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BMW’s i4 Electric Concept Comes With a Hans Zimmer Score

By | General Posts

Composer Hans Zimmer (right) and his collaborator, BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale, are creating new sounds for the German automaker’s coming wave of electric cars.

 

by Brett Berk from https://www.wired.com

To fill the aural vacuum left by the disappearance of the engine, BMW brought in a ringer.

Thelma & Louise. Rain Man. The Lion King. True Romance. Interstellar. Dunkirk. Each film works to take its viewers on an emotional journey, and each leans on a shared tool: a Hans Zimmer score that serves as a guide, signaling joy, grief, conflict, passion, and more in turn. Now, though, the Oscar-winning composer has turned his talents away from the silver screen and toward the windscreen, where he’s found a new vehicle that could use a touch of emotional direction: the electric car.

Along with more than 500 horsepower and a range of 370 miles, BMW’s all-electric Concept i4 comes with music by Zimmer. These mini scores, which BMW calls “sound worlds,” will ripple out their smoothly vibrant vibrato—think Lionel Hampton on the theremin—when the doors open, as the car starts up, and as the car drives along the road.

On the i4, a concept four-door coupe BMW unveiled earlier this month, the composition morphs slightly based the car’s current driving modes, whether “core,” “sport,” or “efficient.” Zimmer and his collaborator, BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale, call the i4’s soundtrack “Limen,” the word for the threshold below which a stimuli can’t be perceived. It’s all about connecting sound to an emotional experience, which in this case happens to be driving on battery power instead of watching Rafiki hoist Simba into the air.

“We are at a moment in time, with electric cars, when we get to change the whole sonic landscape of everything in a vehicle,” Zimmer says. “We can allow the interiors of cars to set moods and give people an experience, to let people devise their own experience, not be forced into the rumbling of a petrol engine anymore.”

Zimmer’s BMW sound worlds are in concept form now, but the company intends to roll them out over the next few years on more than two dozen electric vehicles. That will start with the production version of the i4, later in 2021.

The key here is that by replacing a rumbling engine with a silent battery and whirring motors, BMW and every other automaker are ditching the sonic experience that has been part of the automobile for more than a century. Car lovers may miss the angry sewing machine clack of a Porsche 911’s flat-six, the throaty grumble and whine of a supercharged Dodge Hemi V8, or the cranial wail of a Ferrari V-12. So might unsuspecting new EV buyers. Without the rumpus of an internal combustion engine, wind roar and tire slap sound all the louder. Zimmer and Vitale strive not just to mask those perturbances but to add delight and uplift to the driving experience.

“Think about your morning, where you have to go and start your car and go to your job,” Zimmer says. “Wouldn’t it be nice if the starting sound was something beautiful, something that put a smile on your face, something that makes your day better?”

The score does sound energizing and engaging, especially in the symphonically crescendoing “sport” mode. It definitely doesn’t sound “rumbling.” But it has some additional, and perhaps questionable, 1970s sci-fi movie overtones.

“There’s this idea that all battery electric cars should sound like a spaceship,” says Jonathan Price, senior research and development manager for Harman, a sound engineering firm that supplies the automotive industry with stereo systems, speakers, noise-cancellation equipment, and electric vehicle soundtracks–both internal and external. “Unfortunately, we don’t know what a spaceship sounds like, right? None of us have ever heard a spaceship before.”

Price is working with consumers as well as client automakers to create a relevant vocabulary for the sounds they will soon be adding to the interiors and—as regulation requires—exteriors of electric vehicles. Following recent research, his team came up with 40 different terms ranging from, as Price says, “something really progressive and futuristic—the pulsing, the whirring, the droning—all the way up to something more aggressive.”

The goal here is not just to update our terminology for car sounds, but to assist with their identification and branding. And there, Price’s work aligns with Zimmer’s. The composer’s parents always drove BMWs, and he could pick out the unique tone of their Bimmer from the balcony. “When I heard that sound,” he says, “everything was fine. Safety. Mom and Dad were home.”

Likewise, contemporary carmakers want to create soundtracks that will help people identify, and identify with, their vehicles. And because this sound is no longer tied to a physical source, like an engine, the potential choices are boundless. Which presents automakers with a new kind of quandary.

“Everybody wants to have something iconic,” Price says, pointing to how Harley Davidson attempted to patent the sound of its motorcycles’ exhaust note. So he wants his team to create the tones that will distinguish a Ford EV from a Hyundai EV. “These need to not only be very unique sounds, they need to be pleasing,” Price says. “Almost like a piece of jewelry that you wear and you hope other people envy.”

