Here’s one more example illustrating the growing fleet of homebuilt electric motorcycles, this one is based on a 1984 Honda Interceptor frame. The builder bought a non runner on eBay and proceeded to pull the engine and install an electric motor, controller and batteries. The end result is a bike with a bit over 70 mph top speed but only about a 10 mile range, luckily, he only rides 3 miles to work. He describes the build process and says the total cost is around $3000.
Without a doubt, the short range makes this impractical for almost everybody unless they’re using it specifically, as he is, for a very short range commute. On the other hand, it shows building an electric motorcycle is not terribly complex and lots of bikers are willing to put one together. Better batteries are the key and all of the efforts to build practical electric cars may get motorcycle builders what they need sooner rather than later.
In the last week or so the Chevy Volt has been in the news which GM’s Bob Lutz wants to get in production by 2010 but they have a problem, a problem motorcycles don’t have, … electric accessories.
Cars have things like windshield wipers and washers, power seats and heated seats, power windows plus power locks, air conditioning, ventilating fans, defrosters, that high power stereo, interior lighting, … the list goes on and on. With an internal combustion engine, you can generate as much electricity as you need but what if batteries are all you have? Which of those items do you want to do without?
With motorcycles, that list, for the most part, goes away and the batteries convert power to motion, nothing more. With an electric car, you have to give up your usual conveniences or the price of the car goes way up as more batteries are added. I look at this as the electric motorcycle advantage, the car companies are working overtime to improve batteries, motorcycle builders can work on improving motors and controllers, the batteries will be along shortly.
Thanks to Bryant for the tip on this build.