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.
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?
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.
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.
by Denis Droppa from https://www.businesslive.co.za
Unlike anything yet seen on two wheels, Pierre Terblanche’s R1.1m Hypertek electric bike takes shape
A futuristic South African motorcycle that attracted interest at a recent international motorcycle show is to go into production in two years’ time.
Looking like a prop from a Blade Runner movie, the prototype of the outlandish Hypertek electric bike was unveiled in November at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, the motorcycle industry’s premier annual showcase.
The Hypertek is a collaboration between SA’s Blackstone Tek (BST), a Johannesburg-based company specialising in carbon-fibre automotive components, and well-known SA designer Pierre Terblanche who penned iconic motorcycles like the Ducati 749 and 999.
The striking Hypertek takes a bold sidestep from conventional motorcycle design. Looking like it was assembled from a giant Meccano set, it features no fairings and has all its mechanical elements on display, with the lithium-ion batteries housed in a finned, engine-like casing.
Is it pretty? You decide. Is it spectacular? Heck yes.
The bike is powered by an 80kW electric motor and has an estimated range of about 200km, taking as little as 30 minutes to fully charge on a DC quick charger.
BST’s Terry Annecke says the $80,000 (R1.14m) bike is aimed at the high-end luxury market and will be hand-assembled in small volumes at BST’s Joburg factory from early 2022.
She says the Hypetek has received 10 confirmed orders with at least 50 people “seriously interested” since the bike’s appearance at EICMA. Annecke expects a mostly international clientele for the bike, although the first two orders were placed by local buyers.
“The Hypertek is aimed at people who appreciate it for its exceptional design and Pierre’s reputation,” she says, adding that the world-famous Barber motorcycle museum in Alabama, US, wants one for its collection.
Terblanche, the former director of design for Italian motorcycle company Ducati, says current battery-powered motorcycles are rather boring and that he created the Hypertek as a more emotional electric bike.
Apart from the flamboyant design, emotion is created by a built-in sound generator that makes the Hypertek roar like a conventional combustion-engined bike, or any sound of the customer’s choosing. Unlike other electric bikes it also has a clutch that allows riders to perform wheelies and burnouts.
There is no instrument panel. Instead, data and infotainment is projected on a head-up display (HUD) inside the rider’s helmet. Mirrors are absent too, and a camera projects the rear view onto the HUD.
It has some novel engineering solutions too, including the rear suspension being incorporated into the swingarm. That leaves the seat floating in an open space on a short tailpiece, well forward of the rear wheel.
Calling the Hypertek the best work he has ever done, Terblanche says he wanted to build an iconic electric motorcycle with excellent performance and beautiful styling.
“Motorcycles have become very formulaic and paint-by-numbers, and I wanted to create something that didn’t carry over existing bike ideas.”
Terblanche isn’t a fan of the retro-styled trend sweeping the motorcycle industry, and a small plaque on the Hypertek’s rear end reads: “Warning: for fans of curated replicas of 40s, 50s or 60s motorcycles, you are at the wrong stand”.
With its estimated 200km range the Hypertek is a primarily urban machine, but Terblanche says battery and supercapacitor technology is constantly improving and later editions of the bike will be able to travel further out of city confines.
BST’s Annecke says the Hypertek is a true South African story, including the fact that most of the prototype’s bodywork was 3D printed by a Brakpan company.
BST manufactured the carbon fibre wheels and frame for the Hypertek. The Randburg-based engineering company also makes carbon fibre components for motorcycle companies such as Ducati, MV Agusta, and the Arch Motorcycle company co-founded by Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves.
The government is showing signs of legalising electric scooters on roads, but new laws should be about safety, not horsepower
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that being hit by a scooter hurts less than being hit by a bike. That may sound like a strangely negative place to start, but it’s sort of fundamental to why I’m glad the government is finally showing signs of legalising the use of electronic scooters on public roads across the UK.
The current state of the law is a mess. Its broad strokes are reasonable enough: powered vehicles require an MOT and registration to use on public roads, while unpowered vehicles do not. Pavements are for foot traffic only. Access requirements complicate matters, but only a little: wheelchairs, both manual and powered – legally, “class three invalid carriages” – can go on pavements, while some – class four – can go on roads as well.