Maybe you’re wondering if all of this runs counter to one of the core promises of electric cars, the luxury of silence at speed. But Zimmer argues that for many, silence is unnerving, especially at speed. It can feel uncanny, unmoored from the physical processes that provide acceleration. When Zimmer scored Interstellar, he played on that feeling to convey the awe of rocket travel. The blastoff was the loudest moment of the film, and he blew out a few speaker systems before getting it right. But then the score goes silent. “That’s when everything was at astronomical speeds,” Zimmer says.

In any case, people aren’t seeking total silence. As automakers got better at isolating their customers from engine noise with better insulation, double-paned windows, and active noise cancellation, some customers complained. So manufacturers started piping engine noise into the cabin. BMW went further, playing artificial tunes through the stereo system. Some of this desire for sound at speed, or sound correlated to speed, may be out of habit, a generational quest for the familiar, the way that the keyboards on smart phones still make typing noises, or the cameras on smart phones still make shutter clicks. Zimmer thinks that this may vanish over time. “I think it’s sort of important to leave nostalgia behind,” he says.

Then he reconsiders. “As I said that, I suddenly remembered that every sci-fi movie we have ever seen is incredibly nostalgic.” He points to Blade Runner and Interstellar. Perhaps our dreams of the future are always enmeshed with our fantasies of the past. And our dream cars will always sound like the vehicles from our outmoded idea of the future, like something out of The Jetsons, because that’s what reassures us.

Zimmer sees his automotive work as fostering the way a car catalyzes this kind of big-picture thinking. “A car is such a great place to think, it’s such a great place to dream and have your own thoughts,” he says. “The car is the perfect private place to have constantly great ideas.”

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Breaks 24-Hour Distance Record

By | General Posts

by Elena Gorgan from https://www.autoevolution.com

One of the main complaints lodged against the Harley-Davidson LiveWire is the short range offered on a single charge, of just 140 miles. That doesn’t mean it’s not made for touring, though.

Swiss rider Michel von Tell has just set a new world record for the longest tour in under 24 hours for an electric motorcycle, covering over 1,000 miles on a LiveWire. The bad news is that the record won’t be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, as von Tell did not have Guinness officials present.

Electroauto-news reports (via Electrek) that von Tell started in Zurich, Switzerland and covered four countries and a total of 1,723 km (1,070 miles) on the LiveWire, in 23 hours and 48 minutes. He reached Stuttgart, Germany and then traveled to Singen, before heading to Ruggell, Lichtenstein, the final stop on his journey.

He used Level 3 DC Fast Charge for charging stops, which considerably cut down stop times. Level 1 on the LiveWire uses a regular wall outlet and takes an entire night for a full charge. Level 3 guarantees a faster charge: a nearly full battery in 40 minutes or so. According to the media outlet, von Tell would stop for charging on Level 3 for an average of 25 minutes whenever he needed to.

The previous 24-hour record for an electric motorcycle was set in 2018 on a Zero S fitted with optional Charge Tank and using a team of riders, on a test track. Von Tell traveled in traffic, on the highway and was all alone.

While he couldn’t afford the Guinness fee, which would have ensured officials were on hand to confirm the record, and didn’t have a method to do the electronic self-recording required for Guinness confirmation, von Tell did provide signed witness accounts as confirmation. This makes his LiveWire 24-hour tour the unofficial record holder for the longest on an electric motorcycle to date.

Coronavirus Delays Voxan Motors’ Electric Motorcycle Speed Record Attempt

By | General Posts

by Sebastian Blanco from https://www.forbes.com/

It’s a specific category, but the Venturi Group’s Voxan Motors is working to create the fastest electric motorcycle in the world. Well, the fastest electric motorcycle “propelled by the action of one wheel in contact with the ground, partially streamlined, under 300 kg,” according to the team website.

That specific record is currently held by Jim Hoogerhyde, who rode a Lightning SB220 electric bike to 203.566 mph in 2013, according to Jalopnik. Voxan has set a target of 205 mph for its attempt but the date of the record attempt has been pushed back.

The new world speed record attempt was supposed to happen in July 2020 at the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, but that has been indefinitely postponed due to the cornoavirus. The Venturi Group, which is based in Monaco, issued a statement today saying that it is following the health directives issued by the Monegasque Government and that: “The development teams responsible for the Voxan Wattman motorcycle, which has just completed its initial on-track testing, are now confined to their homes.” Without being able to get together to work on the bike, the team can’t fine-tune the machine on-track, leading to the postponement.

