Yoshihiro Kishimoto was one of the riders at this year’s famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) with an electric motorcycle on the mountain. Kishimoto races for Team Mirai which is a Japanese company that built a custom electric motorcycle for this year’s race. In the past Mirai has competed at the Isle of Man TT Zero and other season’s at Pikes Peak.
Mirai and Kishimoto were in first place in the Electric Modified Bike class this year with an unofficial time of 10:58.861. That time was pulled from LiveTiming.net and it states that it is not an official time. The track was shorter this year due to bad weather at the top of the mountain and it’s unclear how that will factor into the race results. Colorado has seen a lot of bad weather during the summer this year. Still with that time Mirai finished 29th against all motorcycle and cars in the race.
Editor’s Note – FYI, you might get annoyed by the sound from the video. It’s not actually from the bike but Pikes Peak regulations state that electric vehicles need some sort of “noise maker” so that people on the course know they are coming. They are much quieter than gas vehicles. 🙂
Yoshihiro Kishimoto (Mirai) – Pikes Peak
I wish I could provide more details about the bike being ridden by Yoshihiro Kishimoto at Pikes Peak by the Mirai website is all in Japanese. Using Google Translate I see information about the motorcycle they built for the Ilse of Man but not Pikes Peak.
If anyone wants to provide more information about Mirai and electric motorcycle Kishimoto used this year, feel free to leave a comment below.
Do you love to travel? Do you love motorcycles? What about electric motorcycles? Do you NOT like fossil fuels? Do you enjoy challenges? Love racing? Well, then you should probably sign-up for the 80 Day Race, an alternative vehicle endurance race inspired by the 1873 Jules Vernes novel “Around the World in 80 Days.”
The 80 Day Race is set to begin in 2017 in April and will start at France’s most iconic landmark, the Eiffel Tower. Other details about the race still are being worked out but all participating teams have to follow some rules. Don’t worry the rules are pretty simple for the 80 Day Race. Vehicles must meet these criteria;
Land Going, so no flying or anything
No Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)
Cannot be powered by fossil fuels
The 80 Day Race has the support of Paris mayor, Annie Hidalgo, and she was on hand for a press conference about the race. The whole idea is to get teams to push the limits of current alternative vehicle transportation.
Teams that participate do not need to follow a set route. There will be 8 checkpoints in cities across the world. They will go east toward China, then across the Pacific to North America and go south. From there they will transverse South America then onward to Africa heading North back to Paris. Teams will receive assistance ferrying vehicles across the oceans, seas, and other bodies of water. FYI, time spent traveling across water won’t count as part of the 80 days.
How did Frank Manders and Jenny Berlo, the organizers of the 80 Day Race, come up with this idea? At first you would assume they read the “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne, which highlighted the new steam-powered trains of the day which started to displace horses for long distance travel. No, they got the idea from Jackie Chan. They were watching the movie “Around the World in 80 Days” which starred screen legend and martial arts extraordinaire Jackie Chan in 2010. I wonder if they were watching in French? Still the movie was inspired by the book of the same name so I guess Jules Verne still deserves the credit.
Storm Eindhoven – Electric Motorcycle
The first team to commit to the 80 Day Race will utilize an electric motorcycle. They are the Storm Eindhoven team which consists of 29 engineering students from the University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. So far no other teams have committed to the race except the Storm Eindhoven team. They have a futuristic electric motorcycle design using a honeycomb based battery storage system.
There are other details on the website but upon further inspection and reading the press material from the 80 Day Race I realized that the motorcycle on display is just a model. It seems they haven’t actually built a working prototype yet. Part of the issue is that the University of Eindhoven students don’t’ seem to have the funds to build it. They are crowdfunding to get the money to compete in the 80 Day Race and build the Storm electric motorcycle.
Other 80 Day Race teams?
Since the only team that has committed to the race has no working prototype of their electric motorcycle, I wonder if they will have trouble getting others to participate? I’d imagine you would see manufacturer’s teams that have competed in endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Paris-Dakar Rally want to participate. Some might want to show they have the alternative technology that can go “Around the World in Eighty Days!” Of course it’s not clear if the organizers are offering cash prizes for the winner or runner-ups. Maybe you just win a bunch of respect from tree huggers? We think a cash prize might help encouraging participation since this type of race would get expensive… fast. 🙂
Could you imagine traveling around the world in 80 days on an electric motorcycle? What about another prototype vehicle that doesn’t use fossil fuels or gas? Leave a comment below and let me know.