Then, in the 1980s, the law was modernised to support the first generation of electric bikes. Fitted with simple motors that aided hill climbs, it felt silly to ban them as electric vehicles, and so a new category – the “electrically assisted pedal cycle” – was invented, and the laws amended further in 2015 to remove weight limits, allow for four wheels and increase the maximum power of the motor.
Which means, as the law stands, you can ride a four-wheeled vehicle of potentially unlimited weight, largely powered by a motor up to 15.5mph, on public roads without training, licensing or registration. But not an electronic scooter. Nor, for that matter, a 5kg, 10mph “hoverboard”, unlikely to hurt anyone save its rider.
Looking at the laws from the ground up, the distinguishing characteristic should be safety, not how a vehicle is powered. It’s hard to argue that an electric motor is inherently more dangerous than pedal power. In fact, given the variability of human strength, it’s almost possible to argue the opposite: electric motors in e-bikes are capped at 250W of power, after all, but no such limit is possible for people, where a fit cyclist can easily exceed 300W or more.
And so a set of regulations which allowed, alongside bikes, skateboards and scooters, electric vehicles of limited weight, power and speed is surely the only justifiable outcome of any consultation.
But more than justifiable, such a set of rules would be good. One of the truisms of the cycling world is that the safest thing for cyclists on the road is more cyclists on the road. It’s not all about public policy and accessible cycle lanes: sheer weight of numbers is important too, in forcing other road users to treat cyclists as a viable third transportation mode, rather than just annoying slowpokes ripe for close passes and aggressive overtakes.
Expanding that constituency, to encompass a wide variety of mid-speed vehicles, would only help push cities towards the tipping point where they can consider transport beyond a simple car/pedestrian binary. And that’s a point every city needs to reach, sooner rather than later, in the face of a climate crisis that much see car usage drastically curtailed.
But. While laws need to be rewritten to support electric scooters, they don’t necessarily need to support the peculiarly American model of dumping a load of scooters on a pavement and hoping enough people will ride them before they get stolen or damaged for the unit economics to work out favourably. That model, unfortunately, has defaulted to its present state: unregulated, unmanaged and cutthroat, with councils left fighting back with nothing but their powers to prevent littering.
Here, the trade-off is more painful. Dockless rideshare – of bikes, e-bikes or e-scooters – can be great for promoting access, but it can also harm those least able to cope, as anyone who has tried to navigate a wheelchair or pram around a pile of Uber bikes knows. Micromobility can succeed with or without the Silicon Valley business models – but it can’t succeed without being given a chance on the roads.
by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com
Harley-Davidson isn’t trailblazing the industry with the LiveWire electric motorcycle. Two-wheeled vehicles with e-propulsion are huge in China and a few other places around the world, but the Middle Kingdom takes the lion’s share in terms of volume.
More than 30 million units are sold in the People’s Republic each year, and this causes a little bit of chaos in the urban jungle. Major cities such as Beijing and Taiwan have banned e-scooters in 2016 along with segways, but nevertheless, business is good.
So good in fact, a startup called NIU decided to showcase two models at the CES 2020 for the U.S. market. Not to be confused with Chinese automaker NIO, the company plans to roll out the RQi-GT electric motorcycle and TQi-GT covered three-wheeler to places like San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and even Honolulu.
NIU first landed in the United States with a fleet of 1,000 mopeds in Brooklyn as part of a partnership with Revel. The mopeds in question feature 60 and 80 miles or range, respectively, Panasonic batteries, and up to 3,800 watts of get-up-and-go from the e-motor.
Billed as an urban performance motorcycle, the RQi-GT is capable of 160 km/h (100 miles per hour) from 30 kW and two removable batteries with a total capacity of 6.5 kWh. In other words, riders can expect up to 130 kilometers (80 miles) in one go. Thanks to that kind of range, the RQi-GT has the makings of an interesting commuter mobile.
Next up, the TQi-GT is a little more special because it’s the manufacturer’s first self-balancing electric three-wheeler. As if that kind of technological wizardry wasn’t enough, look forward to autonomous driving (or riding?) functionalities such as self parking.
The TQi-GT comes in second in terms of top speed (80 km/h or 50 miles per hour) but it features a similar range as the electric motorcycle. Last, but certainly not least, 5G connectivity translates to real-time vehicle diagnostics, remote start, and over-the-air updates for the two- and three-wheeler.