“The health and safety of my teams is paramount. In view of the current health crisis, I have put in place the necessary measures. All of my staff, whether they are attached to Venturi North America (Columbus, Ohio) or to the headquarters in Monaco, are now working from home,” said Gildo Pastor, president of Venturi Group, in a statement. “We will establish a new calendar of operations as soon as the health situation allows it, and announce the new operational arrangements for this project, which is very important to me personally.”

The bike Voxan was (is) going to use to try and set the new speed record is a tweaked version of its Wattman, originally introduced in 2013. The normal Wattman bike is capable of accelerating from zero to 62 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds thanks to its 203-horsepower all-electric powertrain that produces 147.5 pound-feet of torque. Voxan’s high-performance version of the Wattman has been upgraded to produce 367 horsepower in order to hit that 205 mile-per-hour target.

The Venturi Group acquired Voxan in 2010 and shifted the brand’s focus to use electric motors. Both versions of the Wattman (on-road and high-performance) were designed by Venturi’s long-serving lead designer, Sacha Lakic.

The speed record attempt, whenever it happens, is likely to still be driven by Max Biaggi, a two-time World Superbike champion (2010 and 2012). He officially retired from racing in 2012, but has raced a few times since then.

Super Soco TSx Is The Future Of Beginner Motorcycles

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by Enrico Punsalang from https://www.rideapart.com/

It has as much go juice as a 50cc moped.

The world of electric motorcycles is growing as fast as that nephew of yours you only see once a year who’s now taller than you and is about to finish his PhD. In other words, electric bikes have been around for quite a while now, and can easily go by unnoticed, both literally and figuratively. Either electric motorcycles occupy a space that’s still way too niche for the common folk, or are completely shunned away by purists who think that machines running off dead dinosaurs is something sustainable (I’m not saying I’m not one of them)—the fact remains that electric motorcycles are the future.

Realistically speaking, the future entails the adoption of existing rules and regulations with regards to gasoline-powered machines. Hence, it isn’t unlikely that countries with licensing restrictions for motorcycle riders will start limiting the amount of go juice beginner riders on electric motorcycles can start with.

Super Soco has an eye towards the future—albeit a not so exciting one—with their newest bike, the TSx. The Super Soco TSx has the equivalent power and top speed of a 50cc beginner motorcycle. With a whopping top speed of 45 miles per hour, this little bike is definitely not going to get you in any trouble even when you’re giving it the absolute beans. This is something that parents of sixteen year olds looking to get into motorcycling could rely on to help them sleep at night.

Nonetheless, the Super Soco has style going for it, with a thoroughly modern naked sport bike aesthetic. It weighs a measly 154 pounds and is powered by a Bosch 1900W electric motor. The motor has two maps which allows it to limit top speed to 28 miles per hour on restricted mode, and 45 miles per hour on unrestricted mode. It’s capable of going 40 miles on a single charge, but also has a storage compartment for a second battery, boosting its total range to 80 miles. Each battery takes three and a half hours to fully charge.

The Super Soco TSx comes in four colors: black, gray, orange, and red. It retails for £2,999 or $3,740.

Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle LiveWire creating buzz at Daytona Bike Week

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The Harley-Davidson LiveWire’s cool factor seems undeniable among Daytona Bike Week testers, but if you have to buy cool it comes at a $30,000 price.

This is one Harley-Davidson you won’t likely see around town during Bike Week. At least not yet.

And it’s one you definitely won’t hear.

Harley’s new LiveWire, just now winding its way into the market, is a mystery to many, as well as a culture shock — “A Harley without the rhythmic thumping?”

This thing sounds more like a sewing machine.

But so far, if first impressions mean anything, the LiveWire is also a hit. Test rides at Harley’s demo station — outside Daytona International Speedway — are producing one group after another of impressed bikers who, briefly, unsaddled from their traditional Hogs for a proverbial ride into the future.

“As I was riding it, I was thinking this might be my next bike,” says 71-year-old James Lamoureux, a longtime biker from St. Johns County. “Harley, they took a long time, but they did a great job. This thing is cool.”

The cool factor seems undeniable, based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews from testers. But if you have to buy cool, it comes at a price. The LiveWire sells for about $30,000, roughly $10,000 more than you’d pay for a traditional Harley Softail at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson.

“It’s very impressive. Everything about it,” says D.J. Richter, part of a group of Indiana visitors who tested the LiveWires as a group.

But at $30,000?

“Thirty?” Richter replied. “It’s not that impressive.”

