Tag Archives: ev

‘Too little too late’ on electric vehicles

Three years after lampooning the Labor Party’s policy on electric vehicles, Scomo’s about-face Future Fuels strategy has been hailed as a fizzer that is too little too late.

The Australian Government’s strategy ignores the most important and effective measures to improve electric vehicle uptake, according to the Electric Vehicle Council.

The strategy is to “support and accelerate” the rollout of some charging infrastructure. 

However it does not include subsidies, tax incentives, or sales targets.

The rest of the world has for years been offering tax incentives, free parking and tolls and other incentives to get people to buy EVs.

Meanwhile, electric vehicles such as Harley-Davidson almost $A40,000 LiveWire are simply way too expensive for most people.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle
MBW tests the LiveWire in the US

We know that there are several other manufacturers such as BMW and Energica that have electric motorcycles and want to export to Australia but are holding off because of the lack of charging infrastructure and incentives.

Electric Vehicle Council spokesman Behyad Jafari says the strategy also fails to deliver minimum fuel efficiency standards, which have been used in the US and Europe for decades. 

Fuel efficiency standards require manufacturers to sell vehicles with a combined level of emissions below a defined benchmark, encouraging the sale of zero-emission vehicles.

“There’s no sugar coating it, Future Fuels is a fizzer,” he says.

“If it contained fuel efficiency standards and rebates it would give Australians more choice. The best and most affordable EVs manufacturers are producing would make their way swiftly on to our market.

“Fuel efficiency standards are the absolute bare minimum of what you would expect in any 21st century plan.

“If Australia continues to be one of the only developed nations without fuel efficiency standards then we will continue to be a dumping ground for the world’s dirtiest vehicles. It’s sadly that simple.

“Future Fuels is certainly an advance on the government’s rhetoric of the last election. The strategy has identified some of the correct benefits and pathways, but it does little to realise them.

“I welcome the progress we’ve seen, but it’s far too little too late. For a strategy that has apparently taken years to write, it leaves much to be desired. Electric vehicles present a monumental opportunity for Australia not only in reducing pollution, but creating an innovative industry in manufacturing, technology, and services.

“The sector will continue to urge the government to take appropriate actions that get more vehicles to Australia and on our roads. It’s a shame this government doesn’t have the same ambition for Australians that the electric vehicle industry does.”

At the last election the Labor Party called for half of all electric vehicles to be electric by 2030. Manufacturers are already setting those goals, but they may still dump old-tech cars and motorcycles here because of our lack of visionary policy, says Gail Broadbent is a PhD candidate who researches social attitudes to electric cars in the UNSW Faculty of Science, and is a former transport policy advisor in the NSW Government and for not-for-profit agencies.

She calls for subsidising EVs and rolling out more chargers.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Electric motorcycles miss out on rebate

Motorcycles are not included in a NSW Government incentive package that includes a $3000 rebate to lure motorists into electric vehicles.

NSW is the only state so far to offer any incentives at all for electric vehicles, while overseas motorists are being enticed with free tolls and parking, cash rebates, tax incentives and more to go electric.

The NSW package includes the elimination of stamp duty on electric vehicles (EV) up to $78,000 from 1 September 2021 and all EVs including Plug In Hybrid (PHEV) from 1 July 2027, $151 million investment in EV charging infrastructure in metropolitan and regional areas, EV access to transit T2 and T3 lanes and cash rebates for EV customers represent some of the most significant reforms ever seen in Australia in support of new automotive technology. 

Motorcycles are already able to use transit lanes but electric motorcycles and scooter are not included in the EV rebate carrot “at this stage”.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries say they will “continue to follow up with the Government into the future”.

FCAI boss Ton Webber says the package will show the direction for other states.

In Australia, most electric two-wheelers are cheap Chinese scooters, although Harley-Davidson has introduced a $50,000 LiveWire while the Australian-designed Savic C-Series electric bike has been delayed until the third quarter of 2022.

2019 Savic electric motorcycle prototype orders setbacks
Denis Savic with Australia’s first electric motorcycle, the Savic

Savic Motorcycles founder Dennis Savic says the Australian electric motorcycle market is much smaller than cars and “adoption is lagging behind cars”. 

