Epic Roadtrip – USA to Patagonia on a Electric Motorcycle [VIDEO]

electric powered odyssey

Have you always wanted to take an epic motorcycle roadtrip? Have you always wanted to be the first person to do something? The journalist Thomas Tomczyk wants to do both of these things as he is currently attempting to be the first man to travel from the United States to Patagonia, the southern most tip of South America, on an electric motorcycle.  Sounds like an epic roadtrip to us.

Tomczyk is calling the 12,000 mile journey the “Electric Powered Odyssey – USA to Patagonia on an Electric Motorcycle.” He started from Philadelphia, PA around the beginning of April I believe and he’s made some good progress on his trip. As of this writing he’s in Colon, Panama and he’s been documenting the trip well on social media and Electric Powered Odyssey website. He estimates he should be able to reach Patagonia by October of this year.  There are some great pictures and videos he’s been posting on his motorcycle journey, like these.

Electric Powered Odyssey – Americas

Electric Powered Odyssey – Selfie Stick

A little background on Thomas from the Electric Powered Odyssey website;

Thomas Thomczyk is an experienced rider, journalist and magazine publisher who rode a KTM 640 Adventure from South Africa to Europe in 2010, while blogging for Rider Magazine. With electric bikes becoming a viable option for adventure and long-distance riding, we look forward to this new feat riding from Patagonia to the USA, thereby proving the rugged reliability of an American electric motorcycle.

Thomas is from Poland and originally studied to be an architect. Then he realized how amazing journalism is and profitable it can (ahh, I wish) and started covering issues related to the Horn-of-Africa. He has a MA in Journalism from University of Missouri and has experience in photojournalism and editorial cartooning.  In 2003 he decided to combine all his passions by launching Bay Islands Voice, a community publication on Roatan, Honduras.  In July 2013, he launched Motmot Magazine which covers Nicaragua.

Some more from the website about him and the person helping him, Nicole Vultan;

WHO WE ARE: We an outgoing and experienced group of professionals passionate about motorcycles, long distance travel and journalism. All are Spanish speakers, with a passion to undertake new challenges.

RIDER: Thomas Tomczyk, a journalist and publisher of Nicaragua’s national monthly English language travel magazine, MotMot magazine.

MARKETING: Nicole Vulcan, a multimedia journalist with 14 years of experience as a TV producer, writer, editor, media consultant & social media marketer.

Including the epic trip he did from South Africa to Europe for Rider Magazine, Tomczyk has done other endurance motorcycle trips as well.  He’s done several trips across India including going 12,000 miles on a 1950’s 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet. According to Gadling, a travel website, the motorcycle trip Across Africa was a life goal of his.

“The idea of crossing Africa came to me when I was 10.  A large map of the world hung above my bed in a small Warsaw apartment. I would study the geography of each continent, its road and railroad network. The most prominent continent would be Africa, placed in the middle of the map, right above where my head would rest on the pillow. The idea stayed in my mind for years. I would eventually learn to ride motorcycles in India and cover the Horn of Africa for publications in Poland and US. In January 2009 my grandmother passed away and I decided it was time to do the trek I’ve been thinking about for so long. Traveling for travel’s sake was past me, and I decided I needed to find a purpose as I travel, something that would give meaning to the journey and benefit others.”

Africa Heart Beat – South Africa to Europe on a Motorcycle

On the South Africa to Europe trip he was attempting to showcase good work grassroots projects various organizations and people were doing across Africa. For that trip he rode a KTM 640 Adventure bike, a good rugged choice for an motorcycle endurance roadtrip.  (I’d link to the website but he let the domain drop it seems.) For Electric Powered Odyssey he is trying to raise $10,000 dollars for the Wounder Warrior Project. The foundation helps US soldiers that have returned from war and conflicts with injuries.

Of course Thomas also wants to spread the world about electric motorcycle and electric vehicle technology and show what is possible. All while pushing the boundaries of what is doable and being the first person to take a US to South America trip on his electric motorcycle.

For those familiar with electric vehicles we’ve all heard about “Range Anxiety.” This refers to when people with EVs are afraid to go far from their house for fear of not being able to charge up if their battery gets too low or being able to find a charging station.  Well, I guess Thomas Thomczyk has no Range Anxiety. About the travel strategy;

Each typical day of travel would be composed of a morning ride of 60-100 mile ride, and fallowed by battery charging of 2-4 hours at gasoline stations, restaurants, hotels, etc. Each place would be compensated for the electricity used in the charging process. An afternoon 50-60 mile  ride would be concluded at an overnight rest stop where another battery charge would take place. The idea is to go at a steady pace, interacting with people, doing interviews, talks about the project with local motorcycle enthusiasts and spreading the knowledge about Wounded Warrior Project.

