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Super Soco TSx Is The Future Of Beginner Motorcycles

By | General Posts

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

By | General Posts

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

By | General Posts

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.

Futuristic SA motorcycle to go into production

By | General Posts

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.

Electric scooters can help cities move beyond cars v pedestrians

By | General Posts

by Alex Hern from https://www.theguardian.com

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.

Chinese Startup NIU Reveals U.S-Bound Electric Motorcycle, Three-Wheeled Scooter

By | General Posts

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.