80 Day Race to Start in Paris [Press Release]
Sustainable global competition to start in Paris
80 Day Race can count on the support of mayor Anne Hidalgo
‘Grand Départ’ in front of the Eiffel Tower in April, 2017
A pre-event will be held in spring 2016
Three-time Dakar Rally winner Hubert Auriol joins the 80 Day Race organisation
Several firms and ambassadors expressing interest to participate
PARIS, June 15, 2015 – 80 Day Race has announced during a press conference in Hôtel de Ville in Paris that the French capital city will have the honour to host the start and finish event of 80 Day Race, the first around the globe sustainable competition in which teams cover 40,000 kilometres by using land-based vehicles that do not consume fossil fuel and do not contain a combustion engine.
80 Day Race is inspired by Jules Verne’s famous book ‘Around the world in 80 days’, betting that new means of transportation make it possible to achieve this challenge. Starting from Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower in April, 2017, teams are free to choose their own route to circumnavigate the globe between eight major cities in which events will take place, such as qualifying events, an educational programme and tradeshows.
The news was made public in front of selected guests and media in the City Hall of Paris. Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, emphasised the importance of the race: “I am very proud to host 80 Day Race in Paris. This race around the world in sustainable vehicles fully corresponds with the values we pursue. The development of e-mobility is one of the major challenges of our century and I’m sure 80 Day Race will accelerate the development of new means of transport. Because, beyond the incredible human adventure that represents this event, it is a real technological challenge that is offered to the teams. And, I admit, I can not wait to see the result!”
Reflecting on the announcement, Frank Manders, co-founder and general director of 80 Day Race, said: “With 80 Day Race we start a great new adventure and what better place to start this adventure than Paris? Paris is associated with great adventures, be it the first Peking to Paris race in 1907, or the New York to Paris Atlantic flight by Charles Lindbergh. Now with all the challenges of the modern day, Paris has its sights on the future. 80 Day Race is a modern day adventure, pioneering new possibilities created by new technology. Great adventures have always inspired people and that is exactly what we aim to do. When we inspire the future generation, the future can be bright and clean!”
Hubert Auriol, three-time Dakar Rally winner and organiser of the China Grand Rally, has joined 80 Day Race. He said: “When I first heard about 80 Day Race, I had the same feeling as 30 years ago when Thierry Sabine announced he would organise a new race between Paris and Dakar. A crazy thought at first, but it happened and it’s still alive! At that time, I knew I had to participate and I did. It changed my life. 80 Day Race represents the same adventurous challenge, but it’s updated to what concerns us all today and that’s the climate change. The event will be a great race with the aim to accelerate clean technology. The winner, who first arrives back in Paris, will leave an ever lasting legacy by proving that e-mobility holds the future of transportation, the future for our and the next generations.”
Other speakers were Albert Bosch (ESP), Eric Vigouroux (FRA/USA), Mate Rimac (Rimac Automobili) (HRV) and Texas van Leeuwenstein (STORM Eindhoven) (NED) expressing their interest in the race and preparing their participation. The Dutch entry already assembles world’s first battery-electric touring motorcycle with the aim to win the first edition.
80 Day Race will continue its preparation to secure seven other major cities and, in cooperation with the city of Paris, a pre-event will be organised in spring 2016. This event will include a presentation of the participating teams and vehicles, but also a first taste of what to expect of the education programme.
Further announcements regarding teams, host cities, partners, and broadcasters are expected in due course.
Visit www.80dr.com for more detailed information about the race, the most frequently asked questions and about the international ambassadors who’ve pledged their commitment to the race.
Hollywood Electrics is heading back to Pikes Peak this year to defend the electric motorcycle dealership’s previous race titles. Racing for Hollywood Electrics will be Jeff Clark, Brandon Nozaki Miller, and Nathan Barker.
Each rider is going to be competing on modified 2015 Zero SR’s in the Electric Production class category. Jeff Clark won the title the past two consecutive years and he is looking for another win on Pikes Peak again this year.
Sponsoring the Hollywood Electrics team on Pikes Peak will be Zero Motorcycles. The company typically doesn’t fund many electric motorcycle racing endeavors, instead putting most of their money into making consumer bikes the best they can be and working on sales. So far Zero Motorcycles has been the most successful electric motorcycle company to date and recently they received a $1 million dollar grant from the state of California. Hollywood Electrics is the largest seller of Zero bikes in the United States and is the only electric motorcycle dealership in the country to our understanding. Glad to see Harlan Flagg, the owner of Hollywood Electrics, get support directly from Zero.
One big change for team this year is that they will be charging all the Zero SRs with solar panels. Using a support truck from Go Green Mobile Power will allow off-grid charging harnessing the power of the sun to race. We assume Hollywood Electrics Racing was inspired when they saw Lighting Motorcycles win back in 2013 charging all their bikes with solar panels. They beat out gas bikes by almost a full 20 seconds.
Good luck to Harlan and everyone at Hollywood Electrics at Pikes Peak this year.