“It would be great to see some rebates as the industry starts to mature and catch up to four-wheeled vehicles,” he says. 

Dennis says has has informed all their first customers of the delay and posted on social media.

“Not one customer has asked for a refund,” he says. 

“We’ve certainly seen some incredible support from our customer base.” 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Italy Launches Inductive Highway Ring with Contactless Charging for EVs

With the future of electric vehicles taking up many a weekday headline, it’s fun to peruse the pages and take a gander at the novel ways companies are cooking up to increase clientele satisfaction and invest in an EV future.

To those skeptical about the grey zone of electric vehicles and battery longevity, Italy has come up with a smart solution.  

The “Arena del Futuro” (or “Arena of the Future”) is a 1,035-meter asphalt tester-circuit with the purpose of re-charging vehicles running low on juice mid-commute. Owned by ElectReon, the inductive highway is set to be implemented between Brescia and Milan, Italy.

a car travelling along an inductive highway for a quick charge.

According to CarAndBike, The ring of the road will be fed by one megawatt of power. It will use contactless induction to charge electric vehicles via the modest installation of a receiver on the vehicle’s underside. The result is an energy transfer to your EV of choice, a power charge that provides a surplus of zip, and a quick commute from point A to B. (For a list of EV news and electric motorcycles that will likely be more compatible with this charging method, click here.)

The Arena del Futuro is just one small example of what Italy plans on applying throughout the country. However, stakeholders still plan on further optimizing the road surface to increase charge efficiency and allow for the eventual evolution of increased energy output with 5G technology.  

Partners of this new endeavor include the A35 Brebemi-Aleatica motorway, ABB, ElectReon, FIAMM Energy Technology, IVECO, IVECO Bus, Mapei, Pizzarotti, Politecnico di Milano, Prysmian, Stellantis, TIM, Roma Tre University, and the University of Parma.

car takes advantage of "Arena del Future" inductive Highway in Italy

Kid smiling at a Ride for Kids Event

The big question to ask, I think, is how much charge would be guaranteed on an EV that circled the Arena del Futuro for, say, ten minutes. I’m all for a clean future as much as the next person, but I’m not so keen on circling about a highway for ten minutes so that my vehicle can juice up for an additional half-hour of commute time. ElectReon will resolve this, I’m assuming, once the highway is approved for a longer stretch of the thoroughfare.

Fingers crossed that the launch is a success, and inductive highways become an energy-efficient option for the future.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

MAG Survey Shows 31% of Participants Would Rather Give Up Riding Than Conform to Electric

The United Kingdom has plans to eventually phase out diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles in favor of low-carbon emitting and carbon-neutral/electric vehicles.

While this new diet plan is extremely ambitious, the drive to end the sale of fossil fuel engines by 2030 has become a very real goal – and one that will also impact the motorcycle world.

In a recent survey held by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), participants were asked a series of questions surrounding the potential of a future without fossil fuel engines.

Some of the results may come as a surprise, but overall the survey pointed toward a community still very much in love with internal combustion engines. 

a back right view of a lineup of motorcyclists

The report states that 4805 participants (both affiliated with MAG and not) were asked a series of questions on the future of motorcycle riding – here they are, with their responses.

On the potential of gas-fueled vehicles being phased out:

  • 8% of respondents accepted the inevitable
  • 36% wanted a delay of the phase-out
  • 55% completely refused and opposed the idea

On whether participants would like MAG to partner with other organizations to fight the ban:

  • 83% were in favor
  • 17% were opposed

On the eventual removal of fossil fuel vehicles (with the expected switchover being EV, of course):

  • 31% said they would quit riding
  • 56% would delay the switchover to EV for as long as possible
  • 13% would adapt and move on

A lineup of Motorcycle riders affiliated with the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG)

Satoshi Uchida in front of Suzuki Motorcycles logo

Selena Lavendar, Chairman of MAG, states, “MAG always represents the views of all riders, regardless of their choice of motorcycle.  We have worked hard to develop the channels that get riders’ opinions heard by Government. We will not misrepresent those opinions.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Gogoro Announces Groundbreaking Partnership To Build Countrywide EV Network for China

If there’s one thing that’s obvious, it’s that the electric vehicle culture is coming.  The cityscape’s sounds are transitioning from the roar and smoke of traditional fossil fuels to the whirr of wheels and the cool glare of LED lighting. It’s beautiful in its own way, but all beauty requires maintenance. 