NIU plans to start production of the RQi-GT and TQi-GT for the U.S. sometime in the second half of 2020, and the first deliveries are scheduled a few months after that.
Damon Motorcycles unveiled its new electric motorcycle today at CES in Las Vegas, calling it “the world’s smartest, safest and most powerful electric motorcycle.”
My first thought: it can’t be both the most powerful and the safest.
Then I kept reading.
And I started believing it might be possible.
First off: the power. The Damon Hypersport has “over 200” horsepower, which is a lot for a motorcycle. But even more impressively, it delivers 200nm of torque at zero RPMs … the classic electric vehicle advantage. (Although how RPM means something in an electric motor is a mystery to me.) Thanks to that power, the bike has a top speed of 200 miles/hour.
Which, by the way, doesn’t sound very safe.
But the safety features are impressive.
As you’d expect in a motorcycle, they’re not about crumple zones or air bags.
Instead, they’re about intelligence. Specifically, predictive intelligence: what’s around me, where is it going and what do I need to avoid? The Hypersport will track the speed, direction and acceleration of up to 64 moving objects around the bike, Damon says.
Damon calls it the “CoPilot 360º advanced warning system.” CoPilot 360 uses cameras, radar and “other sensors” to know what’s around and alert riders to threats, the company says.
“We spent the last three years developing an AI-powered, fully connected, e-motorcycle platform that incorporates CoPilot, our proprietary 360º warning system … Damon motorcycles will be the safest, most advanced electric motorcycles on the market.”
– Jay Giraud, co-founder and CEO, Damon Motorcycles
That’s not just about what’s ahead of you. The system “looks around corners,” although I’m sure it’s not bending any laws of physics, and keeps an “eye” on the rear to see what might be coming from behind.
And, it will learn your driving habits and adjust accordingly, using onboard artificial intelligence.
“We prioritized data-driven thinking at the epicenter of the company, employing radical innovations in sensor fusion, robotics and AI,” Dom Kwong, the co-founder and CTO of Damon Motorcycles, said in a statement. “This level of deep learning and connectivity are unprecedented, ensuring each rider a smarter, safer and connected ride; not only for individuals but for entire communities, with the goal to reduce incidents worldwide.”
To connect riders and power the bike’s AI and other advanced features, it includes 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Of course, there are two big questions:
One: will riders actually be safer with warnings about oncoming objects, or will they prioritize what they see on the screen versus watching the road? Will a flood of alerts distract them or make them safer?
And secondly: with software, the devil’s in the details. Few transportation companies that aren’t named Tesla do it well. Will this startup be able to ship these advanced technologies in a usable, friendly and safe way?
Damon says yes, citing the foundation of their software:
“By building it on BlackBerry’s best-in-class technology that is safety certified, Damon motorcycles will be the safest, most advanced electric motorcycles on the market,” says CEO Giraud.
That’s BlackBerry QNX, which is built by the former mobile giant, now re-focused on software solutions.
Ultimately, we’ll know when the bike ships.
The Hypersport is available for pre-order now on the Damon website. Pricing begins at $24,995 before any applicable EV tax credits.
And the range? 200 miles on the highway, 300 miles in the city, according to the company.
2019 was a big year for the nascent electric motorcycle niche, and it looks like 2020 is going to start with another shock to the system with Vancouver B.C.-based Damon Motorcycles announcing some eye-opening performance numbers and cutting-edge safety tech for their upcoming machine, called the Hypersport. A prototype Hypersport and specifications were revealed Tuesday morning at the 2020 CES electronics expo in Las Vegas.
Damon claims the Hypersport will be be capable of some fairly hyper numbers, including 200 horsepower, a 200 mile-an-hour top speed, and 200 miles of highway range, as well as 300 miles of range in urban riding. Additionally, the Hypersport will be bristling with technology heretofore unseen on most any motorcycle, including on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics and a car-like rider safety system.
Damon had previously sent out emails ahead of the CES reveal teasing the fact that “200” was their “magic number,” so while it might have been easy to deduce those figures, they still stand out against the specs of competing bikes, which often struggle to achieve half of those performance figures.
A run of 25 premium high-spec bikes with a price of $40,000 will be the focus of an initial Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, while a more mass-market Hypersport will come in at $24,995. The crowdfunding campaign will complement additional financial backing from Round 13 Capital, Techstars, Fontinalis, Extreme Venture Partners and Pallasite Ventures.