What’s surprising to me is the bike he is using for the USA to Patagonia trip is a 2012 Zero S with no modifications.  At least from the pictures I don’t see any mods to the bike. Most people that attempt this type of roadtrip with an electric motorcycle or electric vehicle install some type of quick charger.

As far I am aware Thomas would be the first person to take an electric motorcycle from the US to South America.  I am not aware of anyone else that has attempted this and that includes the Iron Butt award winner Terry Hershner with his Vetter fairings. Hershner has done all his world records on US roads.

We did hear that Chris Bell from Brutus Motorcycle is converting four KTM bikes to electric for Expedition Unplugged.  This is meant to be a 25,000 mile trip from Prudehoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. There have been no new updates about Expedition Unplugged so we aren’t sure if they are trying to get sponsors, still working on the bikes, are changing route plans, or just aren’t going to do it.

As an FYI for any companies or people that like Electric Powered Odyssey and think that it is awesome, they are looking for sponsors. Currently on the website they have three sponsorship levels listed;

  • Level 1 – $500 to $1000
  • Level 2 – $1000 to $2000
  • Level 3 – $3000 to $10000

When Thomas Thomczyk completes his trip, he deserves some respect from not just the electric vehicle community but the motorcycling community as a whole in my opinion.  Even if you think an electric motorcycle is “stupid” you still got to respect this type of endurance trip and being the first person to do it.

Electric Motorcycle Club will keep updated with his journey and you can also do so via Thomas’s social media channels.  We look forward to writing about another article when he gets to Patagonia.

UPDATE – I’ve been in contact with Thomas and there are a few corrections and things in the article which were not quite accurate that he wanted us to be aware of;

“I am currently in Honduras, regrouping after the 8,500 kilometers on the road and heading out towards Nicaragua.
I started the ride on March 30, 2015. I am currently on Roatan, Honduras after riding 8,500 kilometers.
I have been averaging 90-120 miles per riding day, with maximum of 185 miles. I have one on-board and one extra 72 Delta Q charger.
I typically charge at night and 1-2 times during the day. In US it was all kinds of places: from libraries, to fire stations to casinos, people homes. From Mexico south it has been mostly restaurants, homes, hotels, gas-service stations.”

Google Hangout with Terry Hershner, Craig Vetter, and friends [VIDEO]

terry hershner craig vetter

Electric Car Insider along with the automotive writer Chase Gregory hosted a Google Hangout with Terry Hershner and Craig Vetter.  For those in the motorcycle world Vetter is a familiar name.  The American Motorcycle Association Hall of Famer has had numerous motorcycle and fairing designs over many decades.  Recently he’s turned his attention to streamlining motorcycles to improve their efficiency.

Hershner is known for breaking many electric motorcycle world records using Vetter’s aerodynamic shell designs. Terry has also crossed the country a couple of times on his Zero motorcycle.  Terry Hershner has a coveted Iron Butt award winner, meaning he rode a motorcycle 1,000 miles in 24 hours, as well.  If that sounds crazy it is but what’s even more insane is he did this with an electric motorcycle.  The first person to do so and he also crossed the country on an electric motorcycle, a 2012 Zero, in 6 days.

What’s interesting is that Craig Vetter talked about the affect of aerodynamics improving the mileage range for motorcycles.  In addition there is talk about Hershner’s motorcycle specifically which is interesting to hear.  Vetter showed how they are streamlining a motorcycles at his shop with Hershner.  Apparently Vetter said that a streamlined motorcycle is a babe magnet.

“I came out to California. Unfortunately, I liked it out here so much I never came back.” said Hershner in the Hangout.  Vetter said, “What’s your good line about California?” Hershner replied, “People out here understand me.” 🙂 Hershner talked about some of the trips he’s done on his Zero motorcycle and how he’s been able to improve the range.  He showed and explained parts of his motorcycle and how Vetter’s fairings have helped him gain maximum efficiency.

Some other people that were part of the Hangout includes Chris Alan, founder of Electric Car Insider. He discussed the latest issue of the 2015 Electric Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide. If you are interested in purchasing a copy you should be able to find one at your local bookstore or order one via the website.

I also noticed that Domenick Yoney who writes for AutoBlog was part of the Hangout.  He writes about electric motorcycles occasionally and discussed the Isle of Man TT Zero which just took place.

Scot Harden, Vice President of Global Marketing for Zero Motorcycles, appeared later in the hangout.  He pointed out that gas-powered bikes have a lot more maintenance than electric motorcycles. Who wouldn’t rather be riding? Harden said that Hershner has racked up thousands of dollars in electricity bills which Zero covers.

