Electric motorcycles and scooters
Published:2014-05-14 16:51:37    Text Size:【BIG】【MEDIUM】【SMALL

Electric motorcycles and scooters are plug-in electric vehicles with two or three wheels that can be recharged from any external source of electricity, and the electricity is stored on board in a rechargeable battery, which powers one or more electric motors to attain locomotion. Electric motorcycles, as distinguished from scooters, do not have a step-through frame.

As of August 2013, there are several commercial production electric motorcycle available in markets around the world, including theBrammo Empulse, Zero S, Energica EGO, Quantya Strada, Yamaha EC-03, Electric Motorsport GPR-S, Hollywood Electrics,Yo Exl, and the Lito Sora.

Following the demise of Vectrix, the primary electric scooter manufacturer currently supplying the US, Asian, and European markets (as of January 2014) is Z Electric Vehicle. Manufacturers including BMW and Honda have demonstrated concept electric scooters at the main motorcycle and scooter tradeshow, EICMA 2013 held annually in Milan. The BMW C evolution scooter is now in production in Germany and expected to go on sale in Europe in 2014. In 2012 Honda participated in European lease demonstration and driving tests for its electric scooter but has not yet announced its availability for sale.  Terra Motors, a Japanese electric vehicle maker, will begin selling electric scooters in India by 2015.

Electric vs. gasoline machines

Speed: Electric and gasoline powered motorcycles and scooters of the same size and weight are roughly comparable in performance. In August 2013 Road and Trackevaluated a high-end electric motorcycle as "faster and better handling than any conventionally powered bike." Electric machines have better 0 to 60 acceleration, since they develop full torque immediately, and without a clutch the torque is instantly available.

Range: Electric motorcycles and scooters suffer considerable disadvantage in range, since batteries cannot store the same amount of energy as a tank of gas. Electric machines excel as daily commuters traveling a fixed distance, but range anxiety precludes the sense of the freedom of the open road that a gas machine offers. Also electric power trades off range against speed more dramatically than gasoline power. For instance the current longest range scooter, the Zev T 10 LRC, has a range on a single charge of 220 km (140 mi) at 89 km/h (55 mph), but according to the manufacturer the range drops to about 129 km (80 mi) at 112 km/h (70 mph).

Maintenance: Electric scooters and motorcycles have the great advantage of requiring virtually no maintenance. As Wired magazine's transportation editor Damon Lavrinc reported after an experiment of trying to go six months using nothing but a Zero electric motorcycle:

... one of the great benefits of an EV is the ease of maintenance. With only a battery, a motor, and a black box (i.e. the controller) to keep you moving, electric motorcycles are a breeze to maintain compared to a conventional motorcycle, what with all the lubricating and adjusting and tuning you have to do. You basically just worry about consumables: brake pads, tires, maybe a brake fluid flush. That’s about it.

Fuel cost: At approximately one cent per mile, electric machines enjoy an enormous fuel cost advantage. After three months and 2,800 km (1,700 mi) of commuting on an electric motorcycle Lavrinc reported he had spent less than $30 for electricity; on a BMW gasoline bike a single trip of 650 km (400 mi) cost nearly the same.

Noise: Electric vehicles are far quieter than gas powered ones, so silent they may sneak up on unwary pedestrians. Some EV's are equipped to emit artificial noise. Popular Mechanics called the comparative silence of electric motorcycles the greatest difference between them and their gas counterparts, and a safety bonus because "you can hear danger approaching." Whether a loud motorcycle is more noticeable and thus safer than a quiet one is contested. At high speed an electric motorcycle is quite audible, said to "sound like a spaceship."

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