Ahead of CES, Damon CEO Jay Jiraud told Forbes.com the Hypersport will feature their exclusive on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics package, called Shift, and an extensive rider awareness/safety system they call CoPilot. The Shift ergo system will be able to change things like seat height, handlebar height and footpeg location, changing the riding position from a tucked-in sport posture to a more standard-style sit-up arrangement for more comfortable city riding. The bike itself has the form of a sleek sports machine. And while a specific torque figure was not released, Jiraud told Forbes.com the Hypersport will make a “s**tload of torque.” Some of the features can be seen in this video from Damon:
Forbes.com was the first publication to take Damon’s two test bikes for rides this past summer, including the shape-shifting Hypersport prototype and another test machine outfitted with an array of cameras, sensors and electronics designed to give riders a digital heads up on what’s happening around them via a sensor package not unlike what many cars now feature.
Jiraud explained that his vision is to give Hypersport riders more comfort, range and utility from the bike, while also introducing pre-collision safety features that, as of now, have been largely missing from motorcycles while they have gotten ever more sophisticated in cars.
However, the CoPilot system will differ from the automotive systems in that it won’t have the ability to take over operation of the motorcycle; it only gives warning cues about possible dangers around the rider. The reason for the non-intervention is that a motorcycle is an inherently unstable platform, unlike a car, and unexpectedly taking control of the bike away from the rider in any way could result in a crash. Instead, the CoPilot system uses video screens, a rear-facing camera, multiple radar units and position sensors, small LED lights and handlebar vibrations to let the rider know what is happening around the motorcycle. Again, CoPilot does not activate the brakes or affect steering, although Jiraud did not rule out those features in some iteration much farther down the line as A.I. systems, vehicle interconnectivity and other technologies improve.
During a test ride of the system several months ago, I found the tech to be innovative and effective. While it does add some input to the rider while in operation, I found that even after a few miles, it became second nature to see, feel and understand the warning system’s cues.
Likewise, riding the sleek electric bike with the adjustable ergos was also interesting. While some modern bikes allow owners to tailor things like seat height, handlebar rise and footpeg placement, those adjustments typically have to be made with tools while the bike is stopped, and once made, riders are essentially stuck with them until they can be changed again with tools.
Damon’s Shift system works more like your car’s interior. Using a bar-mounted controller, the seat can rise and fall, the bars can move up and down and the footpegs will lift or lower. While the test bike had only two positions for the ergos, Jiraud said future versions would be more adjustable for a true custom fit. Best of all, the Shift system is adjustable while riding.
BlackBerry On Board
Damon CEO Jay Giraud has made some key moves to bring his vision of an electric bike with all the elements of the two test bikes rolled into one battery-powered package. A key development in the quest to get the data-hungry CoPilot system up to par performance-wise was a partnership with BlackBerry and implementation of the BlackBerry QNX suite to power and talk to the numerous sensors, radars and other tech involved in CoPilot. There will also be 4G cellular connectivity.
Once famous for their cellphones, BlackBerry has largely transitioned to a company that makes control systems that work behind the curtain in numerous data systems, with a focus on cars and medical equipment. The QNX system has been installed in over 150 million vehicles and is used by almost all top automakers worldwide, so it’s quite a coup for Damon to have them dip into the electric motorcycle world at this early stage.
Clearly, this is not Jay Jiraud’s first tech rodeo. While the Damon team was spooling up the Hypersport, Jiraud also added a key player in Derek Dorresteyn, from now-defunct but long-time electric motorcycle maker Alta Motors. Dorresteyn signed on as COO at Damon, which will need his expertise to tease out the promised performance figures for the Hypersport models. Even though both are legacy technologies, batteries and electric motors are two parts of a rapidly developing tech frontier that is seeing huge investments by both corporate and even state-sponsored players.
Jiraud told Forbes.com that Dorresteyn was in the midst of working on a “completely new” electric superbike powertrain system at Alta when the company closed up shop, and he brings a wealth of expertise to Damon. Among the bike’s tech features Jiraud talked about with Forbes ahead of CES was a 700-plus volt, liquid-cooled 20kWh battery pack for the Hypersport, which would be quite large for a motorcycle, but Jiraud says the Hypersports’ architecture can handle the battery pack and that the battery will not be the typical rectangular lump found in many current electric bikes. For comparison, the largest battery available on the class-leading Zero SR-F is just over 16kWh (the standard battery is 14.4kWh), with the bike tipping the scales at a tick over 500 pounds. Meanwhile, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire uses a 15.5kWh pack. Jiraud says he is planning on keeping the weight of the Hypersport under 500 pounds through design and weight-saving measures.
