Quantcast

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
what with gas prices and this being a biking site, bikes being in and of themselves a form of alternative personal transportation, i thought the lounge could use a semi-perennial thread on the same.

what this thread is for: discussion and information of ways to get around town or the country that are more efficient than their alternatives. the scale can be anything from a powered set of skate shoes to a massive SUV, provided that it meets the condition stated above.

here are a few examples to start gleaned from previous threads centered around particular products such as the Enertia:


Stokemonkey. http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/

bike + Xtracycle + batteries + electric motor. about $1200 + batteries. one big downside of the Stokemonkey is that the extra length makes carrying the bike on public transit (bus racks in particular) a pain if not impossible.

generic electric bicycle (they're probably all cranked out by the same factory in china).
here's the electric bike page of a shop in portland, Scoot on This: http://www.scootonthis.com/prod_bikes_e.html . here's a more general listing of electric bike dealers that looks very 1990s-era, just missing the rainbow colored div lines: http://www.electric-bikes.com/buying/index.html

bike + batteries + weaksauce electric motor. the upside is that you can go anywhere a regular bike could go with some electric assist, including on bus bike racks. the downside is that these models are generally styled and have the ergonomics and weight of cruisers rather than higher performance machines. i wonder at what length of ride or level of rider fitness it becomes more efficient to commute on a light road bike rather than on a heavy electric bike + assist.

 
Last edited:

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
31,165
4,420
Portland, OR
My DH bike doesn't fit well on the bus racks, but I can make it fit enough to keep it from falling off. A few drivers have not been happy because the rear tire doesn't sit all the way in.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
electric scooters, again probably all from the same factory in china. i would not trust their construction or claimed mileage figures one bit without a thorough inspection in person.

that same portland shop that sells electric bikes sells scooters:

example: Zap 3000W scooter. http://www.scootonthis.com/prod_2w.html

$3000. 3000W is 4 hp. claimed 30 mph speed with 30 mile range.

 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
converted motorcycles such as jimmydean has posted about before:

The El Ninja. http://www.electric-bikes.com/motor/ninja.html

another build it yourself project: in "El Ninja Commuter" configuration would cost $1700-2000 (depending on whether you wanted to have an on board charger) + the cost of the donor Kawasaki Ninja + the cost of your time to build and troubleshoot the thing. claimed "15+ hp" at 48 volts and 450 amps. yikes, that's a lot of current! the commuter configuration runs the motor at 60 volts, with a ~40 mile range and 0-30 mph in 6 seconds.

 

stoney

Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
15,841
2,085
Colorado
That's why I ride the bus one day, put 2 suits with 3-5 shirts and ties into my closet at work. Ride three-five days, then ride the bus the day after I run out of shirts to replenish. I rotate through my suits at work so I constantly have three - one on, two in the closet.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
"real" electric motorcycles and scooters:

as can be seen from the sundry and shoddy offerings above the market is ripe for a pre-made electric bike that has verified performance and range stats and which does not offer the owner the chance to inadvertently run 450 amps through his chest wall when wiring the thing up (or, god forbid, when crashing it).

wikipedia page on electric motorcycles and scooters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_motorcycles_and_scooters . the ones that i find most interesting are the Vectrix and the Enertia.


Vectrix electric scooter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vectrix and http://www.vectrix.com/US/index.html

unclear cost: some have said 11,000 Euros, others $11k USD. 0-30 km/h in 6.8 seconds, top speed over 100 km/h, best case range of 68 miles at 40 km/h. 125 volt, 3.7 kW-hour NiMH battery pack that should last for 10 years, with a $3k replacement cost. charges to 80% in two hours.

