Tag Archives: battery

Carry electric bike battery inside to charge

One of the problems with electric motorcycles is finding somewhere to charge the battery, but a Chinese company believes the answer is in removable batteries you can carry inside to a power point for charging.

Removable batteries could be a way forward for electric motorcycles and scooters with several Japanese and Chinese companies now using or considering them.

Their idea is that they can be swapped at vending machines when they run flat.

Yamaha Gogoro battery swap electric scooterYamaha electric scooter with removable Gogoro battery

However, Shanghai scooter company Niu has unveiled their RQi scooter prototype which has removable two-piece Panasonic lithium battery packs which can be charged up on household mains outlets.

Niu RQi Carry battery inside to chargeNiu RQi portable battery

It makes a lot of sense if the battery packs are light and small enough to carry inside.

We are used to charging our phones and portable devices when we get to work or return home, so one more battery wouldn’t make much difference.

Harley-Davidson’s electric scooter concept also has a removable battery with a handle so you can carry it inside for charging.

Harley electric LiveWire ID specsHarley electric scooter

Niu don’t specific charging time, but they say the two packs would provide range of about 130km in combined city/highway riding.

The RQi scooter, unveiled at the recent Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, is powered by a 30kW mid-drive motor with a top speed of 160km/h.

Other features are TFT dash, traction control, belt drive, 5G connectivity for GPS and anti-theft tracking, and an adaptive headlight that lights up the inside of corners as used by companies such as BMW and KTM.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

NAWA Racer electric has hybrid battery

NAWA Technologies has revealed an electric café racer with a hubless rear-wheel motor and world-first ‘hybrid’ battery system, combining next-gen ultracapacitors with a lithium-ion battery.

They say it is the first time an electric motorbike has used ultracapacitors.

Nawa claim it is 25% lighter, 10 times more powerful, with five times more energy.

Yet they say it is only capable of 300km of range in the city which is not much more than the Harley-Davidson LiveWire with city range of up to 235km and 152km of highway range.

livewire mother earth NAWA
LiveWire has 235km of city range

It’s also a long way short of Italian company Energica’s new Ego and Eva with up 400km (250 miles) of range, although they don’t specific city or highway range.

City range is always farther on electric vehicles with regenerative braking.

NAWA claims their regenerative braking re-uses 80% of the energy otherwise lost while lithium-ion batteries can only re-use 30%.

Here is how it works

NAWA’s carbon-based ultracapacitors charge and discharge in seconds and are capable of picking up energy from regenerative braking and supplying it back to an electric motor very quickly.

They can do this millions of times over without degradation, offering fast energy transfer, unlike lithium-ion.

It’s not really new.

Back in 2015, we reported on LA-based California NanoSystems Institute in the University of California who developed a hybrid battery that combined lithium-ion batteries with supercapacitors.

Hybrid supercapacitor - electric motorcycles
Hybrid supercapacitor

So why don’t all electric vehicles use supercapacitors or ultracapacitors?

Although they have five times more energy storage than existing technology, lithium-ion still has greater overall capacity.

By integrating these ultracapacitors into a lithium-ion system, NAWA’s battery has much more efficient overall performance.

This reduces the charge and discharge cycles of the lithium-ion battery performs and extends the life of the system.

It also reduces the environmental impact of lithium mining.

NAWA claim the hybrid ultracapacitor battery system can reduce the size of a lithium-ion battery by up to half, or extend the range by up to double, or a manufacturer’s preferred combination of size, weight and range.

The NAWACap ultracapacitor pack recharges in just two minutes and the entire battery can be charged to 80% in one hour from a home supply.

Lightweight racerNawa racer has hybrid battery with ultracapacitors

The NAWA Racer concept’s pack only weighs 10kg which makes it ideal for use in a motorcycle.

Together with the bike’s carbon frame, it weighs only 150kg.

It is driven by a hubless rim motor in the rear wheel with 75kW of power for a 0-100km/h rate of less than three seconds which is fairly typical of most electric motorcycles.

Nawa racer has hybrid battery with ultracapacitors
Hubless rear wheel motor

NAWA Racer’s NAWACap pack can be removed and swapped for different levels of performance. There are also Race and Eco modes for more speed or extra range.

Other features are LED lighting, painted aluminium and copper, anodised matte black suspension forks and nubuck leather saddle in vintage camel.

The concept will be on show at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on 7 January 2020.

We don’t believe NAWA Technologies will build the bike for the maket.

Their business is the production of ultracapacitor cells, so they will probably sell the technology to motorcycle manufacturers.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Recharge electric motorbike in 5 minutes

A Canadian company is working on battery technology that will recharge an electric motorcycle in about five minutes without reducing battery life.