A Challenging Future
The transition of the motorcycle industry from gas to electric has lagged (with some exceptions) behind that of cars due to the challenges of design as well as the space and weight-sensitive platform a motorcycle presents, but battery and motor advances in the bike industry can also represent opportunities to the EV industry as a whole. With the addition of Dorresteyn from Alta, Blackberry’s QNX handling the tech and a clutch of investors, Damon may be in position to lead in terms of range, safety and power once the Hypersport arrives. But things can change fast in the EV world, so stay tuned.
The Damon Hypersport prototype bike can be seen at BlackBerry’s booth at CES 2020. Deliveries are slated for 2021.
– Damon to unveil flagship motorcycle, the ‘Hypersport Pro at CES 2020 in BlackBerry Limited’s (NYSE: BB; TSX: BB) booth #7515, North Hall.
– #FutureOfMotorcycling Interactive Experience will be open to all CES attendees in the BlackBerry booth from January 7 – 10, 2020
VANCOUVER, British Columbia and WATERLOO, Ontario, Jan. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Damon Motorcycles announced today that its CoPilot™ advanced warning system will be powered by BlackBerry QNX technology across its entire line-up of advanced electric motorcycles.
As part of the agreement, Damon has licensed BlackBerry QNX technology, including its industry-leading real-time operating system to serve as the safe and secure foundation for the Damon CoPilot warning system on its new flagship electric motorcycle.
Damon will unveil this disruptive, limited edition superbike, the Hypersport Pro™, and open reservations to the public online and at CES at 10:00am PST, January 7th. In BlackBerry’s booth, attendees will also be able to experience Damon’s next generation motorcycle first-hand in the #FutureOfMotorcycling Interactive Experience, a rideable, leaning stationary motorcycle that uses virtual reality to showcase the motorcycle’s unique features on the show floor.These features include its powerful all-electric performance, its CoPilot advanced warning system, and Shift™, its patented rider ergonomics that lets riders electronically adjust the Hypersport’s riding position while in motion. CoPilot uses radar, cameras and non-visual sensors to track the speed, direction and velocity of moving objects around the motorcycle. Attendees can book a time slot to experience it at CES by visiting damonmotorcycles.com/VR.
“We’re on a mission to unleash the full potential of personal mobility for the world’s commuters,” said Jay Giraud, Chief Executive Officer of Damon Motorcycles. “To address this, we spent the last three years developing an AI-powered, fully connected, e-motorcycle platform that incorporates CoPilot, our proprietary 360º warning system. By building it on BlackBerry’s best-in-class technology that is safety certified, Damon motorcycles will be the safest, most advanced electric motorcycle in the market.”
“With its advanced collision warning system, Damon’s new Hypersport Pro is a game-changing model for the motorcycle industry,” said Grant Courville, VP, Product Management and Strategy, BlackBerry QNX. “We’re absolutely thrilled to have them in our booth and look forward to showing off the highly-secure software that delivers enhanced situational awareness and increased peace of mind for riders. BlackBerry QNX is leading the way in next-generation mobility systems by providing a safe and secure platform for connected vehicles and beyond and we’re proud to work with Damon on this exciting advancement.”
BlackBerry QNX is a leader in delivering trusted embedded operating systems and development tools to companies for which failure is not an option. Committed to the highest safety, reliability and security standards, BlackBerry QNX has developed a portfolio of software and services with a proven record of helping developers deliver complex and connected next generation products. BlackBerry QNX technology is trusted in over 150 million vehicles and millions of embedded systems, including medical, industrial automation, robotics, energy, defense and aerospace applications. For more information on BlackBerry QNX, please visit blackberry.qnx.com.
With performance specs to be released at CES 2020, Damon’s industry-leading advanced prototypes are set to hit the roads in mid-2020 to the world’s largest mobility segment well overdue for a safer, smarter, zero emission solution. For more information on Damon Motorcycles, please visit damonmotorcycles.com.