 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
Brammo Enertia, www.enertiabike.com

$12k for the initial model, expected to come down to $6k. 3.1 kWh worth of lithium phosphate batteries rated for 20k miles. range of 45+ miles, 45+ mph top speed. coming out this year.

one thing i wonder about with the Vectrix and Enertia is how one would recharge it at work: just run a really long extension cable out to the parking lot? :D
or see the ridemonkey thread named "enertia bike" :D
 

Ciaran

Fear my banana
Apr 5, 2004
9,844
11
So Cal
The scooters and the bikes are all well and good but there is no way in hell that I am going to ride/drive to work through southern california traffic on two wheels. Sorry, but motorcycles and variants of motorcycles are right out.

Got anything with doors, Toshi?
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
That's why I ride the bus one day, put 2 suits with 3-5 shirts and ties into my closet at work. Ride three-five days, then ride the bus the day after I run out of shirts to replenish. I rotate through my suits at work so I constantly have three - one on, two in the closet.
that's a good system. i just cram clinic clothes into my giant camelbak transalp and hope for the best. :D

more seriously, however, i find bike commuting to be very unpleasant during the winter what with frost, snow, ice, extended periods of darkness during commute hours, and the cold itself, of course. i'd be much happier bundled up on an electric jitney (i know that i'm misuing the term, heh) in those conditions than on my bike.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
The scooters and the bikes are all well and good but there is no way in hell that I am going to ride/drive to work through southern california traffic on two wheels. Sorry, but motorcycles and variants of motorcycles are right out.

Got anything with doors, Toshi?
doors are coming up!

first one other motorcycle, albeit not an electric. this one runs on diesel, and if one would run it on biodiesel then it'd be a sound environmental proposition.

Hayes Diversified Technologies MD670F Bulldog. http://news.windingroad.com/motorcycles/hayes-diversified-technologies-md670f-bulldog-real-fuel-mileage/

based off a Kawasaki, was developed for the Marine Corps, and now is coming to the public. unknown cost, out in 2009 reputedly. 369 lbs, over 90 mph top speed, "close to 100 mpg".

 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
the smallest and wussiest kind of alternative conveyance with doors has to be the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, or NEV. NEV's are regulated to 25-35 mph depending on your neighborhood, and are not crash tested to car standards despite their appearance. they're also not very cheap considering what you get. on the other hand they're out now, and i've even seen a few tooling around seattle neighborhoods.

wikipedia NEV page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neighborhood_electric_vehicle

an example is the Dynasty EV NEV: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynasty_EV and http://www.itiselectric.com/section.asp?secid=53&uid=242

with doors starts at $19k. range "up to 40 miles" per the manufacturer, up to 30 miles per wikipedia. weight of 1450 lbs, top speed regulated to 25 mph. seems an answer to a question no one was asking.

 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
the Aptera Typ-1:
http://www.aptera.com/ or google "aptera"

available in California only to start out. $30k. both all-electric and plug-in series hybrid models to be offered. the hybrid model's efficiency decays asymptotically, with ~300 mpg at 120 miles from last charge. crash tested.



 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
31,165
4,420
Portland, OR
doors are coming up!

first one other motorcycle, albeit not an electric. this one runs on diesel, and if one would run it on biodiesel then it'd be a sound environmental proposition.

Hayes Diversified Technologies MD670F Bulldog. http://news.windingroad.com/motorcycles/hayes-diversified-technologies-md670f-bulldog-real-fuel-mileage/

based off a Kawasaki, was developed for the Marine Corps, and now is coming to the public. unknown cost, out in 2009 reputedly. 369 lbs, over 90 mph top speed, "close to 100 mpg".

Ok, that's awesome. I have been looking at a diesel option for my next project, but settled on E85 because of the immediate availability of fuel and engine conversion. Diesel motorcycles are rare, but there are a few.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
the last type of vehicle i'll spew about in this update (more to come as more vehicles are introduced) is the Plug-in hybrid, or plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug_in_hybrid

a PHEV-30 vehicle has a range of 30 miles on the battery, PHEV-10 has 10 mile range, etc. the holy grail is thought to be a PHEV-40, as most commutes are less than 40 miles round trip.

currently there are no plug-in hybrids commercially available. people have hacked together their own plug-in Priuses and the like, but i don't trust their construction or claims any more than those of the electric motorcycle crew.