Maintenance is exactly what a Chinese company called Gogoro is tackling for the EV industry of China.

Gogoro is a company that owns battery-charging stations where members with a monthly subscription fee can ride up and swap batteries, thereby lengthening commute time and easing what has been a constant problem for electric vehicles.

And now, Gogoro has partnered with DCJ and Yadea – two giants in the Chinese moto industry – to build a network of battery-swapping stations across the country. DCJ and Yadea are both joint-investing 50 million dollars and committing to building EVs suited to the stations to support the clean future of an electric urban economy, and they are even bringing this technology to India.

a hand removes a charged Gogoro battery in preparation to recharge an electric scooter.

In a report from StockHouse, Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner, former Vice President of the United States, and co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, states: Asia’s most populated cities are beginning to adopt cleaner urban transportation systems for their millions of scooter and motorcycle riders by leveraging innovative electric refueling solutions like Gogoro battery swapping…Gogoro’s partnership with Yadea and DCJ in China, which builds upon their existing work with Hero MotoCorp in India, sends a clear signal that the world’s two-wheel leaders are helping to fuel the sustainability revolution in Asia with smart battery swapping.”

This is amazing news, especially since vehicles produced under this partnership will take advantage of the ‘Powered By Gogoro Network’ program. This program will give DCJ and Yadea the ability to merge their vehicles’ technology with Gogoro’s intelligent smart systems – synchronizing three companies’ worth of intelligence into one smooth, fully integrated network.

A Gogoro smart scooter next to a Gogoro battery-swapping station

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Having grown up reading many a tribute to a futuristic America, I find the gradual transition to electric vehicles more suited to the present aesthetic of an urban economy, certainly more efficient. The vibes heading downtown are cleaner, cooler, crisper.

Time will tell how brains and brawns balances out the flux that is the current moto industry.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

BMW Recruits Hans Zimmer in Creation of New Electric Vehicle Sounds

You heard that right.

We’ve come a long way from the original strident tones of single-horn expletives, and the future is no less saturated with brilliant minds looking to put a new twist on an old concept.

Meet German-born composer Hans Zimmer; Zimmer intends to bring life to the whine of EV energy in ways that will have EV customers relaxed and smiling, and I am intrigued at his new job.

According to Visordown, BMW hired Zimmer in the hopes that the composer and the technicians of BMW would be able to work together to create a thrilling, emotion-evoking sound in equivalency to the M sport‘s motor. This is quite the challenge, especially since the full sensory experience may mean suppressing the original sounds of the battery and motor to allow a better connection between customer and vehicle.

“Right now,” Zimmer says, “we are at a really exciting point, shaping the sound of the future. BMW was so kind to give me another orchestra to play with – called the car.”

Partnership for BMW from left to right, Jens, thinner, senior Vice President of BMW, and BMW Sound Designer Renzo Vitale

Vintage Norton motorcycles owned by a group of Singapore enthusiasts

If you think about it, Zimmer could set a whole new trend with this partnership. EVs that thrum and roar in response to a nudge or a stomp of the ‘gas’ pedal could go over extremely well with users desiring the feel of horsepower without having to sacrifice fossil fuel to get it. The resultant sound portfolio – dubbed the ‘IconicSounds Electric Program’ – will initially only be available in BMW models that sport a fully electric or hybrid system, but one can dream, right? Imagine an e-motorcycle with special effects, roaring on the thoroughfares, drumrolls upon arrival to destination…snazzy.

The real question is if this program will be customizable (or even removable) for clients needing a more delicate sensory experience.

Take a look at the video at the top of this article to get the opinion of the masterminds behind BMW’s new ‘IconicSounds Electric Program.’

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Fast-charging battery ideal for motorbikes

Range is a big issue for electric motorcycles, but an even bigger hurdle is slow charging rates.

Many modern motorcycles have small tanks to keep the weight down, so they have limited range. But at least you can fuel up in minutes. Electric motorcycle can take hours to recharge on mains power.

