Tag Archives: electric motorcycle

Swappable Batteries and Improved Battery Tech Could Mean Electric ADVs Aren’t Far Off

One of the biggest obstacles for electric ADV bikes is the fact that battery technology just simply isn’t there yet. However, that might be changing and sooner than you think, according to ADV Pulse.

The publication notes that battery technology is quickly progressing. Things like pre-charged swappable batteries, which are already in some scooters and are currently being developed via an alliance between Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha, could make getting a fresh battery as easy as pulling into a battery-swapping station for fully charged battery.

Also, battery ranges continue to improve every year. Lucid Motors has a massive battery on its new car and Tesla’s future batteries are supposed to get 500 miles per charge with short charge times. At the same time battery lifespans are increasing. Tesla’s new battery is supposed to be good for up to a million miles, which will eliminate the need for most folks to replace a battery.

TVS Apache RTR 200 4V

All of these developments will take some time to make their way to motorcycles, but they will and it will likely happen before you expect it. The new battery technology is coming. Even now, it’s pretty impressive what can be done on an electric motorcycle. A bonafide electric ADV bike has yet to be seen, but with these recent developments and what’s coming, it’s likely right around the corner.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Royal Enfield builds electric prototypes

Old-school motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield is getting closer to releasing an electric model after building a couple of electric prototypes.

Last year, company president Rudratej Singh said they had “several projects in the pipeline and the electric platform is one of them”.

“We are in an investment phase in the project where we have a team that is working on different ideas and concepts with a long-term focus. We will disclose our plans at an appropriate time.”

Electric prototypes

Now CEO Vinod Dasari has confirmed that they have developed a couple of electric prototypes.

As suspected, Royal Enfield worked on its electric platform at their new English research and development centre in Leicestershire.

There are no further details on the project, but a prototype means they have something that works and is being tested.

It could have been shown at the world’s biggest motorcycle show in Milan in November, EICMA, but it has now been postponed a year.

So we are not sure when it will be unveiled.

However, we suspect it won’t look too different from the current old-school range.

Electric Royal Enfield Charging Bullet documentary trailer
Fred on his electric Bullet

Perhaps it will look like this electric-powered Royal Enfield Bullet built by British engineer Fred Spaven to travel the length of Britain for a documentary film called Charging Bullet promoting sustainable transport.

Royal Enfield is not the only Indian-owned motorcycle company going electric.

Former Czech motorcycle company Jawa, now owned by Indian company Mahindra, is also developing an electric motorcycle in India.

They say it will have the longest range yet of any electric motorcycle.

There is hardly a motorcycle company in the world that is not developing an electric motorcycle.

However, there is more incentive in India for these two companies and others to produce electric bikes.

India has strict air pollution policies in their major cities that make an electric option very desirable.

The Indian Government has also proposed a deadline for complete electric mobility in the country by 2030 and plans $1.4 billion in incentives for the manufacture and sale of electric motorbikes and scooters while penalising petrol-powered bikes.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Electric Savic nears half its first orders

Almost half of the first production run of Australia’s first full-size electric motorcycle, the Savic C-Series, has been allocated to paid-up customers.

Savic Motorcycles founder Dennis Savic (pictured above) says they are on track for their first customer delivery in December after coronavirus pandemic setbacks.

So far, 21 of their 49 units have been pre-ordered for their first production run of 2021.

“The company management remains confident that this initial run will be sold out by the end of the year,” they say on their latest email update.

“With the first Savic-developed motor on schedule to arrive at our workshop in September, the current goal remains to get the first five Alpha bikes on to the road by late December.

“This includes our homologation vehicle, which will undergo all the roadworthy and safety tests required for regulatory compliance and state-based registration.”2019 Savic electric motorcycle prototype orders giants

Savic C-Series

Savic Motorcycles will make 49 C-Series cafe racer electric motorcycles available in three variants.