Hollywood Electrics to defend Title at Pikes Peak [Press Release]
Hollywood Electrics and Zero Motorcycles, leaders in all electric motorcycles, are headed to Colorado on June 28, 2015 for the 93rd Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC).
Hollywood Electrics is fielding a threebike team consisting of Pikes Peak Winner Jeff Clark (#777), Land Speed Record Holder Brandon Nozaki Miller (#111), and Pikes Peak Race Veteran Nathan Barker (#880), on their Zero Electric Motorcycles in the Electric Production Class.
Clark, Nozaki Miller, and Barker have been gearing up for the Race to the Clouds on all new race prepped machines debuting exclusive performance parts by Hollywood Electrics. Twotime Electric Production Class winner Jeff Clark returns to defend his consecutive titles from 2013 and 2014. Having broken his previous record with a run of 11:59 in 2014 he seeks to shave off even more time in 2015. Brandon Nozaki Miller and Nathan Barker return after a one year hiatus from Pikes Peak eager to prove their mettle against the current champ.
“We continue to push the envelope of performance on these production electric motorcycles and prove that the Zero Motorcycles are not only fantastic commuter motorcycles, but also very competent race machines,” said Team Owner Harlan Flagg of Hollywood Electrics Racing. “If they can take on Pikes Peak, the Zero Motorcycles are more than capable of handling your everyday riding.”
All three racers will be on Zero Motorcycles’ 2015 SR Models which boast an incredible 060mph in 3.3 seconds, a top speed exceeding 100mph, and are made in Santa Cruz, California. Electric Motorcycles are able to deliver consistent performance at any altitude, unaffected by the thin air that wreaks havoc on the fuel mixture of their Internal Combustion Powered counterparts.
“Zero Motorcycles is proud to sponsor Hollywood Electrics’ Pikes Peak racing program. This marks the third year in a row that the team has tackled the event and with their experience and track record we are confident they will bring back another production electric motorcycle class dominating performance. We wish Jeff, Nathan, Brandon and the entire team the best of luck,” said Scot Harden, VP of Global Marketing for Zero Motorcycles.
In partnership with GO GREEN Mobile Power (GGMP), Hollywood Electrics is also proud to debut their solar powered race support vehicle for clean, offgrid charging of the Zero Electric Motorcycle Race Bikes. “GO GREEN Mobile Power is excited to collaborate with Hollywood Electrics on this project as another example of solar hybrid technology at work,” said GGMP President & CEO James Caulfield. “It is our mission to continue to develop and manufacture products and systems that have an immediate and practical benefit for the end user, both in grid independence and quantifiable cost savings.”
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb began in 1916 and is the second oldest motorsports race in America. The PPIHC is a longstanding tradition in the Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak regions. The race takes place on a 12.42 mile course beginning at 9,390 feet with 156 turns and ending at the 14,115 foot summit of Pikes Peak, also known as “America’s Mountain.”
Hollywood Electrics is the world’s leading retailer of electric motorcycles. With the widest selection of electric twowheeled vehicles in the world, Hollywood Electrics offers a unique “Electric First” understanding of the vehicle industry. Hollywood Electrics is particularly known for Performance Kits for EVs. Founded in 2009, Hollywood Electrics is the #1 Zero Motorcycles Dealership worldwide.
Hollywood Electrics would like to thank Zero Motorcycles, DigiNow, Nate’s Fine Foods, GO GREEN Mobile Power, EnerBee, AXO, and Lindemann Engineering for their support this race season.
Zero Motorcycles, a US based electric motorcycle company, has now introduced it’s models for sale in the streets in Indonesia. The company has tapped Garansindo Technologies to be the authorized distributor in Indonesia for selling it’s electric motorcycle line.
All four Zero models will be available to Indonesian buyers which includes the Zero S, Zero SR, Zero FX and the Zero DS. The bikes will sell between 180 million Indian Rupiah to 309 million, which does not include Indonesian taxes and fees for registering the motorcycles. The US pricing converted into dollars works out to about $13,500 – $23,000 in case anyone was wondering what the Rupiah exchange rate is like.
These electric motorcycles are going into the Indonesian motorcycle market at a pricing premium compared to what else is on the market. The real question, will Indonesian buyers be willing to pay this premium price tag for electric bikes? It is unclear how Zero Motorcycles will fair against the plethora of bike options sold in Indonesia each year. 8 million bikes are sold roughly each year and for a lot less Indonesian Rupiah.
“We believe that the Indonesian market is eager to adopt electric transportation.” said Mr. Muhammad Al Abdullah, CEO of Garansindo Technologies. “Zero Motorcycles will be the first 100% electric motorcycle in Indonesia and we couldn’t be more excited to represent the brand… Zero offers the most advanced production electric motorcycles in the world. The inclusion of the Zero Motorcycles line in our product portfolio will allow us to better support the Indonesian Government by providing the most environmentally friendly two-wheeled transportation solution. In addition, with no routine powertrain maintenance, zero emissions and thrilling performance, we have observed a strong, and growing, demand for Zero among motorcycle enthusiasts.”