The discovery by GBatteries is a potential boost for electric motorcycles and other vehicles as recharging time, not range anxiety, is the biggest hurdle.

Harley-Davidson claims its LiveWire electric motorcycle can be recharged to 80% in about 30minutes using DC fast chargers.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleHarley-Davidson's electric LiveWire short circuit minutes
LIveWires on DC fast chargers

Recharge in minutes

However, this process degrades the battery, shortening its life.

Now GBatteries has discovered a process where micro pulses of power will charge batteries quickly without any degradation.

They have filed for 45 patent applications, with 10 patents granted and 28 pending. 

“Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, by eliminating the final barrier of charge time and enabling electric vehicles to charge as fast as it takes to fill a tank of gas,” the company says.

“One hour isn’t what we call fast. We’re pioneering technology that will enable electric vehicles to charge as fast as it takes to fill a tank of gas.”

How it works

GBatteries isn’t developing new materials or changing battery chemistry. Instead it is working on new software and hardware.

Their ChargeSense software uses artificial intelligence to create a complex series of small charging pulses and learn about the state of the battery as it charges to avoid degeneration and overheating.

electric garage fire energica
Fast charger causes a fire in the Energica garage housing MotoE race bikes

This also prevents overheating which recently caused Harley-Davidson to temporarily suspend production of its electric LiveWire and sparked a fire which destroyed all the Energica MotoE racing bikes earlier this year.

It is not the same as recent Deakin University research which makes lithium-ion batteries smaller, lighter and less likely to burst into flame.

GBatteries’ hardware consists of off-the-shelf components with their own “architecture” to generate exact engineered pulses at high frequency.

But don’t get too excited just yet.

GBatteries say it could take up to seven years for their technology to become commercially available.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Battery charges electric scooter in 5 minutes

Israel company StoreDot has produced a lithium-ion battery that charges an electric scooter in five minutes.

It is one of the latest developments, along with battery swap technology, that could accelerate the acceptance of electric motorcycles and scooters in coming years.

The StoreDot batteries do not contain graphite, a form of carbon. Instead, they use tin, germanium and silicon in combination wth organic compounds.

StoreDot has demonstrated their battery with a Spanish Torrot scooter, providing full charge in five minutes, enough to travel 70km.Storedot battery charges in 5 minutes

Charged in minutes

It’s not big storage or range at the moment, but it’s a significant leap forward for electric two-wheeled transport.

It also beats the usual four-hour charge, says StoreDot CEP Doron Myersdorf.

“This is showing the world that we can break the barrier of fast charging, and what was considered impossible is actually possible,” he says.

“Ultra-fast charging can help solve range anxiety, one of the hurdles to electric-vehicle adaption, the equivalent of worrying that your mobile phone might go dead.”

The company plans to put its scooter batteries on the market in 2021.

From the above photo, it looks like the battery is about the same size as the swappable batteries used by Yamaha and Kymco in their electric scooters.

These battery solutions are not without their problems, requiring a lot of vending machine infrastructure.

The StoreDot battery would require similar infrastructure as it would be difficult and cumbersome to carry around the battery for when you run out of charge!

StoreDot charges ahead

StoreDot also hopes to be able to charge an electric Mercedes in five minutes for a 480km drive by 2021.

The car battery will need 10 times as many power cells as the scooter battery and a more efficient way of cooling while in use, says Myersdorf.

StoreDot will begin selling five-minute chargers for mobile phones in the second half of 2020.

BP and Samsung are the company’s top investors.

BP technology director Jon Salkeld says ultra-fast charging is “at the heart of BP’s electrification strategy”.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Yamaha unveils battery swap electric scooter

Battery swap technology has received a boost with Yamaha unveiling their EC-05 electric scooter with Gogoro lithium-ion battery packs you can easily swap at a convenient roadside vending machine.

The Yamaha scooter is a partnership with Taiwanese scooter company Gogoro Global.

Taiwan seems to be the epicentre of swappable battery tech with Kymco last year releasing their Ionex electric scooter with similar-sized battery packs.

Kymco proposes battery swap scheme for Ionex electric scooter hybrid smart desert electric vehicle
Kymco Ionex battery swap vending machines

Old battery swap tech

Battery swap technology is not new. In 1938, British company Battery Traction Ltd came up with the idea, but it was sidelined by World War II.

Better Place also suggested the idea for cars in 2008 and went broke in 2013.

Kymco proposes battery swap scheme
Better Place battery switch station in Israel

Several car companies have also dabbled with the idea, but canned it because their batteries are too big.

However, Tesla has patented a robot that can charge an electric car’s battery in 15 minutes and some small electric city cars can swap batteries in under a minute.

Now it seems battery swap technology is back on the drawing board, at least for motorcycles and scooters where the batteries are small and light enough for a rider to carry.