However, Australian company Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) may have overcome that hurdle.

They have made prototype batteries that will charge up to 10 times faster than a lithium-ion battery which is the standard among electric vehicles.

The results of recent testing at the University of Queensland confirms the company’s claims of fast charging times.

As the name suggests, Graphene Manufacturing Group uses graphene or a carbon material which is formed in a lattice or honeycomb design for its batteries.

Currently full-size electric road motorcycles such as the Energica models and Harley-Davidson LiveWire take about 11 hours to fully charge with range of about 250km in the city and 150km on the open road.Harley-Davidson LiveWire

A GMG graphene battery could potentially take a little more than an hour to fully recharge.

Quick-charging could bring that down to a matter of minutes or the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, although it would create quite a drain on the electrical grid.

So far, GMG has only produced coin-cell prototype batteries, which could be grouped together to make larger batteries suitable for powering electric vehicles.

Apart from fast charging rates, GMG claims several other advantages that makes them suitable for electric motorcycles:

  • They don’t overheat when charging, a matter that led to a fire when MotoE Energica motorcycles were being charged in 2019;
    electric garage fire energica
    Fast charger causes a fire in the Energica garage housing MotoE race bikes
  • they also don’t need cooling which means no need for a heavy and bulky radiator;
  • they last longer than lithium batteries with 2000 full charging cycles with no drop in storage capacity; and
  • they are easier to recycle and don’t use any lithium which mainly comes from China. 

However, on the negative side, graphene costs about US$100 per gram, so they could be quite expensive.

More importantly graphene batteries have only 60% of the energy density of a lithium-ion battery.

Satoshi Uchida in front of Suzuki Motorcycles logo

That means manufacturers would have to install much heavier batteries to claim the same range.

And that’s a big drawback as electric motorcycles are already quite heavy – Energica weighs about 260kg and a LiveWire is about 250kg.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson launches LiveWire as an electric brand

The brand name “Harley-Davidson” currently adorns the electric LiveWire motorcycle, but future electric bikes from the iconic American manufacturer may not feature its venerable name.

Instead, they will be branded “LiveWire” and will initially target urban riders.

Harley has announced the new all-electric brand will kick off with a new model to be launched on July 8, 2021.

The new LiveWire model will premiere at the International Motorcycle Show in Chicago on July 9, 2021.

It makes sense that Harley would look to dissociate its name from electric motorcycles given the resistance from some traditional Harley diehards.

They may view the LiveWire with suspicion, given its lack of “potato-potato” V-twin noise … or any noise except a slight whirring.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire
LiveWire certainly turns heads

However, Harley is not totally divorcing itself from the LiveWire brand with the brand being physically housed in their facilities and the electric technology finding its way int future Harley models.

In a press statement, Harley says LiveWire “draws on its DNA as an agile disruptor from the lineage of Harley-Davidson, capitalising on a decade of learnings in the EV sector and the heritage of the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world”.

“LiveWire will be headquartered virtually, with initial hubs in Silicon Valley, CA (LiveWire Labs) and Milwaukee, WI,” the statement says.

And it appears they are looking for staff.

The brand will initially focus on the urban market, but will also “pioneer the electric motorcycle space, and beyond”.

Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, says the LiveWire brand strategy fits int his six pillars of The Hardwire Strategy.

Sinroja Motorcycles BMW R80 (Photos: Tom Horna @driveclassics)

“By launching LiveWire as an all-electric brand, we are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV,” he says.

“With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond.

“LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.”

LiveWire will be sold through current Harley-Davidson dealers as an independent brand with some dedicated EV showrooms as well as online purchasing.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Wayne Burgess to Become New Head of Design for Ola Electric

India is gunning to be a leading force in the e-scooter market. On May 3rd, Ola Electric presented the news of electric scooters on a global scale by 2022 and made headlines with the commitment to build a Hypercharger Network consisting of over 100,000 charging points across 400 cities of India.

According to a report from RideApart, Ola Electric also announced Wayne Burgess as the new Head of Vehicle Design.  The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time, or be more strategically placed, seeing as this news came the day after the company revealed its goal to provide the Hypercharger Network.