But the LiveWire, five years in the making after its 2014 conceptual introduction, wasn’t designed to flood the market. At that price, it has no chance to help Harley attract the much younger demographic the manufacturer — and industry as a whole — needs in order to remain viable as the avid motorcyclist population grows grayer each year. Entry level, gas-powered Harleys, after all, are available for well under $10,000.

It’s apparently all part of the marketing strategy.

“Just like the electric car market, Harley released the best of the best,” says Shelly Rossmeyer Pepe, Daytona Harley’s general manager. “In this case, Harley said they would come out with their ‘halo’ bike, the best of the best, then bring out less expensive models, different models without certain components or luxury items.”

DeLand rider Glen Abbott, who writes travel pieces for Harley-Davidson’s H.O.G. Magazine, couldn’t wait for future options. He attended last year’s national dealer show at Harley’s headquarters in Milwaukee. He went through the demo process, which includes becoming familiar with the LiveWire’s instant throttle on a stationary LiveWire atop a dyno, followed by a street ride.

“I have two other Harleys. Had no intention of buying an electric bike, but I took it for a demo ride and just fell in love with it,” Abbott says.

The LiveWire has a range of about 150 miles, so Abbott mostly rides it around DeLand or as far as New Smyrna Beach. Plugging it in to a standard home outlet will recharge the LiveWire overnight. Fast, DC-powered charging is available at Harley dealerships and takes just an hour.

Any concerns about dealing with an electric motors’ charging needs seem to disappear once you ride the LiveWire.

“I started riding Harleys in the early-’90s,” says Abbott, a 62-year-old Rhode Island native. “This is so different than anything you’ll ever ride. It has instant power. You don’t shift. You have 100% of your power right from the get-go. It’s smooth and quiet. I like big loud Harleys too, but this is different.”

Sitting outside the New Smyrna Beach Harley dealership, where he helps with hospitality during Bike Week, Abbott says he occasionally gets some good-natured teasing from friends and fellow Harley riders. He also reads some negative online reactions to the LiveWire from older, traditional Harley riders. But in personal encounters, all is well.

“I think everybody appreciates it,” he says. “No, it’s not for everybody, but I haven’t encountered any negative sentiment.”

Back at the Speedway, Harley employee Meghan Zettelmeier ushers testing riders onto the dyno LiveWire for an explainer on the clutch-free throttle system. From there, it’s on to the test ride.

“It seems like everyone that gets off of it has a big smile on their face,” Zettelmeier says. “We have some people who come in doubting it a little bit, but the second they get off they have a huge smile.”

Sherry Butler, part of D.J. Richter’s Indiana group, was among the smiling reviewers.

“Very fun, very peppy, and so easy to control,” she says.

The one universal issue, among all those testing the LiveWire, isn’t necessarily a bad issue to riders like Butler.

“I kept feeling like I was reaching for the clutch that isn’t there,” she says. “And that’s not a bad thing.”

A few I-95 exits north of the Speedway, Daytona Harley-Davidson has sold four of the LiveWires since December. Until Harley begins mass-producing lower-cost electric motorcycles, Rossmeyer Pepe doesn’t expect to flood the local market with the debut product. But beginning in April, the dealership will begin a summerlong promotional effort to bring people in for a look and, if licensed to ride a motorcycle, a test drive.

“I’m proud to say that Harley really outdid themselves when they created this machine,” she says. “The quality of the machine is unbelievable. The performance, the cool factor, they definitely nailed it.

“Will you see people changing from what they’re currently riding? I don’t see people coming in to trade from their current motorcycles to a LiveWire, I see people adding a LiveWire.”

People like Abbott, whose DeLand garage took on a third motorcycle when he recently added his electric Harley. He sees the LiveWire, and any electric product currently in the pipeline, as a needed attempt to keep Harley-Davidson viable into future generations.

“The big challenge they’re facing is an aging demographic,” he says. “They’re trying to appeal to younger riders. Obviously, if they don’t appeal to new markets and new demographics, they’re gonna die off.

“I think it’s short-sighted for people to feel Harley can only build internal combustion engines forever.”

2020 Zero Motorcycles Zero S review: A naked electric bike

By | General Posts

by Bruce Brown from https://www.digitaltrends.com

Pros
A mature e-motorcycle design
Excellent driving per charge range
No gears, no clutch, no shifting
Powerful brakes and suspension
Inexpensive to fuel and maintain

Cons
Forward-leaning rider posture
Rider and passenger pegs high
Expensive for an entry-level bike

MSRP $10,995.00

Zero Motorcycles‘ 2020 Zero S is the most highly-evolved version of a vehicle with the longest production history in a product class that most people don’t know exists. Most people would be surprised to learn electric motorcycles are on the street today. They’re even more surprised to hear the first arrived over 12 years ago.