“Our new partnership with Garansindo is an integral step for Zero Motorcycles in our expansion as a global company,” said Phillip Wilkinson, Director Sales Asia PAC Zero Motorcycles. “The introduction of our electric motorcycles into one of the world’s leading two-wheel markets is an exciting prospect. Opportunities in the premium motorcycle segment within Indonesia are very promising, and we know that Garansindo will provide an effective channel with which we can service both consumer and fleet customers alike. We are thrilled to form this new partnership and look forward to a successful future with Garansindo.”
Garansindo now has a Zero Motorcycles showroom in Kemang, South Jakarta. The distributor should have another dealership operating in Bali before the end of 2015.
Garasindo will be importing all the electric motorcycles from the Zero factory and headquarters in Santa Cruz, California. Garansindo is no stranger to importing vehicles as it is the official distributor for Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) brands such as Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo into Indonesia.
This is a welcome expansion for Zero Motorcycles as it continues to open up in markets around the world. Recently the motorcycle company started operating and selling bikes in Italy, which is a scooter and motorcycle crazed country. Indonesia also popular for scooters and motorcycles as well, so we are interested to see how the market reacts with the introduction of Zero.
About Garansindo Technologies
The Garansindo group of companies was first established in 2003 as PT Garansindo Inter Global, with a business scope specializing on supporting services for the automotive industry in Indonesia. Garansindo has since grown into one of the top automotive companies within Indonesia. In 2008, Garansindo was appointed as the Authorized General Indonesian Distributor for Chrysler Group vehicles, followed by Fiat and Alfa Romeo in 2013. PT. Garansindo Technologies is a sister company of PT. Garansindo Inter Global which is committed to support the automotive industry by providing the latest technology and the most advanced transportation vehicles but yet environmentally friendly.
An Energica Ego, an Italian electric motorcycle, has just gone 1952 miles (3142 km) in the largest electric vehicle rally in the world. The World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) is now in it’s 5th year and is meant to showcase that electric vehicles can be clean, reliable, fun, and go long distances too. The WAVE rally is open to any type of electric vehicle which includes production vehicles and cars, custom built machines, electric bikes (ie with pedals) and prototypes not on the the market. It goes from Plauen, Germany in southwest of the country North to Leipzig, to Berlin and back down to Bern, Switzerland. There is also a Swiss route you can on the WAVE rally.
Since the Energica Ego is an electric motorcycle a dealer, Adrian Von Bueren, decided to take part this year in the electric vehicle rally. Von Bueren runs Extablish AG which is the Energica dealership in Switzerland. The Italian motorcycle company expanded it’s dealership network to include Extablish AG along with a distributor in Canada and the Netherlands.
The Energica won two prizes in the WAVE rally, Best Design and Most Popular Vehicle according to the company. They also claimed that the electric motorcycle made it 195 km on a single charge, which is equivalent to 121 miles roughly, using it’s fast charger. The Energica claims the Ego is the only electric motorcycle to come equipped with a fast charger as standard equipment currently.
Energica recently got approved for sale in the US but it’s not clear if they’ve been selling models stateside yet. It will be interesting to see how the Italian electric motorcycle company competes against Italian counterparts like Ducati, Aprilia, and Moto Guzzi.
Th Buckeye Current team from Ohio State is returning to Pikes Peak this year which takes place in a few days. This year they have a new electric motorcycle to race, the RW-3. In addition they have a new rider, Joe Prussiano, as Rob Barber who used to race for the team will no longer be doing so.
The Ohio State team was noticeably absent at the Isle of Man TT Zero this year. Back in 2014 they secured a surprising 3rd place podium finish. The TT Zero is a specific racing class for electrics motorcycles on the Isle of Man. We assume it has something to do with cost as it’s expensive shipping motorcycles to the small island off the cost of the United Kingdom (or Great Britain?).
It will be interesting to see how Buckeye team does at Pikes Peak this year. Pikes Peak put electric motorcycles on the map as back in 2013 when Lightning Motorcycles won the race charging all it’s bikes with solar panels and beating out all the gas bikes. Translogic recently did an episode of the LS-218, the companies consumer road bike, and Loz Blain from Gizmag did a review.
You can read further details about the RW-3 electric motorcycle and the Buckeye Current team are below.
Buckeye Current Rallies to Compete in 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb [Press Release]
Buckeye Current, the student electric motorcycle team at The Ohio State University, has completed its latest all-electric racing motorcycle. RW-3 will compete in the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb June 28. This follows on the success of the team’s 2013 and 2014 Isle of Man TT Zero performances in which renowned rider Rob Barber piloted the team’s RW-2 and then RW-2.X vehicles to third place victories, achieving the title of the world’s fastest collegiate electric motorcycle two years in a row. After earning two podium finishes at the Isle of Man, the team was looking ahead to a new challenge.