Ben Rich, who writes for Green Car Reports was also on the Google Hangout. He’s started chronicling his road trips on his electric motorcycle on InsideEVs apparently.  He emphasized he doesn’t have an engineering background and isn’t that technical to make modifications to the bike.  He just has an off-the-shelf 2014 Zero SR and has special charger from Hollywood Electrics.  He’s doing about 200-300 miles a day.

There was an electric motorcycle distributor and dealer from Kuwait, which I thought was interesting. Gas is so cheap, who would buy an electric vehicle? It’s the first electric motorcycle dealership in that part of the world, excluding Israel. The heat he said was a challenge for people riding. I guess it is a desert.

There was also some discussion about if electric motorcycles being silent makes them unsafe.  Some who are familiar with riding motorcycles have heard the phrase, “Loud pipes save lives” which isn’t true. The discussion pointed out that when a bike is silent that makes the rider more aware of the surroundings, ie drivers that won’t’ see you.  Would it make a driver more aware if the bike had noise? It’s debatable as plenty of drivers don’t see riders even if their bikes do have loud pipes.  If people aren’t watching the road and texting or talking on their phone, no amount of noise will make some drivers see you on the road.  This is sad but for motorcycle riders (and cyclists) but true.

The hangout is long clocking in at 1 hour and 41 minutes.  They had some technically difficulties with the Hangout at the beginning.  I doubt many people will have the patience to listen to the entire thing.  If you are interested in the electric motorcycle industry or innovative motorcycle designs from Craig Vetter, it’s worth watching or listening to the hangout.

Google Hangout – Terry Hershner & Craig Vetter

Help Electric Motorcycle Club WIN the Internet Official Contest (VOTE!)

internet official contest

We just wanted to let all our readers and fans know that voting for the Grand Prize for Verisign’s Internet Official Contest opened up yesterday.  You can vote here for Electric Motorcycle Club or by clicking the link below.

Voting is open from June 12th through June 27th.  Just so everyone is aware you can vote 1 time each day.  So please remember to vote for us each day.  Please bookmark the voting page or feel free to comeback to this post or the frontpage of Electric Motorcycle Club where you will see the link to vote.  I also have this handy custom shortened URL – ayh.me/w – to make it easier for our readers and myself.  That URL redirects to our voting page with the video we made.

Just as a refresher the Internet Official contest is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of .COM , which made it’s debut all the way back in 1985.  Ironically this was several years before the internet was even really invented.  (Tim Berners-Lee put up the first web server in 1995.)

The main point is to show the world that even though there are millions of .COM domains registered, you can still go find a great domain for your business, service, or web project out there. Finding a great domain doesn’t to fit your needs doesn’t have to be challenging as some make out.  I registered ElectricMotorcycleClub.com so we know that Verisign accomplished the goal. 🙂

Here is a nice video from Verisign to better understand the contest.

Make Your .COM Internet Official

The voting is to part of the process to help the judges determine the Grand Prize winner for the best domain name in the contest.  It’s clear this website is the best, right? 🙂

We already feel fortunate to have been a finalist in the Internet Official contest receiving $5,000 to get the Electric Motorcycle Club started from Verisign. We wanted to let people know that when we receive the check in the mail we will be donating a portion of the winnings to all the local animal shelters and rescue groups.  If anybody knows me and my family they know we are big dog and animal lovers.  I feel blessed to have been a finalist.  While I could use the money for a lot of other expenses right now, it’s always good to share, be generous, and remember those that need help. If we win the Grand Prize of $30,000 I’ll be do the exact same thing.

internet official voting

A question for our readers, if you won the $35,000 in a contest, what would you do with it? Pay off debt and loans? Go on vacation? Save it for a rainy day? Splurge on something you’ve always wanted? I’d love to know.

Mugen & McGuinness win TT Zero (again), Anstey takes 2nd, Victory places 3rd

isle of man  john mcguinness

The results are in from the Isle of Man TT Zero, which is a class specifically for electric motorcycles. Who won the race this year? Isle of Man veteran John McGuinness placed first this year in the TT Zero race racing for Mugen Shinden/Honda.  This means that McGuinness has a total of 22 wins in different motorcycle classes on the famed Isle of Man mountain road course. This includes winning the TT Zero last year.

In second place was McGuinness’s teammate on the Mugen Shinden/Honda team, Bruce Anstey.  The motorcycle racer from New Zealand holds the current record for the fastest lap around the Isle of man road course.  He clocked in a 17:06 time with an average speed of 132mph.  That’s damn fast!