Founded in 2006 by a former NASA engineer, Zero Motorcycles’ first production model was the 2009 Zero S, making 2020 its 12th model year. Depending on the buyer’s choice of installed power pack, the Zero S price varies from $10,995 to $18,390. The most powerful (and expensive) Zero S has a 223-mile maximum city driving range.

Design and performance

I asked Zero Motorcycles to suggest which model in its nine-model 2020 lineup would be the best choice for an e-bicycle rider who wanted to pick the Zero as their first motorcycle. After discussing the lighter, taller, more off-road-bike-looking Zero FXS, I decided on the Zero S with the lowest power battery pack. I tested the base 7.2 kWh Zero S, priced at $10,995, which the company describes as “ideal for the first time rider looking for an entry-level street motorcycle.”

The 2020 Zero S base model ticks the boxes for e-motos. Acceleration is immediate with the S’s full torque on tap from a standing stop. Other than tire noise and a slight whirring sound from the carbon fiber drive belt, the bike is quiet. There’s no clutch and no shifting because there’s only one gear. So, as with most electric motorcycles, you don’t need to know how to use a manual transmission to ride it.

To ride the Zero, just turn the key and wait a few seconds for the indicators on the display panel to settle down. Zero includes two throttle intercepts to protect riders from unintentional acceleration from a standing stop. A motor stop switch on the right-hand grip cuts out power to the motor, and the bike won’t move if the kickstand is down.

The Zero remains silent when it’s on and ready to move. If you’re only familiar with vehicles that have gas or diesel engines, the lack of noise may lead you to think it’s not on. Oh, but it is. It definitely is.

I was cautious with the throttle at first. Electric motors can deliver full torque from a standing stop, so it’s a good idea to approach with caution. However, I’m happy to report you can ride comfortably at slow speeds on the Zero S. The throttle isn’t overly sensitive, with excellent “feel” and granularity.

The Zero S’s regenerative braking slightly recharges the battery when you roll off the throttle. If you’re familiar with engine braking in a car with a manual transmission, regenerative braking feels roughly the same, just quieter.

If you need to stop quickly, the Zero S’ brakes have more stopping power than you may ever need. I found the learning curve for modulating the potent brake system steeper than getting used to the throttle. The Zero S has Bosch ABS disc brakes, with dual 320mm calipers in front, and a single 240mm caliper in the rear.

This nearly-naked sportbike has no fairing and little bodywork covering the functional components. The rider geometry (the relative positions of the handlebar, seat, and rider footpegs) requires a moderately forward-leaning posture. Forward-leaning is excellent for going fast and carving turns and canyons. Entry-level riders with previous experience on a more upright bike will need to adjust, but not as dramatically as with more aggressive bikes.

Speed and range

Motorcycle companies are typically cautious with quoting acceleration numbers. I didn’t time my runs, but I have heard from others Zero riders that 60 mph comes in under 4 seconds. My butt says that’s about right and, speaking as someone who’s not a veteran rider, it was exhilarating.

My test bike, with the basic 7.2 kWh power pack, has a 98 miles per hour (mph) maximum top speed with a sustained top speed of 80 mph. The rated driving ranges for the Zero S with the base power pack are 89 miles in city driving, 45 miles at 70 mph on the highway, and 60 miles combined.

If you are willing to pay for more range, the Zero SR, which is essentially the same bike, has a 14.4 kWh battery pack. The SR starts at $15,495 and boosts the range to 179 miles for city driving, 90 miles on the highway, or 120 miles combined. For the maximum possible driving distance with Zero S models, you can also add the 3.3 kWh Power Tank for $2,895. The Zero SR with the Power Tank is rated for a maximum of 223 miles in the city, 112 miles on the highway, or 150 miles combined.

Note that larger power packs don’t just drive up the price. They weigh more. The 7.2 kWh Zero S weighs 313 pounds. The Zero SR with the 14.4 kWh power pack weighs 408 pounds, and if you add the 3.3 kWh Power Tank for a total of 18 kWh, the weight climbs to 452 pounds.

Your choice will balance cost, range, and weight. You can’t switch power packs or add the Power Tank later, so it’s essential to buy the right power combination from the start.

Charging the battery

The Zero S has a 1.3 kW integrated battery charger and a thick power cable that plugs into a standard 110/220 power plug. Charging the Zero S requires 4.7 hours for a 95% charge, or 5.2 hours to charge 100%. With a $600 optional quick charger, it takes 3.1 hours for a 100% charge, or 2.6 hours for 95%.

