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Honda CB200 Modified Into An Electric Motorcycle

By General Posts

by Arun Prakash from https://www.rushlane.com

The electric powertrain of the modified Honda CB200 has fitted onto a stylish aluminum enclosure

Manufacturing EVs from scratch is an uphill task in itself but it is a whole new level of challenge when one has to convert a vehicle already fitted with an IC engine. We have earlier witnessed such projects being undertaken in four-wheelers such as Land Rovers and VW Beetles but this time an electric powertrain has been fitted into a motorcycle.

An aftermarket workshop named Omega Motors, based out of San Francisco in USA, has converted a 1975 Honda CB200 into an electric motorcycle. The donor model back in 1970s and 80s was a hot-selling retro-style motorcycle with a cafe racer design. The makers of this modified prototype haven’t tried to alter the design of the motorcycle in any way.

Updated Styling
Rechristened as Omega EV200, it still retains a part-scrambler and part-cafe racer design with round headlamps, single-piece ripped seat and wire-spoke wheels lending it a retro appeal. The electric CB200 gets refurbished front forks, wheels and brakes while retaining the cable-actuated front brake and rear drum brake.

Subtle modifications have been made to the chassis in order to incorporate a battery and electric motor setup. The frame has been shortened and the welded-in rear fender has been chopped off.

The pillion footpegs have also been removed while a small part of its spine has also been cut in order to weld a mounting plate for the controller. Interestingly, the motor mounts from the original bike have been left intact while the new battery pack and electric motor are attached via a set of custom mounting plates.

Specs & Features
Speaking of specifications, the motorcycle has been fitted with an electric motor sourced from Golden Motor and raed to produce 5kW (6.7 bhp) of continuous supply and peak power of 10kW (13.4 bhp). This motor feeds energy of a 1.6 kWh battery pack specifically designed and built for Omega EV200. Omega has also added a Kelly Controls controller which has been packaged neatly under the modified fuel tank and seat.

Coming to its performance, numbers are fairly modest with a top speed of 60mph (96.5 kmph). However, the electric bike weighs only 111 kilos which is 22 percent lighter than the stock CB200. The motorcycle offers a riding range of only 48 km on a single charge while charging the battery takes five to eight hours.

There isn’t much to offer in terms of features but Omega has got the stock analogue speedometer and switches working. Most importantly the clutch lever has been repurposed to work as an analogue regenerative braking control. The most attractive addition is a small digital display to reveal battery-related information which has been covered with the same piece of leather as the custom seat.

Why shortages of a $1 chip sparked crisis in the global economy

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by Bloomberg from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

The chip crunch was born out of an understandable miscalculation as the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. When Covid-19 began spreading from China to the rest of the world, many companies anticipated people would cut back as times got tough.

To understand why the $450 billion semiconductor industry has lurched into crisis, a helpful place to start is a one-dollar part called a display driver.

Hundreds of different kinds of chips make up the global silicon industry, with the flashiest ones from Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. going for $100 apiece to more than $1,000. Those run powerful computers or the shiny smartphone in your pocket. A display driver is mundane by contrast: Its sole purpose is to convey basic instructions for illuminating the screen on your phone, monitor or navigation system.

The trouble for the chip industry — and increasingly companies beyond tech, like automakers — is that there aren’t enough display drivers to go around. Firms that make them can’t keep up with surging demand so prices are spiking. That’s contributing to short supplies and increasing costs for liquid crystal display panels, essential components for making televisions and laptops, as well as cars, airplanes and high-end refrigerators.

“It’s not like you can just make do. If you have everything else, but you don’t have a display driver, then you can’t build your product,” says Stacy Rasgon, who covers the semiconductor industry for Sanford C. Bernstein.

Now the crunch in a handful of such seemingly insignificant parts — power management chips are also in short supply, for example — is cascading through the global economy. Automakers like Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have already scaled back production, leading to estimates for more than $60 billion in lost revenue for the industry this year.

The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. A rare winter storm in Texas knocked out swaths of U.S. production. A fire at a key Japan factory will shut the facility for a month. Samsung Electronics Co. warned of a “serious imbalance” in the industry, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it can’t keep up with demand despite running factories at more than 100% of capacity.

“I have never seen anything like this in the past 20 years since our company’s founding,” said Jordan Wu, co-founder and chief executive officer of Himax Technologies Co., a leading supplier of display drivers. “Every application is short of chips.”

2021-semiconductors-chips-shortage-inline
The chip crunch was born out of an understandable miscalculation as the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. When Covid-19 began spreading from China to the rest of the world, many companies anticipated people would cut back as times got tough.

“I slashed all my projections. I was using the financial crisis as the model,” says Rasgon. “But demand was just really resilient.”