India Hypercharger Network

Wayne Burgess comes with an impressive pedigree, having played a hand in the design of the Bentley Arnage, as well as the Aston Martin Vantage and DB9. In the 20 years at Jaguar Land Rover, Burgess also played a part in the design of several Jaguar models, including the XF, XE, F-Type, and F-Pace models.

In a statement released by Burgess, “I am looking forward to my work at Ola Electric and to the opportunity to lead a team that will work on designing cutting-edge electric vehicles for the world. I am thrilled to be part of Ola as it accelerates on its path to becoming a leader in global EV solutions,”

“Wayne is a fantastic addition to our leadership team and will bring global appeal and design aesthetic to our industry-changing electric vehicles,” Bhavish Aggarwal, Chairman, and CEO of Ola said in a statement.  

“As the world moves to EVs, the vehicle form factors will be fundamentally reimagined.  Wayne’s expertise in designing some of the most legendary vehicles will also be helpful in bringing these new form factors to consumers. I look forward to collaborating with him to build the most iconic range of EVs in the world,” said Bhavish Aggarwal. 

Twisted Road Website

Ola Scooter

Ola isn’t playing games when it comes to the company goals. On top of basing their first scooter prototype on the highly popular and efficient Etergo AppScooter, there are also plans circulating that hint at designs for four-wheeled electrics. Based on the major moves the company has made, it’s more than apparent that they plan on taking the EV world by storm. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Husqvarna Pilen gets electrified

Husqvarna E-Pilen Concept


Husqvarna’s parent brand, KTM, is no stranger to electric motorcycles, with the Freeride E long offering a enduro/trails crossover battery powered version of the Freeride. Recently Husqvarna also introduced the E-Pilen concept to take battery power to the urban road enviroment.

Where the sporty Freeride E offers an 18 kW output, the new E-Pilen will produce significantly less at 8 kW. A 100 km range should prove sufficient for urban and suburban short-hop commutes.

Seemingly a battery powered alternative to the Husqvarna 125 models announced for 2021, the E-Pilen will offer less power. A modular and swappable battery system may offer increased flexibility and possibly even range if infrastructure for swapping, rather than waiting for a charge, becomes available. One would imagine that a system such as that mooted for Europe may not prove quite as economically viable in our broader Australian landscape.

2021 Husqvarna E-Pilen Concept E-Motorcycle

Husqvarna have also signalled their intention to increase their dealer presence in urban and metro areas – most likely in Europe – to further push their E-mobility range, where they are most likely to be well received, thanks to shorter trips and greater charging infrastructure being the norm.

Information at the moment on the new model is very light, with more details said to be on the way in the near future, however it seems a smart strategy alongside the e-balance bikes to get new riders onto electric machines. Possibly in the hopes of preventing the comparison to traditional alternatives for a new generation of riders, while also capturing the interest of first adopters.

2021 Husqvarna E-Pilen Concept E-Motorcycle

The looks of the E-Pilen certainly align well with the Svartpilen and Vitpilen models and despite the fairly low claimed output figure in comparison to what we’ve come to expect in motorcycles – even small capacity machines – has a real sporty edge.

The E-Pilen could well also be a viable option for those seeking something more than an e-bicycle, without making the jump to traditional motorcycle or scooter, and the 100 km range would cover many rider’s regular commute. We’ll have to wait and see what speeds the bike is capable of without greatly effecting that range.

2021 Husqvarna E-Pilen Concept E-Motorcycle

It will also be interesting to see if more powerful alternatives are offered in the future, aligning with the availability of 125, 250, 401 and 701 Vitpilen and Svartpilen models.

Price is also likely to be a hot topic with this model, with the Svartpilen and Vitpilen models having seen a fairly drastic price drop from their original figures, which has since put them in a fairly competitive position in the Aussie market.

2021 Husqvarna E-Pilen Concept E-Motorcycle

Whether the E-Pilen is an affordable alternative to a small capacity machine or ends up in a similar position to Harley’s Livewire – as a premium, fairly exclusive option –  remains to be seen. Affordability is a huge factor in this segment of the small motorcycle/scooter market.

Source: MCNews.com.au