Specification Alpha Delta Omega
Power 60kW 40kW 25kW
Torque 190Nm TBC TBC
Range 200km TBC TBC
Charge time 4-6 hours TBC TBC
0-100km/h 3s 900ms TBC TBC
Price (+ORC) $22,999.00 $15,999.00 $10,999.00

That’s much cheaper than the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle which launches in Australia next month at $A49,995.

Buyers of the first production models will also receive:

  • Exclusive company updates first;
  • Lifetime membership providing exclusive discounts for all future Savic rider gear; and
  • Live updates and images of their bike build as it happens.2019 Savic electric motorcycle prototype orders whirring

Each model comes with several battery pack options. The largest offered in the Alpha will provide range of up to 200km, while the smallest option in the Omega is expected to have about 50km range. 

Like all electric vehicles, peak torque is instantaneous and the Alpha will accelerate from 0-100km in 3.9 seconds.

By comparison, the LiveWire has city range of about 235km and highway range of about 150km and reaches 100km/h in three seconds.

Savic customers will be able choose a range of options in brakes, suspension, wheels, tyres and three colours – Spectre, Stealth, and Rustic.

Aftermarket upgrades will also be offered. 

The bikes feature a fully integrated, stressed, liquid-cooled motor and energy storage system.

Depending on the model and battery pack a customer selects, a single charge can provide up to 11kWh. That costs only $3 compared with about $15 for a petrol bike to travel 250km.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Yamaha accelerates its electric program

Yamaha has been developing electric vehicles for several years, but is now stepping up its electric program with a compact portable motor and an electric motocrosser.

The motor range is called an Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (IPMSM) with varying outputs from 35kw to 200kw.

They say they can be used in motorcycles and other vehicles.Yamaha electric program

Now Yamaha Motor Europe is also involved in a joint project with KNMV, Dohms Projects and SPIKE to build an electric motocross bike, EMX, to compete with 250cc models.

Benefits include higher torque and higher traction.

Yamaha electric program
EMC program

Electric program

So far, Yamaha has only produced the electric PES1 (Passion Electric Street) road bike and PED1 (Passion Electric Dirt), but neither is available in Australia.

Last year, Yamaha unveiled their EC-05 electric scooter with Gogoro lithium-ion battery packs you can easily swap at a convenient roadside vending machine.

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

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

Last year, Yamaha also unveiled two electric scooters, an electric bicycle, an electric mobility scooter and an electric personal scooter at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Bu it’s not all electric power in Yamaha’s future.

The company is also considering water power, but we believe it may also have an electric water pump.

Yamaha water bike
Yamaha’s water-powered bike

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Will electric vehicles drain power grid?

One of the main concerns about motorists swapping to electric vehicles is that they would place an even bigger drain on the already strained power grid.

However, some electric cars and now the Damon Hypersport electric motorcycle have what they call “smart chargers” that actually prop up the grid.

Damon Hypersport Premier and HS
Damon Hypersport

This is how they work:

You arrive home from work on your electric motorcycle, plug it in to recharge, put on the kettle, turn on the air-conditioning, switch on the TV and/or computer and start cooking dinner.

The power grid labours under this surge in demand and there is a brownout!

However, because your bike is equipped with a smart charger, it doesn’t immediately start charging the vehicle.

Instead, it takes the remaining charge from the bike and puts it back into the grid.

Solar Cake Kalk electric motorcycles standardise election
Power back to the grid

So it actually supports the electricity supply at a high-demand period, preventing brownouts.

Of course an electric two-wheeler wouldn’t have as much electricity to give back to the grid as a car, but with thousands around the country plugging in at peak hour, it would still have a positive effect.

The smart charger only starts charging the vehicle later in the evening when the demand is low and the price is cheap.

Of course, if you decide you need to go out to get some milk you might find your electric bike is now flat!

Grid trial

So the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has launched a $A2.9 million trial providing smart chargers across the national grid.

The smart chargers will be installed across residential, commercial and industrial premises of EV owners and fleets, where they will be remotely monitored and controlled via software.

Australia Post postie bike electric trike eDV
Australia Post postie bike electric trike eDV

It will not only evaluate the effects of controlled smart charging on the grid, but also provide details on EV driver behaviour and willingness to accept third-party control of charging.