Yamaha Gogoro battery swap electric scooter
Gogoro battery swap vending machine

Yamaha was also recently believed to be co-operating with the other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers to standardise electric motorcycle and scooter technology, including charging infrastructure and swappable battery packs.

Yamaha EC-05Yamaha Gogoro battery swap electric scooter

In the case of the Yamaha EC-05 and Kymco Ionex, they fit two lithium-ion batteries about the size of half a briefcase.

There is no technical information on their weight, but the images suggest they are not that heavy as they are carried by a skinny young woman.

They even have a similar handle on top and can be bought from convenient roadside vending machines or charged at home.

Yamaha hopes to start delivering their scooters from August but initially only in Taiwan where there are already more than 1000 battery swap vending machines.Yamaha Gogoro battery swap electric scooter

It will only be a matter of time before they are available in other countries. Gogoro already sells its electric scooters in Europe.

Meanwhile, Yamaha is developing its own electric motorcycles and scooters as recent patent drawings show.

Will Yamaha put electric spark in R1? swap
Yamaha electric sportsbike patent drawings

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are electric motorbike range claims a hoax?

Electric motorcycles are coming on a wave of hype about range of more than 300km, but are the claims a hoax?

Traditional petrol-powered motorcycles are quoted in terms of miles per gallon or litre per 100km. It provides a reliable and realistic guide to the range from a bike’s tank. Riding hard or conservatively doesn’t make a huge difference to range.

However, the range calculations for an electric motorcycle are not as simple.

Vacuum sucks

We recently bought an expensive cordless vacuum cleaner which was claimed to have a battery that would last for a couple of hours of cleaning.

However, that was based on using the low-powered mode. If you want to really suck and use the boost mode, you are flat out getting about 20 minutes out of it. And six months down the track, that’s more like 15 minutes.

I also once drove an early Tesla sportster on a hot day around the Ipswich Motorway for only five laps before the fully charged battery overheated and I had to pit.

On another occasion, I rode an electric Zero DS with a claimed 290km of range from the Gold Coast to home and nearly ran out of battery because I was riding on the highway.

MotorbikeWriter and Zero DS police special electric motorcycle hoax
MotorbikeWriter and Zero DS

Electric hoax?

So is electric motorcycle range a hoax to rope in riders who want to be seen to be keeping pace with the modern world and showing their “green” credentials (that is, if they have access to clean power for recharging!).

Battery range in electric vehicles is subject to so many variables a range figure is almost a pointless hoax.

Factors that affect battery range include:

  • Extreme ambient temperatures;
  • Riding modes such as “eco” and “sport”;
  • Constant throttle at highway speeds that deplete batteries faster;
  • Brake regeneration extends range in stop-start traffic; and
  • Downhill sections conserve battery power.

Riders will have to think totally differently about electric motorcycles and almost disregard the salesperson’s claims about range.

For example, highway and city riding yield totally opposite range yields to a traditional petrol engine.

The latest Zero SR/F comes with this complex table of range calculations that vary from 132km on the highway to amiss double in the city! It’s enough to confuse any buyer.

Range

PREMIUM

STANDARD

City

259km

259km

Highway, 89km/h

159km

159km

Combined

198km

198km

Highway, 113km/h

132km

132km

Combined

175km

175km

Range (based on EU standard)

157km

158km

Electric sales

But the complex range claims have not stopped the surge of electric motorcycle sales, particularly in Asia and Europe.

Electric motorcycle and scooter sales will hit 55 million worldwide by 2024, according to London technology consultancy Navigant.

While more than 90% of electric bike sales are low-powered scooters and mopeds in Asian, Europe is surging ahead on the back of a host of financial incentives for the sale and use of electric bikes.

While motorcycle sales in Europe rose by 9.9% in 2018, electric motorcycle sales rose 81.5%, although they still represent only 0.75% of all motorbikes sold in Europe.

New range claims

Almost every day an electric motorcycle company makes outlandish clams about extended range.

Indian startup Mankame Motors claims it can make an affordable electric motorcycle capable of 480km range, beating the current (pun intended) longest range record of 360km by Zero Motorcycles.

A Chinese company claims it has a prototype power cruiser made of lightweight aluminium with  up to 400 km of range and charging from flat to full in just 15 minutes.

Battery life

As for the longevity of expensive batteries, there are few examples as electric motorcycles have not been around long enough.

However, Italian electric bike company Tacita says that in almost eight years their batteries have had more than 1700 recharging cycles with unchanged range.

They say they can guarantee 80% of the battery’s energy will remain after 4000 charge cycles.

I don’t say I disbelieve their claims, but they do make a mockery of my vacuum cleaner experience!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com