however, toyota is developing a plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt is going to be a plug-in series hybrid a la the Aptera above (only without the crazy packaging and aerodynamic advantages/disadvantages), and even Saturn is getting in the act with a PHEV-10 version of the Vue Green Line.



while these commercial plug-in hybrids have less extraordinary performance and range claims than the homebrew models above i think they're a better option for the populace for many reasons:

a) people are too lazy to build their own gear
b) people are incapable of troubleshooting their own gear
c) people will electrocute themselves playing with batteries
d) builders have every incentive to inflate their performance claims, and independent verification is hard to find in an insular community
e) "real" vehicles are crash tested
f) "real" vehicles are insurable
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
Ok, that's awesome. I have been looking at a diesel option for my next project, but settled on E85 because of the immediate availability of fuel and engine conversion. Diesel motorcycles are rare, but there are a few.
i don't remember where i read it but there was a road test of the marine corps-spec version a few weeks ago. supposedly pulled like a tank but had a ~3 sec lag between roll-on and power. :busted:

Ciaran, i realize it won't change your opinion but one HUGE advantage of motorcycles in california is the ability to legally lane-split traffic...
 

Ciaran

Fear my banana
Apr 5, 2004
9,844
11
So Cal
i don't remember where i read it but there was a road test of the marine corps-spec version a few weeks ago. supposedly pulled like a tank but had a ~3 sec lag between roll-on and power. :busted:

Ciaran, i realize it won't change your opinion but one HUGE advantage of motorcycles in california is the ability to legally lane-split traffic...
It's the other drivers I worry about. I don't know about the PNW but most hospital workers in SoCal have nicknames for motorcycle riders. And they are not good. :dead:

While I do enjoy riding motorcycles (when I get the chance), commuting on one increases the odds of me being killed to high for me and my wife to accept. I have lost friends and relatives on motorcycles to the carelesness of other drivers. (As well as to their own carelessness)

Now those biodiesel cars really have me saying "Hmmmmmm". They look very interesting.

Great thread by the way :thumb:
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
31,165
4,420
Portland, OR
Ciaran, i realize it won't change your opinion but one HUGE advantage of motorcycles in california is the ability to legally lane-split traffic...
Man, if I could lane split, that would be AWESOME.

Also, there is a great article by a writer of Sport Rider magazine that talks about commuting in Southern California for over 10 years without issue and how to survive doing it (aggressive + smart riding).
 

BIGHITR

WINNING!
Nov 14, 2007
1,086
0
Maryland, east coast.
Gas prices soaring to $4.50 this summer! I'm fed up with the U.S. auto manufacts and the gov for not forcing electric vehicles and tech ten years ago when gas was going from .99cents to a buck fifty!

The GM Volt sounds like a nice car but GM will probably put a $35K tag on it so it won't economical to buy one. Remember, every time you plug in, charging is going to jack your electric bill sky high. No one has stated how much yet to compare with gas prices. Is it going to be $500 more a month? If so, I want alcohol or natural gas vehicles. Ticks me off Big Oil has us by the scrotum. Just burns me up.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
It's the other drivers I worry about. I don't know about the PNW but most hospital workers in SoCal have nicknames for motorcycle riders. And they are not good. :dead:

While I do enjoy riding motorcycles (when I get the chance), commuting on one increases the odds of me being killed to high for me and my wife to accept. I have lost friends and relatives on motorcycles to the carelesness of other drivers. (As well as to their own carelessness)

Now those biodiesel cars really have me saying "Hmmmmmm". They look very interesting.