A third option is to buy an optional Charge Tank ($2,495). With the Charge Tank, you can plug into a standard Level 2 charge station for a 95% charge in one hour, or 100% in 1.5 hours. Note that you can’t order a Zero S or SR with both the Power Tank and Charge Tank options.

Riding modes and app

The Zero S has two preset performance profiles, Eco and Sport. The profiles control maximum speed, torque, and regeneration levels.

As set by the factory, Eco mode cuts the top speed to 70 mph, limits the torque, and dials up the regen-style engine braking effect. Sport mode unlocks the top speed of 98 miles per hour, full torque, and little or no regenerative braking. You can customize both profiles with Zero’s mobile app.

I rode the Zero S most of the time in Eco mode through suburban neighborhoods, in small towns, and on country roads and highways. The Zero S is well-balanced, so riding slowly is easy. I quickly became used to its smooth throttle operation to roll on speed as desired. The dialed-up regeneration setting in Eco mode meant I rarely needed to use the brakes until I came to a full stop.

It’s quiet. Too quiet?

Electric motorcycles’ are silent, and that can be a mixed blessing. Motorcyclists are used to noise alerting pedestrians and other drivers, but you don’t get that with an electric powertrain. It’s a good idea to locate the horn button on the left grip, so you can alert anyone who needs it.

The upside of running silent is there’s less chance you’re going to disturb your neighbors with the Zero S, and certainly not with the noise. On one of my first rides checking out the bike’s operation, a neighbor used to seeing me on e-bikes came over to check out the Zero S.

“That’s an actual motorcycle?” he asked. I was able to answer without raising my voice over the Zero S’ motor because, of course, it was silent. On a regular motorcycle, I wouldn’t have even heard him unless I stopped and turned off the engine.

Our Take

I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Zero S, and was particularly impressed by its balanced, quiet ride. Seasoned sports bike riders would likely switch right over to Sport mode and fly with it. The power, brakes, and handling are certainly there.

Ease of operation makes the Zero S accessible for beginning riders. My only hesitation is that new riders will need to get used to the forward-leaning riding position.

Is there a better alternative?

In a few years, there will be many more choices for people shopping for electric motorcycles, but Zero already has a 12-year lead. No other company has Zero’s experience and range of current electric models.

The Harley-Davidson Livewire makes fans of most who ride it, and Harley has been showing other concept electric bikes, but the Livewire’s $30,000 price tag limits its appeal. The Lightning Motorcycles LS-218 is the fastest production motorcycle, but starts at $38.888. Both bikes target experienced riders with money to spend.

Several companies make much smaller e-motorcycles, like the Ubco 2×2 and the Cake Kalk OR. They’re more affordable, but often focused on off-road or multi-surface riding, with a lower top speed and less range.

How long will it last?

Zero Motorcycles include a two-year general warranty and a five-year warranty on the power pack. Zero is an established company with dealers throughout the United States, so parts and service shouldn’t be concerns.

Should you buy one?

Yes. If you want an electric motorcycle for recreational riding or commuting, the Zero S is a great choice.

Time to “Switch” to the eSCRAMBLER Motorcycle

By | General Posts

by Eduard Pana from https://www.autoevolution.com/

While most of the designs of modern electric bikes have futuristic looks and maybe not-so-practical angles, the Switch bike keeps the classy retro scrambler look, which is greatly appreciated by the old-school bike enthusiasts.

Matthew Waddick has made a collaboration with Michel Riis in order to achieve a simple, yet functional and sporty electric bike. The base concept started from the eTRACKER concept, getting beefed up with a more powerful motor and a larger battery.

The main performance points the bike should tick are: reaching a top speed of 150 kph (93 mph), a 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) acceleration time of 3.2 seconds and a realistic range of around 150 km (93 miles). And it looks like the prototype checks them all.

In my opinion, this e-bike looks even more retro than some real cafe racers. Just the fact that Riis and Waddick designed a “fuel tank” to hide all the cables and magic circuits that manage the motor, and also to keep the non-electric look, is really sleek.

Even the frame has the classic dual pipes going under the battery (in this case), just like most classic bikes. The motor was placed onto the swingarm, keeping a clean look of the rear wheel, and also making tire changing a much easier job, than if the motor had been placed into the wheel itself.

The bike also has built-in GPS tracking, three power delivery modes, cruise control (who would need that on a scrambler?) and of course, an ABS system. Supposedly, this is the system that has postponedthe launch date for so long, because it needs a lot of testing and fiddling in order to make it work as intended.