The trial would also ascertain what incentives are needed to encourage future participation in charge-management programs.

Some may see this as Big Brother intervention, prying into how, where and when they use their vehicle.

Of course, most of this information is already available through various sources.

And it could be a benefit to the whole community.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Screen date set for Long Way Up TV series

Long Way Up, featuring Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor riding electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycles, will screen on Apple TV+ from 18 September 2020, the same month the bike launches in Australia.

Apple TV+ has announced that the first three episodes will screen on the Friday with one episode every week after that.

However, they don’t say how long the series will be.

If you don’t have Apple TV+ you can wait until the whole series has been aired and then do as one-month free trial.

Otherwise, it costs $A7.99 per month.

Small screen adventure

In the third and probably final “Long Way” series, the Brits ride Harley-Davidson electric LiveWire motorcycles from the city of Ushuaia at the tip of South America to LA.

They cover 21,000km over 100 days through 16 border crossings and 13 countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and up through Colombia, Central America and Mexico.

Also joining them are their longtime collaborators, directors David Alexanian and Russ Malkin, driving in electric Rivian utility vehicles.

Unlike their previous adventures on BMW GS machines, this one was on Harley’s new electric LiveWire which will be available in Australia in September for a whopping $A49,995 ($NZ53,995).

That’s more than the feature-laden Ultra Limited tourer at $A41,495!

While the specially modified bikes did get the pair to their destination, Ewan admits he ran out of “juice” a couple of times and even had to hitch rides with cars by hanging on to the B pillar.

The admissions came in an interview on the American Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in February 2020.

In the interview, he explains that they chose electric motorcycles because they “wanted to be part of that new wave of transportation”.

“It proved to be amazing and quite tricky at the same time,” McGregor tells Fallon.

“Charging is the issue. There’s no real infrastructure for charging in Patagonia, for instance.

“We’d just knock on people’s doors and ask if we could plug them in.

“They usually do let us. We’d camp in their garden and we’d plug in.”

However, he said charging two bikes at the same time would sometimes blew the houses’s fuses, so they would charge one at a time.

“People were so generous and lovely about it,” he says.

“We’d ride all morning and then if we stopped to look around the town we’d find somewhere to plug in at a restaurant or a cafe or something.”

Out of juice

Charley and Ewan adventure on LiveWire
Ewan on a LiveWire in South America

According to Harley, LiveWire range is about 150km on the highway and about 235km in the city.

So, what did they do when they ran out of “juice”, Fallon asked?

“Hope for a hill,” McGregor replies.

“I got towed a couple of times. I was the only one that ran out.

“Charley never ran out of juice and he’ll tell you it’s ’cause he’s a better rider than me and it may well be the case.

“But I ran out a couple of times, so I’d just hold on to a car.”

Charley and Ewan adventure on LiveWire
Ewan and Charley pack their LiveWire electric bikes

He explains how this stunt was performed and we assume it was at slow speed and could have been using one of the back-up vehicles.

“If you open the back windows and the front of the car you could get your arm around a pillar and you just muscle along like that for a while,” he explains.

Ewan says the first time he saw this done was in New York when he was about 21 or 22 riding in a yellow cab.

“A Harley-Davidson guy — a Hells Angels guy — who’d run out of gas or his bike was broken down clattered into the side of the cab, grabbed hold of the pillar and he shouted the address of the Hells Angels clubhouse to the driver who just took him there and didn’t ask any questions; just drove there like that.

“I think the Hells Angels owe me $5.26.”

It’s been a long time between trips for Ewan and Charley.

From 14 April 2004 to 29 July 2004, they rode across Europe and the USA in Long Way Round and from 12 May to 4 August 2007 they rode from the top of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa for Long Way Down.

With Ewan becoming increasingly busy with Hollywood movies, Charley squeezed in the 2006 Dakar rally for his series, Race to Dakar, and has produced several other travel shows.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda doubles down on electric minibikes

Honda has doubled down on electric minibikes with a patent filing for their long-promised electric Super Cub and a trademark application for an electric Motocompacto.