People stuck at home started buying technology — and then kept buying. They purchased better computers and bigger displays so they could work remotely. They got their kids new laptops for distance learning. They scooped up 4K televisions, game consoles, milk frothers, air fryers and immersion blenders to make life under quarantine more palatable. The pandemic turned into an extended Black Friday onlinepalooza.

Automakers were blindsided. They shut factories during the lockdown while demand crashed because no one could get to showrooms. They told suppliers to stop shipping components, including the chips that are increasingly essential for cars.

Then late last year, demand began to pick up. People wanted to get out and they didn’t want to use public transportation. Automakers reopened factories and went hat in hand to chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung. Their response? Back of the line. They couldn’t make chips fast enough for their still-loyal customers.

A year of poor planning led to carmakers’ massive chip shortage
Himax’s Jordan Wu is in the middle of the tech industry’s tempest. On a recent March morning, the bespectacled 61-year-old agreed to meet at his Taipei office to discuss the shortages and why they are so challenging to resolve. He was eager enough to talk that interview was scheduled for the same morning Bloomberg News requested it, with two of his staff joining in person and another two dialing in by phone. He wore a mask throughout the interview, speaking carefully and articulately.

Wu founded Himax in 2001 with his brother Biing-seng, now the company’s chairman. They started out making driver ICs (for integrated circuits), as they’re known in the industry, for notebook computers and monitors. They went public in 2006 and grew with the computer industry, expanding into smartphones, tablets and touch screens. Their chips are now used in scores of products, from phones and televisions to automobiles.

Wu explained that he can’t make more display drivers by pushing his workforce harder. Himax designs display drivers and then has them manufactured at a foundry like TSMC or United Microelectronics Corp. His chips are made on what’s artfully called “mature node” technology, equipment at least a couple generations behind the cutting-edge processes. These machines etch lines in silicon at a width of 16 nanometers or more, compared with 5 nanometers for high-end chips.?

The chip’s makers have seen their shares soar with strong demand
The bottleneck is that these mature chip-making lines are running flat out. Wu says the pandemic drove such strong demand that manufacturing partners can’t make enough display drivers for all the panels that go into computers, televisions and game consoles — plus all the new products that companies are putting screens into, like refrigerators, smart thermometers and car-entertainment systems.

There’s been a particular squeeze in driver ICs for automotive systems because they’re usually made on 8-inch silicon wafers, rather than more advanced 12-inch wafers. Sumco Corp., one of the leading wafer manufacturers, reported production capacity for 8-inch equipment lines was about 5,000 wafers a month in 2020 — less than it was in 2017.

No one is building more mature-node manufacturing lines because it doesn’t make economic sense. The existing lines are fully depreciated and fine-tuned for almost perfect yields, meaning basic display drivers can be made for less than a dollar and more advanced versions for not much more. Buying new equipment and starting off at lower yields would mean much higher expenses.

“Building new capacity is too expensive,” Wu says. Peers like Novatek Microelectronics Corp., also based in Taiwan, have the same constraints.

That shortfall is showing up in a spike in LCD prices. A 50-inch LCD panel for televisions doubled in price between January 2020 and this March. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Matthew Kanterman projects that LCD prices will keep rising at least until the third quarter. There is a “a dire shortage” of display driver chips, he said.

LCD Prices Are Surging
Aggravating the situation is a lack of glass. Major glass makers reported accidents at their production sites, including a blackout at a Nippon Electric Glass Co.’s factory in December and an explosion at AGC Fine Techno Korea’s factory in January. Production will likely remain constrained at least through summer this year, display consultancy DSCC Co-founder Yoshio Tamura said.

On April 1, I-O Data Device Inc., a major Japanese computer peripherals maker, raised the price of their 26 LCD monitors by 5,000 yen on average, the biggest increase since they began selling the monitors two decades ago. A spokeswoman said the company can’t make any profit without the increases due to rising costs for components.

All of this has been a boon to Himax’s business. Sales are surging and its stock price has tripled since November.

But the CEO isn’t celebrating. His whole business is built around giving customers what they want, so his inability to meet their requests at such a critical time is frustrating. He doesn’t expect the crunch, especially for automotive components, to end any time soon.

“We have not reached a position where we can see the light at the end of tunnel yet,” Wu said.

San Francisco International showcases early American motorcycles

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by Colleen Morgan from https://www.moodiedavittreport.com

An exhibition exploring the history and development of motorcycling has opened at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

The SFO Museum exhibition, in the International Terminal Departures, started on 11 February and will run through 19 September 2021.

According to exhibition organisers, early American motorcycles “reflect a bygone era of mechanical innovation and bold industrial design”. They are prized by collectors around the world and displayed on vintage rides, endurance runs, and at special events.

The exhibition presents fourteen ‘exceptional’ examples made prior to 1916, along with a collection of rare engines and photographs from the pioneering era of motorcycling.