Victory Motorcycles placed in third with Lee Johnston.  What’s funny is that on the official Isle of Man results page they have Johnston listed as racing for “Brammo” which technically is not accurate.  Victory Racing tapped Lee Johnston this year and they are using Brammo’s technology to race since they bought out the company. Even though this is Victory Racing and Victory Motorcycles first year at the TT Zero didn’t produce a win, they still got a podium finish and had lap averages of over 100mph.

Another interesting note is that William Dunlop was replaced due to injuries qualifying for the Supersport class with Guy Martin on the Victory team.  On the website Martin is correctly listing as racing for Victory strangely enough.

Another interesting note, it’s been widely reported that Guy Martin is being considered as a possible Top Gear host.  This is after Jeremy Clarkson had a fracas (fight) with a producer on the show and supposedly verbally abused him.  His co-hosts James Many and Richard Hammond have not re-upped contracts with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) which has left the show’s hosting duties in limbo. Top Gear is the most factually watched show in the world and is hugely important to the BBC, accounting for large portion of revenue.  Will Guy Martin work on the show? I don’t know. Another question, will we see any electric motorcycles on Top Gear?

Isle of Man TT Zero Results

The Mugen Shinden team nearly broke the 120mph barrier which has long been considered a holy grail for bikes in the TT Zero.  McGuinness and Anstey both broke the TT Zero lap records from 2014.

Here is a breakdown of the stats for this year’s TT Zero. The average speed is listed first with the lapt time listed second.

  1. John McGuinness / Team Mugen – 119.279mph (18:58.743)
  2. Bruce Anstey / Team Mugen – 118.857mph (19:02.785)
  3. Lee Johnston / Victory Racing – 111.620mph – (20:16.881)
  4. Guy Martin / Victory Racing – 109.717mph – (20:37.987)
  5. Robert Wilson / Sarolea Racing – 106.510mph (21:15.256)
  6. Michael Sweeney / University of Nottingham – 73.156mph (30:56.695)

Sarolea is in their second year at the TT Zero and is a historic motorcycle brand that has been revived.  Much like the Spanish motorcycle company Bultcao.  Sarolea has done well considering their resources.

Noticeably absent this was the Ohio State team won managed to cliche a 3rd place finish in last year’s TT Zero with Rob Barber as the rider.  James Cowton for Brunel University was not able to complete the course this year. At least the University of Nottingham team was there representing colleges.

McGuinness makes it a Double for Mugen [Press Release]

John McGuinness broke his own SES TT Zero record in today’s Isle of Man TT Races with his teammate Bruce Anstey again following him home, as he did last year. Anstey was also inside McGuinnesses old lap record for the electric bike class.

John McGuinness was first away from the line but by Glen Helen Anstey had actually moved into the lead on timing, albeit with only a second separating the Mugen pair  who had already established a 17 second lead over third placed Lee Johnson with his Victory Parker Racing teammate Guy Martin in fourth a further nine seconds back.  Martin was a late replacement for William Dunlop who was injured earlier in the week during qualifying.

McGuinness had moved into the lead by the next timing point at Ballaugh Bridge with a lead of over two seconds from Anstey with the Team Mugen pair establishing a healthy lead at the front of the field.  Johnson and Martin continued their challenge for the final podium spot with the Northern Ireleand rider establishing a lead of over 10 seconds from Martin at Ballaugh.

Robert Wilson consolidated fifth place for Belgium’s team Sarolea Racing while James Cowton (Brunel University) and Michael Sweeney (University of Nottingham) were going head to head in sixth and seventh for the honour of finishing the first university.

At the front of the field McGuinness was being made to work for the race win by Anstey with the gap closing to less than three seconds but the Morecambe Missile held on to win with a new lap record of 119.279mph (18:58.743) from Anstey (118.857/19:02.785) with Lee Johnston taking third for Victory/Parker Racing with 111.620mph – 20:16.881.  Guy Martin (109.717/ 20:37.987), Robert Wilson (106.510/21:15.256) completed the top five with Michael Sweeney (73.156/30:56.695) taking the University honours for Nottingham.

[Source – IOM TT]

Energica approved for sale in the US by EPA & NHTSA

Energica Ego

The Energica Ego, the Italian electric superbike, has been approved for sale and accredited in the United States by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) according to the company.  The Italian electric motorcycle has also gotten certification by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well.

This means the bike is ready to be sold in America and is highway legal.  This can be a major hurdle for new vehicle start-ups so it’s good to see them getting there.  According to the Italian motorcycle company the first batch of Egos are currently in production and most are already sold. Deliveries should begin in the third quarter of 2015.  Priority will be given to Energica Ego45 reservation holders.

Energica recently added three European dealerships to it’s network. It will be interesting to see how they build up the US dealership network.

