utilities), plus your vehicles don’t rust out, Phoenix would fare better, but to each their own. Interesting exercise.
            https://outflux.net/weather/noaa/index.php

          • Dave says:

            I found resources that compare home energy consumption and found that AZ has much higher energy use than the most densely populated parts of the midwest. It must be a lot harder to cool a home in AZ than it is to heat one in IL/WI/MN.

            I’m not crazy about shoveling snow either, but my AZ friends describe a summer that’s a lot more oppressive to live in than my winters, when I still go out and play (albeit with different toys). In summer there’s accessible lakes everywhere, the days are 13 hours long and our hottest summer days are downright comfortable compared even to somewhere like St. Louis.

          • Jeremy says:

            From personal experience, I used way more energy living in Houston, TX and Columbia, SC than I did in Connecticut and currently do living in Colorado. In those southern locations, I remember the air conditioner going for most of the year. You get a few weeks here and there when it gets cold enough for heat, but there was almost never a time when neither was needed. The humidity levels there also pretty much required one system to be running just to keep the air dry. Humidity isn’t a problem for Phoenix, but then the desert can’t sustain us all.

            In Colorado, there are large chunks of time when I don’t need either system running.

          • Tom K. says:

            I appreciate your posting your own experiences. I found a gub’mint site last night that states home energy use is lower in southern and western states than in midwest and northeastern states, but it is not definitive (IMHO) as it doesn’t control for home size, construction techniques, or energy sources. So, I guess the jury is still out, and I was surprised that the difference is not greater than the data says.
            https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/use-of-energy/homes.php#:~:text=Because%20of%20higher%20space%2Dheating,the%20South%20and%20West%20regions.

          • Jeremy says:

            I used to live in Illinois ages ago. That home was both relatively small and pretty old, and I haven’t owned anything comparable to it anywhere else. But I can understand why the Midwest might have heavier energy use. Summer was really hot and winter was really cold.

  18. Jim says:

    I like the sound of Hybrid power over EV, even if I don’t care for the looks of that Kawasaki.

    In other news: Glad you are g2g Dirck, you had us worried.

  19. ORT says:

    Welcome back, sir! I trust your Christmas and New Year both were good for you and yours.

    ORT

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Thanks ORT. Sorry for the lengthy hiatus.

      • ORT says:

        It is good to rest and pursue other things.

        Never forget that time travel happens whenever we are away from work. Time speeds up and goes by far quicker than what a regular work day does.

        And if I may be honest, I have not missed Mick’s whining about weight at all. 😉

        In all ways and for always, be well my friend.

        ORT

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