This year the team had to create an entirely new bike to conquer Pikes Peak. RW-3 is designed to average 76 miles per hour through the course with a top speed of 125 miles per hour. The battery pack holds 7.8 kilowatt-hours of energy on board and contains 972 individual 18650 cylindrical battery cells. The bike features a student-designed and built electronics system, carbon fiber fairings, and a custom-designed battery pack. With such great student talent, the team was able to create a bike that they believe can not only win the electric class but set the record for all motorcycles.
Shortly after arriving in Colorado, the team faced a very serious setback. After multiple, successful runs on the bike, a slick patch on the track caused the RW-3 to crash, injuring Rob. In light of a great partnership with Rob “The Bullet” Barber over the past two years, Buckeye Current is deeply saddened to announce that he will be unable to race in this year’s Hill Climb. Rob is, however, now recovering well and is planning on supporting the team from the sidelines.
Buckeye Current is determined to press on towards its goal of conquering Pikes Peak, and the team is pleased to announce that not only is RW-3 repaired but the team has also secured the help of a replacement rider: Joe Prussiano, a professional race instructor at the Texas Tornado Boot Camp. Joe is a three-time Pikes Peak 450 Pro Class winner and has graciously stepped in to race in Rob’s absence. After a major rebuilding effort, the RW-3 has just passed through Pikes Peak official tech inspection and is ready to meet its new rider. The team is very grateful to Joe for his immediate response and is looking forward to race day with the team, sponsors, and fans cheering him on as he reaches the summit of this historic racecourse.
More About Buckeye Current
Buckeye Current is a student team at The Ohio State University based at the Center for Automotive Research. The team researches, designs, builds, and races electric motorcycles to not only create innovative electric vehicles but to educate both students and the community about green technologies. The team’s first bike, RW-1, set the East Coast Timing Association record for electric motorcycles at 144.3 miles per hour. Buckeye Current’s second bike placed third in the Isle of Man TT Zero, an international all-electric series, and their third bike placed third to defend that position in the following year. To read more about the team and to follow its progress please visit current.osu.edu and the Facebook page (/BuckeyeCurrent).
Buckeye Current seeks funding partners to continue the innovative development and success of the team. In addition to supporting a student led endeavor, partnership with the team provides access to highly qualified students and public exposure on an international stage, all while contributing to the advancement of clean technologies.
Contact: Lauren Alman Buckeye Current Marketing Coordinator email@example.com (703)965-3330
If you have been enjoying the plethora of summer blockbuster movies you might have gone to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the new Avengers movie there is a sequence where Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, rides an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
The prototype electric motorcycle, which the company has dubbed the Livewire, made a big media splash back when it was introduced last summer. It seemed like the purveyor of “loud pipes save lives” was trying something radically different. It’s now clear that the building the Livewire prototype was partly something that the company did for the Avengers: Ague of Ultron movie. Joss Whedon, the director, approached Harley-Davidson saying that he needed a a cool bike for the movie and something different and futuristic. Hence the Livewire electric prototype was born and was used in the film.
Harley-Davidson LiveWire – Avengers: Age of Ultron
“It’s an electric bike so you have no engine to warm up… nothing is similar with a gas bike except it is on two wheels and you have handlebars.” said Sarah Vignot, the stunt rider for Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers. “This bike completely blew me away, it’s so far out of the norm of what you would expect.” said Justin Hell, the motorcycle coordinator for the movie.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles being in movies is nothing new as the iconic brand has become a symbol of America around the world. However, electric motorcycles being in big budget movies is new. Will we see more electric Harleys or Livewire prototypes in summer blockbusters movies? I imagine so if the company is serious about getting one into market within 5 years. With Polaris entering the market this year with the Victory Charger, Harely-Davidson might want to get the Livewire into production sooner rather than later.
What are your thoughts about the Livewire being in the Avengers: Age of Ultron?
Translogic, which is an AutoBlog show, had an episode featuring the Lightning LS-218 and a review of the electric motorcycle. Translogic is meant to showcase next generation vehicles and the technology around them. It is hosted by Jonathon Buckley who is Australian.
For a little background, Lightning Motorcycles gain notoriety for winning Pikes Peak back in 2013. The Lightning team beat out all the gas bikes by almost a full 20 seconds and charged all their bikes with solar panels on the mountain. They’ve actually been using solar panel to charge bikes for other races too.
Buckley talks with Richard Hatfield, the founder and CEO of Lightning Motorcycles, about the LS-218 and his success with racing. The company claims it is the fastest production motorcycle you can buy today.