John McGuinness talks Mugen Shinden & Isle of Man TT Zero [VIDEO]

john mcguinness

Here is a nice video of John McGuiness talking about the Mugen Shinden electric motorcycle and his thoughts on the TT Zero this year.  Also in the video is Colin Whittamore who is the General Manger for Mugen in Europe who talks about the technical aspects and upgrades the Mugen Shiden has seen for this year’s TT Zero race.

John McGuinnes – Mugen Shinden & TT Zero

3 years ago when they approached me with Honda and Mugen, it just seemed to be the right thing to do. You know when we first started, it was snickering about it, laughing about it [electric motorcycles].  You know, it looked like some of the bikes had been built in a shed. You know, a couple of car batteries and electric motors but if you look at the Mugen Shinden which is the 4th evolution of it, it’s a MotoGP basically with an electric motor in it.  So it’s been fun, it’s been challenging, it’s been a slightly different direction for me. It’s an extra ride of the TT, it’s that privilege to ride it really. It’s probably the most exotic electric bike in the world so why would you not want to ride it?  A few people snickering at it saying, “Ohhh, it’s electric!” and this that and the other but we did 117.3mph on it last year. It was a TT win.

Maybe look back in a few years we could be a pit of a pioneer, you never know.  The technology might go into the roads or race teams or whatever. So it’s a moment I’m proud of the last couple years. We cried with them with sadness when Michael beat me to be as good times. It’s fun it’s different, it’s new, I’m all for it.

John McGuiness is well known on the Isle of Man circuit and in the TT Zero, which is a racing class just for electric motorcycles. McGuinness is a veteran of the 37 mile mountain racing circuit which is all on public roads (that are closed off).  That’s why even for seasoned racing professionals the track is difficult.  It’s small tight and doesn’t if you like things smooth racetracks, because on the Isle of Man it’s a real streets.  He’s won 21 different TT titles and trophies and is able to handle any motorcycle whether it be gas or electric with ease.

Last year John McGuinness won on the Mugen Shiden electric motorcycle in the TT Zero, unsurprisingly.  Honda seems to be aiming for another with this year as well.  Since Mugen Shinden translates from Japanese into English as “God of Electricity” and they have a rider like McGuiness we think their chances are good.  The Honda/Mugen Shinden team do have competition in the way of Victory Motorcycles this year using bikes and technology they acquired when they bought Brammo.

Electric Motorcycle Club will keep people updated with TT Zero race results and developments, so stay tuned.

Man rides across Canada on Solar Powered Bike

solar powered bike

A Canadian man from Thunder Bay, Ontario has ridden across Canada on a journey using an interesting vehicle, a solar-powered three-wheeled electric scooter trike.  Rick Small has fitted his homemade electric bike with two trailers fitted with solar panels which power him on his journey across Canada.

The bike features a 500 watt electric motor and is a 48-volt system. The solar panels provide 600 watts of electricity.  It’s not clear how much time it takes charge up the solar bike.

Small has gone nearly 4,350 miles (7,000 kilometers) on his solar powered bike and started off from Victoria, British Columbia in February of this year.  He has been traveling East and is almost at his final stop, St Johns.  He’s been on the road for about 114 days and should reach his destination soon.  His average speed is around 16 miles per hour (27 kilometers per hour) which means he has to ride his solar-powered bike on the side of the road.  Small made the journey from Ontario to British Columbia heading west in 2013.

Rick’s goal is try to get people to start using solar energy more and switch over from using fossil fuels.  I’m impressed with his determination and hope he reaches St. Johns, Canada soon.

[Source – CBC]

Victory Motorcycles first laps at IOM TT Zero average over 100mph

tt zero

Victory Motorcycles and it’s racing arm, Victory Racing, have broken the 100mph average on practice runs for the TT Zero at the Isle of Man with riders Lee Johnston and William Dunlop (he’s part of the Dunlop tire family). Some of you might remember we reported that Victory was entering the Isle of Man TT Zero with slightly reworked Brammo Empulse RR, since Polaris bought our Brammo this year.

Only 3 out of the 6 electric motorcycles in the TT Zero practices runs apparently and it past the finish line.  Both Victory bikes crossed without issue it seems and averaging a 100mph is great speed on the technically challenging Isle of Man circuit.  The other rider to cross the line was the well known rider John McGuinness racing for Honda on the Mugen Shinden.

The government of the Isle of Man initially offered a $15,000 US dollars (£10,000 British pounds) prize to the first team that could break the 100mph average on an electric bike.  Michael Rutter racing for MotoCzysz achieved a 104.056 mph average with a track time of 22 minutes and 23.97 seconds back in 2012.

Having the technically experience of Brammo’s electric motorcycles with the cash backing of Polaris seems like a plus for Victory Racing.  If you want to get more details and learn more about the Victory bikes in the Isle of Man TT Zero you can read the official press release below.