Great thread by the way :thumb:
yeah, i don't want to be a squid, either. my deal with the gf is that i'm allowed to motorcycle commute but not in snow or ice, and not on the freeway. since we can't lane split in [wherever i'll end up, which doesn't include cali in the possibilities] i'm ok with that.


here's another "green" vehicle in the sense that it gets really high fuel economy:

2009(?) VW Golf Diesel/TDI Hybrid. http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/06/autos/volkswagen_diesel_hybrid/?postversion=2008030715 and http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/03/04/geneva-2008-miserly-vw-golf-tdi-hybrid-concept-uses-1-2l-3-cyli/ or google "golf diesel hybrid"

69.9 mpg (US gallons -- many places quote mileage figures for euro cars in Imperial gallons, which are 1.25x the american figure). for comparison the Prius gets 54 mpg on the same european test. unknown price. 1.2 liter (!) TDI diesel, 74 hp, plus a 26.6 hp/103 lb-ft electric assist. 7 speed DSG. extra aerodynamic bits as compared to the usual Golf. meets Tier 2/Bin 5 emissions. i'm in love.

4/30/08 update: the VW Golf TDI Hybrid has been canceled before it even reached a production line. too expensive. grr.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
29,500
2,999
Gas prices soaring to $4.50 this summer! I'm fed up with the U.S. auto manufacts and the gov for not forcing electric vehicles and tech ten years ago when gas was going from .99cents to a buck fifty!

The GM Volt sounds like a nice car but GM will probably put a $35K tag on it so it won't economical to buy one. Remember, every time you plug in, charging is going to jack your electric bill sky high. No one has stated how much yet to compare with gas prices. Is it going to be $500 more a month? If so, I want alcohol or natural gas vehicles. Ticks me off Big Oil has us by the scrotum. Just burns me up.
no one is sure about the effective mpg of the Volt since it's not out yet, but for what it's worth, calculating the mileage in terms of money for the Tesla works out to be ~130 mpg. i don't have a source off hand, but that info should be easily attainable.

UPDATE: i don't know where i got this 130 mpg figure. :D Tesla claims 400 mpg equivalent, but that's an energy conversion, not a conversion based on the price of electricity vs. gasoline.

fear not: electric cars should save your pocketbook in addition to lowering CO2 output. (yes, even with our current mix of coal based powerplants, and especially for people like me in the pac nw where hydroelectric or wind provides the bulk of power.)
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
39,459
6,148
Sleazattle
Gas prices soaring to $4.50 this summer! I'm fed up with the U.S. auto manufacts and the gov for not forcing electric vehicles and tech ten years ago when gas was going from .99cents to a buck fifty!

The GM Volt sounds like a nice car but GM will probably put a $35K tag on it so it won't economical to buy one. Remember, every time you plug in, charging is going to jack your electric bill sky high. No one has stated how much yet to compare with gas prices. Is it going to be $500 more a month? If so, I want alcohol or natural gas vehicles. Ticks me off Big Oil has us by the scrotum. Just burns me up.
From the reading I have done the operating costs of an electric car should be about 1/10th the cost of a gas car that gets 30mpg.
 

skunkty14

Monkey
May 29, 2007
175
0
Interesting thread, some cool vehicles posted.

I'm wondering if Toshi or anyone is interested in bringing environmental concerns into this discussion; reason I ask is why electric vehicles look great on the outside, the reality is that most of our electric generation comes from sources that present the same environemental issues are burning gas on a conventional car.

IMO exploring electric and hybrid alternatives are a great first step, but until we can address the energy generation issues, we're taking a half step forward, half step sideways but still reaching the same end result.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,701
290
VT
IMO exploring electric and hybrid alternatives are a great first step, but until we can address the energy generation issues, we're taking a half step forward, half step sideways but still reaching the same end result.
Efficiency and regulation is better at the powerplant than ICE in your vehicle so its a step forward regardless...
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
39,459
6,148
Sleazattle
Interesting thread, some cool vehicles posted.

I'm wondering if Toshi or anyone is interested in bringing environmental concerns into this discussion; reason I ask is why electric vehicles look great on the outside, the reality is that most of our electric generation comes from sources that present the same environemental issues are burning gas on a conventional car.