Jonathon Buckley took the bike out for a spin and was generally impressed with the sheer acceleration and overall feel of the LS-218. When Gizmag’s Loz Blain reviewed the Lightning LS-218 he was similarly impressed with the bike. During his test ride something happened where the LS-218 suddenly shutoff and them came back on. “I guess it just needed a reset.” commented Buckley. There was talk there were some other kinks with the bike but didn’t go into specifics. He was surprised by how rideable the bike was and said it didn’t feel like it was pulling his arms out of his sockets, which he thought it would.
Translogic – Lightning LS-218
Most of the Lightning Motorcycles LS-218 is made of carbon fiber components and features top-of-the-line motorcycle suspension parts, wheels, and brembo brakes. It’s definitely a serious bike since it costs roughly $40,000 dollars.
In the beginning of the Translogic 178 episode Buckley points out the same questions arise when electric motorcycles come up. Range, performance, battery life, and price. Lightning Motorcycles has definitely solved the performance questions with an electric motorcycle, of course range could always use a boost, but we are still unclear of the company’s goals. As far as we know Lightning Motorcycles has only sold 1 model of the LS-218. Are they still working out kinks or is their main goal racing?
Here is a nice video by the folks over at Motorcycle.com about Ceres police department, which is located in the San Joaquin valley, and the Zero DSP motorcycles they use.
Ceres Police – Electric Motorcycles
The Zero DSP police motorcycles were bought through a special grant program which allowed the Ceres police to add them to the fleet. While this was a radical departure compared to the Harley-Davidson motorcycles the officers were used to using, the results so far have been positive on many levels. “It costs us a $1 dollar a day to run one of these [electric] motorcycles vs $15-$20 dollars a day to run a gas-powered motorcycle.” said Lieutenant Chris Perry. Other advantages Lieutenant Perry cited were that the electric bikes don’t add to air pollution, they don’t make much noise, they are user-friendly, easy-to-ride, and apparently the public really likes them.
“When I heard we were getting electric, I was a little apprehensive they would be able to stay up to the demands of the job of being a motor officer.” said Sergeant Jason Coley. After he had ridden a Zero DSP electric motorcycle, “I was very impressed.” He also commented about how much more maneuverable the electric motorcycles are compared to gas bikes. They are able to be taken indoors and weigh about half as much as the Harley-Davidson V-twin police motorcycles. Officer Coley is also pleased with how the Zero DSP’s do not make much noise which makes them more aware of their surroundings and gives the police the element of surprise.
“If I’m out looking for cellphone violators, I can actually roll right up alongside their car, stop, lean over, and knock on the window.” said Officer Keith Kitcher.
What’s interesting is that the electric motorcycles being in the police vehicle fleet as proved to be a great community engagement tool. The public likes the bikes are quite, do not pollute, and have garnered interest when they are out riding and patrolling Ceres.
We have an interview with the founder of the very cool Electric Motorcycle Club, Adam, in association with our sister publication CarNewsCafe. The senior editor, Aaron Turpen, interviewed Adam to talk about the electric motorcycle industry and why he’s built this website.
In the interview, we discuss the current state of electric motorcycles, where it is going, what the outlook is like, the challenges of getting riders to go electric, challenges electric motorcycle companies face and where electric motorcycles stand in the electric vehicle landscape. In addition we talk about the Verisign Internet Official Contest which ElectricMotorcycleClub.com is a first prize finalist in.
CarNewsCafe (Aaron Turpen) – So Adam, tell us a little bit about Electric Motorcycle Club?
Electric Motorcycle Club (Adam) – Well, the club is not operational yet but I’m working on the nitty gritty details of it now. It will be the first club for electric motorcycles as one does not exist currently. The club will be a great resource for learning, sharing, and encouraging people who are interested in riding an electric motorcycle to take the plunge.
CNC – Why did you decide to start the club?
EMC – I was wondering if there was a club for electric motorcycles that I could join. As you know clubs and organizations are popular in automotive and motorcycle circles around specific types of vehicles, so I thought there would be one. While there were online communities for electric bikes currently there is no official club, so it’s a classic entrepreneurial story of, “Hey, why don’t I build and start one?” I checked and the domain was available so I registered it.
CNC – What got you interested in electric motorcycles?
EMC – I believe I was bouncing around online since I was working on my own bike and I thought, “I’d rather be riding honestly, than fixing this.” I had looked into Zero Motorcycles which currently builds the most complete and consumer friendly electric motorcycles on the market. I thought it was cool what they were doing but the cost for the range vs what you get with a conventional gas bike didn’t seem to make sense to me. Today you are talking about $15,000 for a electric bike with decent range.