Switch claims that a road-legal eSCRAMBLER will be available in 2022, so if you want to “switch” from your current scrambler, start piling up the cash. That said, no pricing is available at this moment.

Riding This Electric Motorcycle Must Be Like Mounting a Steel Beam

By | General Posts

by Eduard Pana from https://www.autoevolution.com

In a world where internal combustion motorcycles reign over electric vehicles, there are some guys who love electricity combined with exotic designs.

Joseph Robinson is one of the guys who love the minimalist and futuristic design that can only be managed with electric vehicles.

Because of the many limitations traditional engines provide, electric motorcycles are convenient for futuristic designs because the only major concerns are: where do you locate the motor (which can be placed into the wheel or into the frame), having a square’ish space for the battery, and fitting 2 wheels at the ends of the bike.

Robinson managed to design a concept bike with a Z shape frame that starts in the front headlight and extends to the rear lower swing arm. It seems the front suspension has struts hidden under the plastic covers of the fork while the rear suspension isn’t hidden from the eye of the beholders, having a pretty hefty shock as presented in the photos.

The rider’s position on the bike resembles the position on a super sport bike, with the rider leaning forward for more aero points. However, the bike does not provide any kind of wind protection for high speed cruising on the freeway, so that means this bike is specially designed for city driving and very light touring rides (the battery is limiting the distance you can cover with an electric vehicle anyway).

As a bonus point, it seems like the handle bars and pegs are foldable so you can get more aero when going on a straight line… I’m joking, of course, they should be folded when the bike is parked, in order to save some space in tiny areas (I always get my T-shirt caught on my bike handle bars when I’m moving around it, so i approve this idea).

So? What do you think? Does it look too futuristic? Is this practical or not?

Zero’s SR/S electric motorcycle promises up to 201 miles of range

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by Steve Dent from https://www.engadget.com
by Alex Perry from https://mashable.com

You can also charge the premium model in under an hour.

Like EV owners, electric motorcycle riders suffer from range anxiety. Zero Motorcycles is trying to alleviate that a bit with a new model, the SR/S. It can go up to 201 miles in the city and 103 miles on highways — better numbers than the last SR/F model all around. Best of all, Zero managed to keep the price just above the SR/F by keeping the same platform and introducing a full fairing to improve aerodynamics.

On top of the full fairing, the SR/S has a more relaxed riding position, but otherwise uses the same battery pack and engine as the last model. As more of a sport touring-type bike, it also weighs about 20 pounds more than the 485-pound SR/F. However, it still goes like heck thanks to a 100 horsepower, 140 foot pound motor, hitting speeds up to 124 mph.

The base SR/S can go 161 miles on a charge or 82 miles on the highway, so to get the extra range you’ll need to add the Power Tank option. It takes four hours to charge the base model with a regular charger, or 1.3 hours with the 6 KW rapid charge option. However, you can speed that up to two hours (regular charge) and one hour (fast charge) with the premium bike.

Other features include the Cypher III operating system that can handles traction control, braking and charging, along with connected capabilities that lets the owner monitor bike status, alerts, system upgrades and more. The SR/S is now available starting at $19,995 (compared to $19,495 for the SR/F), or $21,995 for the premium model. The 3.6 kWh Power Tank option runs an additional $2,895 and will be available starting March 1st.

Zero’s new SR/S electric motorcycle has a new design and increased range

If you want to roam cities and highways in style without relying on a single drop of gasoline, Zero’s newest electric motorcycle might be up your alley.

Zero invited members of the press to an unveiling of its new SR/S e-bike on Wednesday. It has a sleek new design compared to its SR/F counterpart, and was designed with aerodynamics in mind, according to Zero. This should allow 13 percent more range at highway speeds once riders are fully leaned in, the company says.

As far as more detailed specs are concerned, the SR/S boasts 140 ft-lbs of torque, 110 horsepower, and a top speed of 124 mph. Its city range by default is 161 miles, while its highway range is 82 miles. Those numbers are bumped up to 201 miles and 103 miles, respectively, with an optional power tank add-on.

The SR/S comes in both standard and premium configurations. The first, with a 3 kW charger, is $19,995, the second, with a 6 kW charger, is $21,995. That power tank we mentioned earlier is an additional $2,895, so expect to spend a good deal more money than the starting price if you want all the bells and whistles.

Oh, and there are two colors: Cerulean Blue and Skyline Silver. We saw the blue version at the press briefing and it looked, well, blue. One last thing to note is that the Zero SR/S is using level 2 electric charging. It seems level 3 charging is still just a little too prohibitive for Zero’s liking. The standard model takes four hours to go from zero to 95 percent battery, while the premium takes two hours. You can cut that down to merely an hour with the 6 kW charger.