Victory Racing breaks the 100mph average lap speed barrier on its first TT Zero practice session [Press Release]

· Dunlop and Johnston achieve greater than 100mph laps

· First ever lap of the TT course for Victory’s electric bike

· Further technical insights revealed by the team

Victory Racing has successfully run its two electric bikes in the first practice session ahead of the TT Zero race. Six racers set out on the practice, but only three crossed the line with two of those being the Victory machines. Getting both bikes back across the line and breaking past 100mph laps on Victory’s first ever attempt at the TT is a promising start.

William Dunlop and Lee Johnston rode one lap of the course, achieving average lap speeds of 104.185mph and 105.185mph respectively. Both riders also achieved 140mph through the Sulby speed trap – testament to the GVM Parker electric motor installed in the machine. This means that Victory is now the third electric bike team to ride over a 100mph lap, something made extra special by doing this on their first ever time around the course. Dunlop completed his lap in 21:43.717 minutes while Johnston was 12 seconds faster, crossing the line after 21:31.322 minutes.

Team manager Brian Wismann (also head of Brammo product development) said this first ever ride of the course by Victory Racing follows a trouble-free week of testing at Jurby. “We are really pleased with our first lap of the TT course,” he said. “Both riders executed clean laps to bring a pair of 100mph+ laps on our first attempt. The reliability of the bikes has been a strong suit for us so far at the TT, with very few technical problems arising. I think this will continue to be a key to being able to translate practice results to race results when it counts.”

Following this first TT Zero practice session, William Dunlop and Lee Johnston were in extremely high spirits. Both said the bikes were extremely stable and coped well with the lumps and bumps of the TT course, something they hadn’t been able to replicate in testing.

Lee Johnston said as he climbed off the bike: “That was just mint. It feels so stable, it’s unbelievable. It’s just so peaceful. No revving.” Asked what the stand out memory from his lap was, he said: “I think just the peace and quiet and riding over the mountain, no noise and seeing the sunset. Everything’s just mint on the bike and I’m ready to go and do more.” Lee also joked: “There were load of people waving iPhones at me when I was out on the course – I wondered if they wanted me to recharge them.”

William Dunlop was equally happy with the bike saying that: “It was surprisingly good, it really was, and I’m not just saying that. It was good to just go out and not have wrestle something with 200hp around.”

The next TT Zero practice session will be on Saturday June 6th with the third and final practice session on Monday June 8th . The TT Zero race takes place at 10:45am on Wednesday June 10th.

TECHNICAL INSIGHTS

Following these promising results, Victory Racing has also revealed more technical insights in to the electric bikes.

The bike has two Brammo batteries that sit on top of one another and they actually form part of the bike’s structure. These batteries sit between a twin-spar aluminium frame with Ohlins suspension connecting the swingarm to the top of the batteries. While Brammo has created the batteries, the electric motor is made by Parker, joining Victory Racing’s TT effort under the name of Parker Racing.

The configuration of the Parker GVM motor and the swingarm is unique too. On conventional petrol-fuelled bikes the swingarm pivot point is behind the engine, but on these electric bikes, the swingarm pivot point is in front of the motor. The bikes have chains and sprockets, but the chain is set tighter than on conventional motorcycles because there is so much torque from the Parker GVM motor.

The wheels are forged magnesium, made by OZ Racing and mounted onto Ohlins forks with World Superbike-spec Brembo brakes. The rider’s display is a Motech ADL3, which also records all of the data from the electrical system.

Victory Racing has also announced that the bikes have an in-built energy recovery system, with the rate of this recovery configurable. Interestingly, Lee likes to run his recovery setting some 30% less than William’s. As Brian Wismann explains: “This is all down to riding style and how each rider prefers to get the chassis set for the entry to the corner. William prefers the regenerative braking to be higher to help slow his entry speed.”

Victory Racing has also announced that the electric bike has actually been developed for short circuit racing, so the longer 37-mile length of the TT course poses a greater challenge for setting the bike up for the race. While there are the two Brammo batteries linked to the Parker GVM electric motor, extra ‘boost modules’ can be added or taken away from the bike. Brian explains: “Here at the TT we are running the highest number of boost modules that we can carry. With these on board we can make 165bhp at the rear wheel. The bike in its TT configuration weighs around 220kg, but in its short circuit configuration drops to 209kg.”

Part of the challenge, says Brian Wismann, is to get the maximum amount of power from the batteries and boost modules while making sure the bike has enough electrical energy to get around the course.

Sway, cool Electric Motorcycle trike on Shark Tank [VIDEO]

sway shark tank

It was recently brought to my attention that a super cool and awesome electric motorcycle was on the season finale of the hit ABC show Shark Tank.  The electric trike is called a Sway and it looks like one of the coolest vehicle designs I’ve seen in a long time.  Check out this video of the Sway.