What started to change my mind is an esteemed electric vehicle evangelist and automotive colleague. I remember he was reporting from Pikes Peak in 2013 and was telling me about some of the teams up on the mountain that year. There was an electric motorcycle team that beat all the gas powered bikes in the open class division by almost a full 20 seconds. In racing terms that is huge time difference. It took a lot of teams by surprise at Pikes Peak and surprised the motorcycle world I believe. The kicker? They charged all the bikes with solar panels.
A while after I sold my motorcycle, which I still regret, I decided to research electric motorcycles a little more. Still like a lot of people I had look into what Zero Motorcycles was offering. I was impressed with the quality of the bikes their were selling. Still I guess I was lukewarm on the idea of an electric motorcycle because of “range anxiety” and it just being a new technology. I started reading more about it and realized an electric motorcycle makes a lot more sense. There’s less maintenance, you obviously don’t pay for gas, there is no transmission, which means no shifting, they are quieter, and they don’t produce much heat.
I thought, “Hey, if this team could charge electric motorcycles for racing with solar panels, why can’t you do that with a regular bike?” Did a little more research and realized that is possible. I guess the goal is to be cool riding a motorcycle while also saving a ton of money not buying gas and not doing maintenance.
CNC – What are your general plans for this website?
EMC – I’d like to get the site operational with great information about electric motorcycles which is not readily available anywhere else and build a core group of members and enthusiasts. I’d ideally like our news and article section to be the most comprehensive online. This story about a journalist going from Philadelphia to Patagonia has generated a lot of interest Some of our other stories have too like this one about the Sway on Shark Tank and one I wrote about Evoke Motorcycles, a Chinese company. I’ve gotten compliments about the articles, so that’s a good sign.
In the future there will be a private and public discussion boards, classified ads, a business directory, and more for club members. I’ll also organize group rides eventually. Maybe when the club is more established we can even have a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course available for members. MSF courses would a great thing to offer for members but logistically it would be difficult. Learning on an electric motorcycle would be a lot easier for a beginner motorcyclist as there is no clutch, so it is something I’ll look into.
Another thing, back I was first reading about electric motorcycles I was interested in finding out about electric vehicle rebates or tax incentives that could apply to electric bikes and haven’t found much. My goal is to find a knowledgeable tax person that can help build information and knows how to stay updated on changing tax laws. This will be available to Electric Motorcycle Club members and we would also have detailed information on what applies to electric cars, trucks, etc.
I’ll be looking into finding a great WordPress designer to build out a nice design so everything is easily accessible and looks pretty as well.
CNC – What inspires and motivates you to do this?
EMC – It’s an extremely small and new market which means there is a lot of innovative technology going into electric motorcycles. Having a successful club and organization around an industry is important for it’s growth and development. I see this as a great opportunity to change the world, one motorcycle at a time.
CNC – How do people react when you tell them about starting this club?
EMC – Positively, usually. Electric vehicles are in vogue now and motorcycles are considered cool but of course dangerous by moms everywhere. Put the two together and I think people are into the idea of an electric motorcycle club. It probably helps I won money for the website too. This at least gets us off to a good start. 🙂
CNC – About the contest, want to tell us a little bit more about it?
EMC – The Internet Official contest is being put on by Verisign, the registry for .COM and .NET domain extensions. This means they run all the backend servers to make these extensions work so you can visit this website. The company gets money for every .COM and .NET domain registered.
The contest is to encourage people to find a great .COM that is available to register for a business, service, or whatever you want. With millions and millions of .COM domain names registered it can be challenging but there are still good domains out there. ElectricMotorcycleClub.com shows that I believe.
There are 15 first prize finalists that will receive $5,000 to make their idea a reality. These fifteen first prize winners are eligible to compete for the grand prize of $30,000 and can garner votes from the public. Eleven of the finalists submitted a video explaining why their website idea is the best in the contest and why they should be the grand prize winner. A panel of judges and public votes determines the winner. The public voting phase is open now and I’d appreciate if people voted for us. You can do so through June 27th and vote once per day.
CNC – Other than it being yours (haha), why do you think EMC is the best website in the contest and why should it win?
EMC – If you check this site vs the other websites you’ll see I’ve put effort to write articles consistently. The other first prize finalists have nice ideas but most have no website up or just a landing page without much actual content. I’ve shown that I’m going to actually use the domain name and build something useful on it. Also it is easy for someone to understand what the site is about before they visit. Some of the other sites need explanation and it’s still not clear to me how the site will work.
CNC – What are your plans for your first prize winnings?
EMC – I feel it is a blessing to have been a first prize finalist, so first thing I’ll do is donate money to the local area animal shelters and rescues. People who know me understand I’m a big dog person and I’ve done rescue work in the past. A little bit of extra funds can go a long way to help rescue animals. When you get money unexpectedly I think it’s always good to be generous, right? Here is a video of Scout, a singing puppy, we fostered with one of my other dogs.