The former has been around since Honda trotted out a prototype at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Electric minibikes

Honda said the EV-CUB electric scooter would be available from 2018, but that date has now long gone.

However, Honda has had a growing romance with the idea of electric power and especially electric minibikes.

In 2017, Honda signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hitachi to develop electric motors.

The following year, Honda said its self-balancing bike would also come in an electric version.

Honda's self-balancing motorcycle - short season damon last
Honda’s self-balancing motorcycle

The same year Honda said they would develop electric scooters and bikes with swappable batteries and even hybrid drivetrains.

Last year they applied for a patent for future electric motorcycles and scooters to feature an alarm to warn pedestrians unaware of the approaching quiet vehicle.

And earlier this year they applied for a patent for an electric Fireblade sports bike.

Yet here we are in 2020 and still the Japanese company has not delivered on its electric plan.

It’s not that we don’t think it will happen; it’s just a case of when.

Honda MotoCompo Honda doubles down on electric minibikes
1980s Motocompo

As for the Motocompacto electric minibike, it may look like the 1980s Motocompo commuter bike designed to fold up and fit in a car boot (trunk).

Honda patents

These latest filings are part of a blitz of trademark and patent applications by Honda over the past couple of years.

Some are quite weird and impractical, but others may actually make it to market.

We suspect Honda is just trying to dominate intellectual property on motorcycle inventions, rather than planning to put them all into production.

The patents include:

Forks Goldwing patent
Goldwing forks patent

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kiwi army tests UBCO electric motorcycles

The New Zealand Army is now testing two-wheel-drive UBCO electric motorcycles with 120km of range and a top speed of 50km/h. What could possibly go wrong!

Electric motorcycles are certainly coming, not just for commuters, but also for police forces, security services and even the military.

We can see some advantages for the army in being able to sneak up on the enemy, but there are also disadvantages such as finding a power outlet on a battlefield!

Army test

The (NZDF) are running “battle-lab” experiments with the UBCO 2×2 electric utility bike, portable power and accessories for use in reconnaissance, surveillance, and other applications.

Branches of the NZ Defence Force will each trial the fleet under various simulations to assess the vehicles.

The trial is part of the Defence Force’s wider programme towards a more sustainable operation, which also fits with the Government’s goal of having 64,000 EVs on New Zealand roads by the end of next year.

LtCol Brad Gallop, Land Combat Group Lead, Capability Branch, New Zealand Defence Force says they “need to look at alternative sources”.

EV is an emerging technology that we need to look at and to see how applicable it is on the battlefield,” he says.

“There have been dramatic changes in technology over the last few years with electric vehicles a key emerging technology that the NZDF has been monitoring. After investigating a range of options, the NZDF selected UBCO for a trial in 2020”.


UBCO launched in 2015 and was developed by a Kiwi company as a two-wheel-drive bike with special capabilities on slippery and muddy hills.

Since its launch, UBCO 2X2s have been used for food delivery by Dominos, tourism, farm bikes, recreation and commuting

The 2×2 model costs $NZ7995 (about $A7450), has range of about 120km, a top speed of 50km/h and weighs just 65kg.

It has a motor in both wheels with no clutch, drivetrain, emissions, or noise.

They come with a “Portage Battery System” to charge on the run.

UBCO 2x2
UBCO 2×2

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kawasaki electric with removable battery

Kawasaki is moving closer to producing its EV Endeavor electric motorcycle with new patent drawings showing a removable battery and motor.

Their electric prototype was shown at the EICMA motorcycle show last November.

Since then, Kawasaki has released teaser videos.

The first official video from the company shows the work they put into the project.

The second shows it has manual four-speed transmission.

Endeavour with removable battery

The new patent drawings show a very rudimentary bike shape with a boxy motor and battery.

Kawaskai Endeavour electric with removable battery and motor

Not as awe-inspiring as the bike in the video.

But it’s mainly a representation of how the motor and battery are removable.