It follows the development of the motorcycle – “one of the earliest and most exciting applications of another new invention, the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine” – from the 1890s until 1915. The exhibition highlights the progress of motorcycle technology during that period and the evolvement of riding “from a novelty, to a hobby, sport and a reliable source of transportation”.

As the presentation points out, “motorcycling in the early twentieth century was always an adventure”.

“Road conditions were generally poor and hitting a pothole or other hazard on a motorcycle supported by a primitive, stiffly sprung suspension could easily throw a rider off the bike”.

It also underlines the need for “athletic ability” to start and ride these machines and that motorcyclists had to be mechanically minded to keep them in working condition.

Early American Motorcycles is one of several exhibitions which are running for limited periods at the SFO Museum. Others include Hair Style, Instrumental Rock ‘n’ Roll, Paula Riff, Amelia Konow   and Alternative Process by the San Francisco University School of Art.

The airport also offers a strong line-up of permanent exhibitions which include Pan American Airways, Harvey Milk ‘Messenger of Hope’ and Spirogyrate, an interactive children’s exploration area featuring artwork by Bay Area artist Eric Staller.

The SFO Museum,  a division of San Francisco International Airport, is a multifaceted programme with rotating exhibitions on a wide variety of subjects and interactive play areas featured throughout the terminals.

Its mission is to “delight, engage, and inspire a global audience”; to collect, preserve, interpret and share the history of commercial aviation, and to enrich the public experience at San Francisco International Airport.

BMW Motorcycles the First to Use Bosch’s New Integrated Split Screen Display

By General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Providing motorcycle riders with the same level of infotainment technology already available for drivers has proven to be quite a challenge. Because of the particularities of two-wheeled motoring, technologies that have been available in cars for some time now are just beginning to be adopted.

Take for instance Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which have been brought as standard to the range of bikes just this year by two of the biggest names of the industry, Harley-Davidson and Indian. And this sluggishness applies to hardware as well.

In a move that is certain to cause a stir, parts supplier Bosch announced at the beginning of the month the launch of its (and the world’s) first integrated split screen for motorcycles, but also a smartphone integration solution called mySPIN.

The screen is a TFT 10.25-inch in size that can simultaneously display relevant vehicle information, and smartphone apps content like navigation. According to Bosch, BMW motorcycles (we are not being told which ones) will be the first to use them this year (also, unclear when will BMW have time to integrate it in its bikes in the little time left until the end of 2020).

As for the mySPIN app, it was designed to work with both the split screen and the usual ones. Ducati, for instance, will deploy it together with a new 6.5-inch display without the split-screen option, and Kawasaki will follow, although we’re not told with what screen it will use.

mySPIN has been around for about two years now in the watersports segment, but now expands to motorcycles to provide “smartphone content in an integrated and easy way while riding their bike.” Using it, riders get access to a community, Dash Radio, Genius Maps and Sygic, among others.

“Our clusters in combination with mySPIN offer a new riding experience with more safety and convenience for motorcycle riders. For us, this is the next step in terms of connectivity for motorcycles,” says Geoff Liersch, President of the Two-Wheeler & Powersports unit at Bosch.

New BMW R 1250 RT Comes with Instrument Cluster Map Display

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Over the past few months BMW has been hard at work updating its motorcycle range. Last we heard from the Bavarians we were gifted with the new R 1250 GS family of two, but there’s another important two-wheeler boasting the same engine in need of a refresh: the R 1250 RT.

The Touring bike was refreshed as well for the new model year, and the BMW announced this week the changes are meant to give it a new look, more standard equipment, and several technical upgrades.

The most important part of the motorcycle, its engine, remains largely unchanged. We’re talking about a 1,254 cc 2-cylinder boxer that delivers 136 hp at 7,750 rpm and 143 Nm of torque at 6,250 rpm.

Visually, the biggest change can be seen at the front, where we now get as standard a new full LED headlamp with optional adaptive turning light.

Mechanical upgrades include the availability, as standard, of the BMW Motorrad Full Integral ABS Pro, and Dynamic Traction Control with three riding modes, including a new one called Eco for economical riding.

Most important though is the fact that the R 1250 RT gets a 10.25-inch TFT color screen with integrated map navigation and connectivity. According to BMW, this is the first time a motorcycle has been fitted with a screen that allows maps to be displayed directly in the instrument cluster.

“We have given the R 1250 RT a new look, a comprehensive increase in standard equipment and numerous technical upgrades to achieve a whole new riding experience,” said in a statement Harald Spagl, Project Manager at BMW Motorrad.

“As a dynamic tourer with the incomparable BMW ShiftCam engine, it also has the perfect power unit with impressive power across the entire speed range.”

For now the German carmaker did not say when the new R 1250 RT will become available, and we also have no info on the price.