IMO exploring electric and hybrid alternatives are a great first step, but until we can address the energy generation issues, we're taking a half step forward, half step sideways but still reaching the same end result.
Although the majority of electricity is made from fossil fuels a significant portion is Nuclear, hydro and from waste sources like methane from landfills. Powerplants also tend to be more efficient energy producers. Electric plants also offer the possibily for renewable energy in the form of wind and solar that can not really be taken advantage of in a vehicle.
 

geargrrl

Turbo Monkey
May 2, 2002
2,379
1
pnw -dry side
here's another "green" vehicle in the sense that it gets really high fuel economy:

2009(?) VW Golf Diesel/TDI Hybrid. http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/06/autos/volkswagen_diesel_hybrid/?postversion=2008030715 and http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/03/04/geneva-2008-miserly-vw-golf-tdi-hybrid-concept-uses-1-2l-3-cyli/ or google "golf diesel hybrid"

69.9 mpg (US gallons -- many places quote mileage figures for euro cars in Imperial gallons, which are 1.25x the american figure). for comparison the Prius gets 54 mpg on the same european test. unknown price. 1.2 liter (!) TDI diesel, 74 hp, plus a 26.6 hp/103 lb-ft electric assist. 7 speed DSG. extra aerodynamic bits as compared to the usual Golf. meets Tier 2/Bin 5 emissions. i'm in love.

Does it come with the same crappy reliability and high maintenance expense as the rest of VW's line?
 

dan-o

Turbo Monkey
Jun 30, 2004
6,509
2,803
Does it come with the same crappy reliability and high maintenance expense as the rest of VW's line?
Come on, be fair. Just because VW can't keep both tail lights working doesn't mean they can't develop a complex diesel-electric powerplant.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
31,165
4,420
Portland, OR
Still my personal favorite:



This chopper, looks like it’s powered by a 124 cubic inch S&S V twin, but the engine has actually been gutted and the whole bike has been built with batteries and electric motors in place of the usual gas powered components.

Big Bear Choppers and Hybrid Technologies teamed up to build this bike which has a Baker six speed transmission and will go 80mph. If you look at the engine, everything seems normal but even the carb has been hollowed out and actually functions as an air scoop to direct cooling air to the electric motor.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
Man, if I could lane split, that would be AWESOME.
I do, at stoplights, when there's a safe and open place to go... like making a right turn when there's no dedicated turn lane, but plenty of margin.
I don't care if y'all laugh at me, but I want one! :D

Between my wife's 4wd, snow tired Jeep, my motorcycle, my bicycles, and that, we'd be set. PLUS, it would free up room in our garage -- which is packed now.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
31,165
4,420
Portland, OR
Neander Turbo Diesel Motorcycle:


They designed a new diesel engine with the idea of low weight and vibration as goals, the result is a twin counter-rotating crankshaft design that looks like they might have come up with a winner.

They’ve built a vertical parallel twin cylinder diesel, which would be plagued with far too much vibration in the configuration and displacement chosen, yet the counter rotating crankshafts all but cancel the majority of the vibration.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
31,165
4,420
Portland, OR
ThunderStar 1200 TDI


Highly respected consultancy company AVL's simulation tests suggest their deisel motorcycle would outperform a Suzuki GSX1400, Yamaha XJ1300, Kwaka ZRX1200R or Honda CB1300.
<edit> Holy crap! This bike can be run on biodiesel without issue.

The output is 95bhp and 162 foot pounds in a race setting with fuel consumption at 85 miles per gallon. Reducing power to 70bhp and 118 foot pounds yields 117 miles per gallon!
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
31,165
4,420
Portland, OR
Lightning Lithium Superbike: No Emissions
0-60 in 3 seconds




Unlike the Tesla electric sport car, which is powered by thousands of tiny batteries, the R1 conversion uses just 28. Each of them is 90 amp-hours at 3.2 volts and 6.6 pounds. Together, they weigh less than everything that was taken off the bike to make it electric. While the majority of the batteries are concentrated in a Mondrian-esque block where the engine used to be, they're also tucked under the seat where the exhaust was once located, to mimic the weight distribution of a stock R1.