That’s interesting, because all the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers last year signed an agreement to standardise electric motorcycle batteries and charging infrastructure.

Since then, Yamaha has been developing a system to swap the removable battery. So maybe Kawasaki is also developing a bike with a removable battery.

This drawing from the Kawasaki patent seems to show the bike being delivered to the dealer without the battery and motor.

Kawaskai Endeavour electric with removable battery and motor

While that could be to avoid problems with transporting potentially hazardous batteries, it could also mean the batteries are removable and therefore swappable.

So, instead of having to wait around for hours to charge a flat battery, you simply swap the removable battery with a fully charged unit in seconds.

Whatever it shows, it seems Kawasaki s moving closer to production of its Endeavour electric motorcycle.

For the moment, Kawasaki say the bike is simply proof of their technology and intentions.

Long-term project

It’s been a long-time project for the green team.

Back in 2013, Kawasaki filed a patent for an electric version of its baby Ninja, but the patent was only been published last year.

These  patent drawings also showed a removable battery and motor.

Kawasaki electric Ninja patent battery swap

In 2015, Kawasaki filed patents in the US for as many as 10 electric motorcycle designs.

In other Kawasaki patent filing for electric motorcycles, one has a substantial cooling element with a radiator.

Electric Kawasaki Ninja patents
Electric Kawasaki Ninja patent drawing

Heat is one of the biggest impediments to performance and battery life.

I drove an early Tesla Roadster around Queensland Motorway and the instruments flashed red alerts for the battery heat after just four “hot laps.

The oil-and-liquid cooling system in the Kawasaki patent drawings are certainly more substantial than we have seen on any other electric motorcycle so far.

That would not only provide more range, but also greater performance.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ducati e-Scrambler joins electric bicycle range

Ducati is adding an e-Scrambler urban electric bicycle to its small, but growing nascent range of e-bikes.

The e-Scrambler joins their first e-mountain bike, MIG-RR, which was launched in October 2018.

Ducati MIG-RR electric scooters mountain bike
Ducati MIG-RR electric mountain bike


Ducati says the e-Scrambler is “urban ready” with an aluminium frame and high-end components.

It features a 250-Watt Shimano Steps E7000 motor with 504Wh battery, Pirelli Cycl-e GT tyres, Sram NX 11-speed gearbox and Sram 4-piston brakes.

Their press release says:

The low centre of gravity and the geometry of the frame allow the e-Scrambler to offer the same riding sensations as a traditional bike, making it in fact the ideal companion for the city or to enjoy the country roads. The supplied telescopic seat post also increases comfort, allowing the rider to get on and off the saddle easily and guaranteeing safe support during stops.

There is also a set of accessories including luggage racks, mudguards, stand and signal lights.

Ducati e-Scrambler
Ducati e-Scrambler

Booming sector

Ducati’s move into e-bikes is designed to plug into the booming market in Europe where sales have boomed from about 500,000 to almost 3m in the past decade.

BMW, Harley-Davidson and other motorcycle and car manufacturers now have e-bikes available in Europe and the USA.

rude boy bicycles ebikes
Harley e-bikes

Ducati Australia is yet to import the MIG-RR and has not yet commented on bringing in the new e-Scrambler.

However, the market for electric bicycles is growing rapidly, so it may not be a long wait.

Electric Ducati?

More importantly, how long do we have to wait for an electric Ducati motorcycle?

In 2017, VW Group Chairman Matthias Mueller and Ducati Western Europe manager Edouard Lotthe said the company would have an electric motorcycle and scooter by 2020.

Well, that didn’t happen!

In 2017, Ducati licensed the Milano Scuola Politecnica di Design (Design Polytechnic School) to produce the Ducati Zero futuristic design concept.

And in 2015, an electric pedal-assisted moped was made under licence and painted in the Ducati Scrambler Urban Enduro colours. 

Neither were real Ducatis.

Nor is the embarrassing Chinese-made, Ducati-branded, Aussie-imported electric Super Soco scooter!

‘Ducati’ electric scooter under $5000

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com