This is kind of funny but I’m looking into getting a road bike so I’ll probably use some of the money for that. When I say “bike” I actually don’t mean a motorcycle I mean something with no motor and pedals, ie you are the motor. Prices for entry level road bikes these days are kind of crazy, a lot of local shops around here have models in the $800 to $1,000 range. Probably won’t spend that much at first as I want to see if I’ll stick with cycling.
Some will go to help design this website, looking at different themes and options now. I’ll try to save most of it.
CNC – What would you do with the $30k if you are the grand prize winner?
EMC – I’ll do the same thing, donate a portion to animals rescues and shelters. I’d feel great donating a larger amount.
With regards to the club, the grand prize money would allow me to work on getting operational a lot more. It would probably allow me buy insurance for our first event. I’d look into buying an electric motorcycle myself, likely a Zero S, and buy a solar panel to charge it. There are still expensive so I don’t own one.
As much as I’d like to buy something fun I’m currently looking for full-time or part-time employment. The money would be helpful for education expenses I have which are always a burden. So I need to take both of these into consideration.
CNC – Give us an idea of where you think the club will be in, say, 5 years?
EMC – Ideally in 5 years I’d like Electric Motorcycle Club to be the premier destination for learning about electric motorcycles and encouraging new riders or those looking to go electric. We’d hopefully have several hundred members in the US and around the globe. I’d like to have a core team of people helping in the club, maybe a Board of Directors or something along those lines and volunteers. We should be known throughout the motorcycle industry. I’d definitely like to have regional meet-ups, a large yearly convention, and a printed quarterly newsletter. Hopefully the revenue would cover these costs.
CNC – Why not start a club for electric cars too?
EMC – There are already a lot of clubs and organizations for electric cars and I don’t think I’d bring anything new to the table. Also the motorcycle market is smaller and different and there is opportunity in this space.
This might sound crazy but I think it is easier to convince someone to buy an electric motorcycle over an electric car. Since a motorcycle is a second vehicle for most people they should be more open to trying something a little different. While there might be “range anxiety” still it’s not your main vehicle so I don’t see it being as much of an issue. Having to worry about charging isn’t as big a deal. Most bikers need to keep their battery on a battery charger or battery tender anyway since when you don’t ride much the battery gets depleted. So a lot of motorcyclists are already used to plugging in.
Most electric cars are seen as not cool but most people think any motorcycle is badass. If you are trying to convince the public to try go electric, you need them to want to actually want to buy EVs. That’s the whole reason Tesla got started.
CNC – What do you think the outlook is like for the electric motorcycle market going forward?
EMC – It’s small but we are seeing several large manufacturers that are introducing electric motorcycles or electric scooters. This includes KTM, Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, BMW, and Polaris.
Since Polaris bought out Brammo it’s clear they want to beat Harley-Davidson to market. They’ll be introducing the Victory Charger, the company’s first electric motorcycle, soon. I can likely see they’ll want to dominate the electric motorcycle space and make it difficult for Harley-Davidson to catch up. Polaris with the Indian and Victory brands has always played second fiddle in the heavy cruiser market, so they really want to beat them in something.
The LiveWire prototype has been good marketing for the electric motorcycle industry as a whole but the company that is known for loud pipes seems apprehensive to build it. Reports have said they’ll introduce a model by 2020, but will dealerships actually want to sell electric Harleys? I’m sure some will but a lot may not be keen on the idea.
We’ve seen other successes like Zero Motorcycles and hopefully there will be more in the future.
CNC – What’s the biggest challenge for these electric motorcycle companies?
EMC – In a sense the electric vehicle industry is it’s own worst enemy.
As an example I remember you telling me about Boulder Electric Vehicle and you driving 4 hours to see their facility. When you got there the doors were locked and you never got an explanation of why. The company shut down about a year later.
The BEV business plan was flawed and they couldn’t work with journalists. So why should they have survived as a company? When EV companies fail I hear EV advocates harp on the EV technology and not what actually went wrong with the company. If anyone reading this wants an even better idea they should read about Better Place. 🙂
I’ve had similar experiences with people in the EV space being difficult. I remember once an EV race team criticized my positive article since I stated, they only have 2 race cars. which made them feel marginalized. If I recall he wrote a fairly long email about it. He also criticized my grammar and subsequently I’ve never written another article on them. I also haven’t seen other articles on the team since then.
Most of these companies that are started or run by engineers with terrible people and marketing acumen. If you want to be successful there needs to an effective team with varied skills and good leadership. You need someone like Neal Saiki, founder of Zero, with a clear goal or the drive of Elon Musk. Of course even Elon Musk admitted he thought Tesla would fail when he started it. Getting a vehicle company off the ground is a lot harder than people realize. Probably getting an electric motorcycle club off the ground will be a lot harder than I realize. 🙂