It may cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000 to get the SR/S with everything that makes it cool, but it seems like it might be cool nonetheless. Zero said it ships to dealers immediately, so anyone who wants one should look into their local options.

How data is driving new approaches to transportation

By | General Posts

from New York Times

Analysing digital streams of information from electric scooters and motor-assisted bicycles are helping solve travel congestion issues.

Five seconds after a Los Angeles rider unlocks a dockless electric scooter with a smartphone app and sets off to a destination, a cityoperated databank is informed.

Five seconds after the trip ends, typically no more than a mile away, another alert updates the record, noting the location. In 24 hours, the exact route is uploaded and logged for analysis.

That ride to the bus stop or the convenience store, emissions-free and nearly silent, would seem to be a zero-disruption event in a sprawling city with millions of people and vehicles. Yet extrapolated over years, it foreshadows a shift of potentially enormous consequences.

While the identity of that rider is unknown to the city, a stream of data from the scooter’s GPS module and cellphone link — speed, time of day, battery state of charge — flows to cloud servers an average of a million times a month during Los Angeles’s pilot program. Each trip is but a trickle of bytes, yet it is a rich resource for the planners and the policymakers who hope to tame the persistent tangle of traffic in this vehicle-dependent metropolis.

That vehicular chokehold can weigh as heavily on a neighborhood dweller as it does on a road user. “Cities have to assure that their resources are used efficiently, and that includes the shared spaces,” said Stephen Zoepf, chief of policy development at Ellis & Associates, a Silicon Valley consultancy that helps cities develop transportation technology plans.

“The effects of crowding, in noise and emissions, are a tragedy of the commons,” he continued, using an economist’s term for situations in which resources are depleted by those acting in self-interest rather than the general good.

The arrival of electric scooters and motor-assisted bicycles, backbones of a transportation mode known as micromobility, has been greeted as part of the solution to clogged roadways and unbearable travel delays. There’s a business opportunity as well, with a projection of a micromobility market valued at up to $15 billion annually in the United States and Europe by 2025, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group.

The urgency to sort out the conflict between vehicles and road space is growing. About 55 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, according to the United Nations; by 2050, that share is projected at 68 percent. Cities, already teeming, are increasingly frustrating to get around.

Yet the route to clearing the congestion has been a highway paved with obstacles. Linking transportation hubs to housing in the affordable last mile, where the need is greatest, proves a hurdle too high. Getting people out of their cars is a vexing problem; delivering goods without bulky trucks is nearly impossible.

Seleta Reynolds, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation since 2014, is an eyewitness to monumental shifts in transportation, her job expanding from oversight of city functions like parking and public transit to coping with the onset of digital platforms for hailing rides.

“What became clear to me was that the digital version was going away from public management of the right of way,” she said in a telephone interview, referring to innovations like Uber and Lyft, which arrived in Los Angeles without regulations in place for driver pay, working hours or background checks.

Zoepf said cities were caught by surprise. “Now we had companies supported by venture capital saying, ‘We’re not providing transportation, we’re platforms,’ and doing business on the public right of way without a permit arrangement,” he said. But a greater upheaval lay ahead.

“Then scooters showed up,”Reynolds said, noting that Los Angeles was unprepared for the 2017 arrival of easy-toride, motorized upgrades to what were once deemed children’s toys. “We got caught flat-footed in the transformation.”

In part, the solution to this cat-herding problem lay in making use of the data generated by the dockless scooters for fleet owners, who need to know where the scooters are in order to gather them each night for battery charging and reposition them the next morning where demand will be greatest.

That data set is also a key to solving congestion: Knowing what route they have used historically makes it possible for policymakers to plan infrastructure. The ability to monitor their every movement is no longer alarming to users — privacy is a serious concern, but not a showstopper, given that our smartphones already feed generous helpings to any number of data-digesting apps.

To collect the digital stream in a form useful to all, the Mobility Data Specification, or MDS, was created by the Los Angeles transportation department.

As an open-source software platform built on a set of application programming interfaces — the communication protocols between parts of a computer program — MDS is now used by more than 50 American cities and dozens more around the globe. It is governed by the Open Mobility Foundation, chaired by Reynolds.

MDS IN USE
Hoboken, New Jersey, could serve as the ideal petri dish for testing micromobility. A mile square, with 55,000 residents and little elevation change, it is home to thousands of commuters who connect to buses, trains and ferries that will carry them to workplaces in Manhattan, across the Hudson River. Hoboken’s escooter pilot also fit perfectly with sustainability goals.