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Est. 2004

Fort9 - Why Electric Motorcycles are Failing

If you know me at all, you know what I’ll be looking for on ebay tonight.

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I love it. And he is totally right, something like this would sell very well. I could even squeeze it into my building’s communal bicycle room.

Yep, I can see electric scooters something like a Honda SH300i but electric being really popular, but electric motorbikes are going to be a very niche thing for a while.

Why would the kids pay £2k for one of those when they can pay £500 for one of these.

Once the govt deregulates to allow them, they’ll be everywhere :slight_smile:

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If you go the electronic hub motor route, what’s to stop you putting one on the front wheel as well?
I appreciate weight is a consideration but you could have it geared for town/low speed use then have the rear hub geared for faster A roads that kicks in when over a certain speed.

If gearing is the main issue stopping high motorway range, why not have a gearbox

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Because it’s counter to the main benefits of an electrical design - massively reduced mechanical complexity and maintenance requirements (giving increased reliability). There’s no annual service required on EVs really, but the moment you add an oil-filled component like that, it’s going to need it.

You might also have an issue with packaging on a motorcycle. Where would it go when as much space as possible is needed for battery?

The cutting edge shows it’s not needed. Tesla’s new Model S Plaid can go to 200mph and 400 miles range without a gearbox. I think the main hurdle to adoption is needing greater energy storage density to make electric motorcycles a viable option for more people.

I thought it was because no one could design a clutch that could cope with the torque of electric delivery?

I don’t think that’s an issue for most scenarios, loads of people who convert old cars to electric leave the clutch/gearbox in (though sometimes with some up-rating I believe). Also, the Porsche Taycan has a two-speed gearbox, because Porsche.

From the video, Tesla manage it with two motors.

Yeah it would remove some of the benefits, but might make it into an actually useable thing.
Most people are put off by the lack of range, if it can solve that but still need a yearly service, then that seems fine.
Also, I didnt think free EVs were maintained free, just low maintenance. Things like bearings and suspension still wear out, plus the higher load cables would need testing.

With the speed of the motor being entirely controllable, you could electronically match the speed of the motor to the output shaft and in theory not need a clutch

For the duration of ownership, there’s no servicing on our EV. I do some, but it’s super simple:

  • Windscreen washer fluid
  • Tyre pressures
  • Tyres (once)

It’s great and after living with this experience, there’s no way I’d want an EV that had to be regularly serviced, and I think that will be a common feeling.

But if the choice was ev with a yearly minor service or sticking with ic, which would you go for?

The gearbox is to fill in the market that current ev tech can’t do (on a bike)

How far can it go at 200mph? My pals has to be careful with the speed he drives his Tesla as it has a huge impact on range. He was suffering range anxiety down in Dorset this weekend as the campsite had no chargers.

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Dunno why your friend had range anxiety, we toured all round Cornwall and Dorset without issue. There’s a Supercharger as you come into the area and then you can use any other public chargers (we used one at a supermarket whilst we did some shopping and explored the area). You can even trickle charge on a normal 3-pin socket. We’ve done that before when renting a property for the weekend.

I think some people make an unnecessarily big deal out range… there’s far more plug sockets in the UK than there are petrol pumps! We’ve been all round the UK and France without issue. It’s so much more convenient that petrol/diesel.

EVs, like any other vehicle will use more energy the faster/more aggressive you drive. That said, I have never once worried about running out of range, even when I got to a hotel with 10 miles left (just plugged it into the hotel). Have also had some high energy drives and the drop in range hasn’t been catastrophic. We are talking about cutting edge cars here though, electric bikes are nowhere near yet, unfortunately.

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I think personally, I would want to be on one or the other. I’m super eager to get an electric motorcycle, but not a compromised one. I want all the benefits of ICE, or all the benefits of EV, not something in-between.

I dont see it being a compromised one, though i don’t find the idea of a yearly service that much of a problem, just do it with the MOT.
If thats what it takes to enable me to get an electric bike sooner, then great

My friend Martin is super organised and looks up the charging point locations before he travels, always does his homework. This time he couldn’t charge on the campsite after a late arrival on Friday and didn’t want to miss the activities on Sat. He had to get home Sunday and have enough charge to get to work on Monday. He probably stopped on the way home as he leaves for work super early weekdays. Busy Sunday afternoon traffic could mean waiting for a charger then waiting for the charge. He’s not an anxious person but I could tell he had his fingers crossed.

This is of course all second hand - I have no personal experience of this.

His bike only cost that much because he was making it with bespoke parts. A factory could churn such bikes out for far less. Not sure if you still can, but you used to be able to get Chinese mopeds for under £1k from direct selling web sites. His much simpler bike would be less than that.

No idea whether the kids today with their so-called music would prefer a bike with a seat and a place for some luggage, or one of those scooters that can only manage half the speed for a similar range. But I can see the bike having its attractions.

But that is true of a petrol engine, riding my little bike on the motorway takes around 50 miles of range off a full tank on average

When I went to Lyme Regis the other week the bike said it used 63.1 mpg for coming home from Cambridge on the M11 previously then using the M4 to Chippenham, followed by 80.5 mpg enjoying the proper roads of Somerset, Devon, and Dorset.

Mind, if your friend is concerned about the inconvenience of driving around at 200mph, the range will be the least of his problems.

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