Tank Sports, another one of the many, many Chinese motorcycle companies we’ll be hearing a lot more about in the near future, has tested both a 150cc and 250cc version of their motorcycles for use with E85 ethanol.
After 7 months of research and development along with 3000km of road testing, Tank quality control has inspected and the research results in aspects of technology, safety measures, and performance,” said Tank CEO Jiangyong Ji. “We have verified that the core development process has been completed, and the second stage of testing will commence, including 5000 km of road testing.
Tank’s goal is to bring the E85 ethanol fueled units into the U.S. and international market by August of 2007.
Whether or not there is a huge demand or need for E85 capable motorcycles, it seems to me that testing and approving motorcycle engines for use with the alternative fuel would be a good marketing move, if nothing else. Many flex fuel cars today are able to fill up with either gasoline or ethanol and why at least some motorcycle companies haven’t done that already is a little surprising. A company like Honda, for instance, whose Gold Wing would be a natural and probably easily configured for E85, could get a jump on their competitors and gain a few points with some potential customers. Perhaps some companies already approve of E85 but I haven’t heard of it and it is surely not well advertised if those bikes are out there.
Tank Sports is probably trying to differentiate themselves from all of the other Chinese brands by doing this and it may get their name out there for a while so it’s a good move on their part. Will other companies begin the flex fuel certification process? Stay tuned.