Sway Motorsports – Video

Looks totally awesome right? Can anyone tell me they don’t want one? I’ve never seen this thing in person, have no idea of the range, if it works well, and I already totally want to go buy it!

The Sway looks like an incredibly well designed trike and the concept seems interesting.  It reminds me of a Can-Am Spyder but this is a lot more innovative and of course it’s and electric trike, meaning you don’t need to spend any money on gas.

The inventor of the sway, Joe Wilcox, used to work for Ideo which is a major a design consultancy firm.  It seems the Sway has been his pet project for awhile and he was searching for an investment on Shark Tank. You can watch the Shark Tank episode with the Sway right here.

Editor’s Note – I have no idea how long this video will be up.

Sway – Shark Tank

If you are not familiar with the show Shark Tank it is a TV show where entrepreneurs and people with innovative small businesses go into the the “Shark Tank” to pitch investors flush with cash on putting money into their company or idea.  The investors are known as “Sharks” and they figure out if a potential idea or company is worth investing in by asking questions and prodding the entrepreneurs in the Tank to understand what the service or product is all about and it’s potential.

Shark Tank is a copy of a British TV show called Dragon’s Den, which is actually a remake of a show that from Japan. Kind of odd actually since Japanese are a bit risk averse and entrepreneurship is viewed differently in Japan.

Anyway, Joe Wilcox was looking for an investment of $300,000 for a 10% stake in Sway.  Most of the Sharks were extremely impressed with Joe and the design of the Sway electric scooter trike.  Who wouldn’t be? What I found odd is Nick Woodman, the inventor of GoPro, was a guest Shark and he was not keen on investing but liked the idea of the Sway.  He thought Joe would have better luck going it on his own since that’s what he did with GoPro.  That’s probably for the better since Woodman clearly knows nothing about building vehicles.

Of course he did make the smart point in the episode that the market for the Sway is really people who already are inclined to ride a motorcycle or scooter.  People who believe the are dangerous won’t just jump on a Sway.  Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, interjected, “In San Francisco, are you kidding me? Every little tech kid [will want one].”  I have to agree with Nick Woodman that it’s unlikely people who are not interested in two-wheeled transportation will look at the Sway and would buy one.  The best market would be people who have owned a motorcycle or scooter but might be looking for something with more stability and safety.  Also as Cuban said tech kids with cash to spare would want one.

What was interesting about this episode is that all the Sharks said they were “out” meaning they would not invest.  Just as Joe Wilcox was leaving he started talking and engaging with Mark Cuban.  Cuban was still intrigued and said, “Make me an offer.”  Then Wilcox decided to throw out a $300,000 for a 20% stake in the company and Cuban accepted.  First time I’ve seen an entrepreneur secure money after everyone said “No” on Shark Tank.

It should be noted that one of the Shark Tank judges/panelists/investors is Lori Greiner.  I am mentioning this because Lori Greiner is a judge in the Internet Official contest and ElectricMotorcycleClub.com is a first prize finalist.  We assume that she voted for our domain and will in the grand prize voting round.  We also hope everyone else will vote for us when voting opens up on June 12th.  🙂

Sway’s Prospects

If you saw the first above video you would have learned that Sway Motorsports is working with Govecs, which is well known and established electric scooter manufacturer in Europe.  I think partnering with another company that has the technical expertise and manufacturing capability is a smart move.

Wilcox saying that you don’t need a motorcycle license to ride one might be a bit misleading and the Sway website it says;

License requirements will vary by municipality. We recommend checking your state laws regarding three-wheeled electric motorcycles before reserving your Sway. Sway can also be registered as a motorcycle. In California you do not need a motorcycle license to ride Sway, just a driver’s license.

There are two models of the sway;

  • Sway Lithium ($7,999) – 40 city mile range, 5kw motor, and a 55 mph top speed
  • Sway Lithium Plus ($10,999) – 60 miles city/40 miles highway, 8kw motor, 70 mph top speed

If you want the Sway Lithium or Lithium Plus you’ll have to deposit $500. 

The Sway Lithium Plus is clearly a highway vehicle which means in most circumstances you’ll need a motorcycle license to ride one in a majority of states.  The Sway Lithium sounds like it will only be for urban use.  I should mention that a lot of states have helmet laws for scooters and motorcycles (in case you didn’t want to use one with the Sway.)  Even Joe Wilcox wore one on his Shark Tank entrance.

