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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Long Way Up, featuring Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor riding electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycles, will screen onApple 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.
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.”
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.
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!
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.
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’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.
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.
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.