In the Shark Tank episode Wilcox said he had spent $100,000-$200,000 to get to where he is.  For vehicle design and manufacturing that’s peanuts.  If he can make it that far with that amount of money I’m sure Sway can utilize the $300,000 from Mark Cuban well and they have a Govecs as a partner which works in their favor.

The better plan might be looking into partnering with companies that want to use the mechanical Sway system as well as the packaging of the battery, motor controller, and electric motor into the compact platform.  I’m sure there are companies that would license the technology.

I personally like the Sway and the idea behind it and believe it will be successful and come to market.  It’s priced right for something that will likely be one of many vehicles for someone who likes having interesting vehicles that gets people talking. We hope to see many Sway trikes out on the roads soon and hopefully the author will riding one.

Ted Dillard crowdfunding for “History of Electric Motorcycles” book

history of electric motorcycles

If you are into electric motorcycles you are probably familiar with the excellent work of Ted Dillard, who runs and writes The Electric Chronicles.  Ted also writes about the electric motorcycle industry and electric vehicles on InsideEVs.

The Electric Motorcycle Club recently learned that Ted is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise money for a new book he wants to write about the history of the electric bikes.  The official title is “Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles” and it sounds like a great project.  His goal is to compile the most complete and historically accurate book about the timeline of the industry up until this point.  Part of the description from the campaign page;

The story of electric motorcycles is the story of scientific research, technological innovation and the confluence of technologies.  …but it’s another story too.  It’s the story of how the power delivery of a high-performance, no-compromise, pure-electric drivetrain can redefine transportation, motorsports and the perception of renewable energy.  It’s the story of power in flux.

Join me on a very personal journey within this small community of innovators – from industry leaders to garage mechanics – to experience how a revolution in motorsports – as well as technology and innovation – happens.

Ted isn’t just looking to write a book about the history of electric motorcycles though.  As he puts it, “So this book isn’t just about the recent history of electric motorcycles, however exciting that is.  The book is taking a really close look at how innovation happens.  How technological developments happen. How people think about things differently from a different perspective and how the various different pieces of technology reach the same point at the same time for this critical mass to happen.”

Sounds pretty cool to us.  To get a better idea of the book for yourself, here is the video that he posted on the the Kickstarter campaign page to try to crowdfund the money for the book.

History of Electric Motorcycles

As I write this there are currently 28 backers who have pitched in a total of almost $3,500 dollars.  The funding goal for the book project is $10,000 and the campaign only started three days ago.  Most people are aware that crowdfunding campaigns are not easy, so it’s great to see that the electric motorcycle community has rallied for Ted’s book.  He’s gotten over 30% of the funding goal in an extremely short period of time of three days.  He apparently got almost $3,000 within 24 hours of the campaign launching, which means 25% of the project was funded.  We are sure he’ll be able to reach get the $10,000 he’s looking for.

Why exactly do you need money for writing a book though? Ted does a great job of explaining;

Where does the money go? Most of it will go into printing costs, but a portion of it will help me devote more of my freelance writing and editing time on this project. It’s a labor of love, but like any full-time profession, writers have to keep the wolf from the door too. Photographers, artists and other contributors will be paid for their work as well.

I’ve allowed a year for this project to reach completion – 6 months for preparing the manuscript, and 6 months for the production – design, layout and printing.

Your support will let me give this project the full attention it deserves, and make it what I know it can be – the definitive story of a remarkable time of exploration and innovation.

It should be noted that this campaign is NOT a flexible funding project.  That means that if Ted doesn’t raise the $10,000 he is looking for, he won’t get any of the money.  A lot of campaigns do flexible funding but Ted has decided to not go this route which I think is smart actually.  I imagine the reason is because he feels like if he doesn’t get the $10,000 he won’t be able to devote enough time and resources to writing the book to the best of his abilities.  He could very well raise more than $10 grand though.

If you are interested in pitching for the History of Electric Motorcycles book you can back the project until July 1st, which should give you plenty of time.  We hope that Ted Dillard raises the full $10,000 to make the book happen and we look forward to reading it when it is released.

If you want a copy of The History of Electric Motorcycles;

  • $20 – Gets you a PDF copy
  • $75 – Soft cover limited edition, full color and full sized book
  • $150 – Hard-cover, full color book

There are a few other funding level pledges but we assume these are the three most people will opt for.

Funny to see so many people crowdfunding these days. We recently wrote about Neal Saiki crowdfunding for his electric bicycle venture, who founded Zero Motorcycles.   Interested side note is that Ted wrote about the campaign on the Electric Chronicles but not InsideEVs. I guess they must have some sort of editorial conflict-of-interest policy.

If you do pitch in to help Ted Dillard with the The History of Electric Motorcycles book, can you come back and let us know what level of supporter you were?  Also tell us why you gave money to see this book become a reality and what information you’d like to see in it.