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Electric drive systems to convert petrol motorcycles

By General Posts

by Satya Singh from https://www.rushlane.com

It’s good to know that electric two-wheelers are registering greater acceptability among users. However, sales of new electric scooters alone may take a long time to achieve the goal of 100% electric ecosystem. One also needs to focus on millions of fossil-fuel powered two-wheelers that continue to pollute the environment. The need of the hour is dedicated conversion kits that can be produced on a mass scale, are affordable and can be easily fitted in existing two-wheelers.

Saietta electric motor for Continental GT
UK-based Saietta Group specializes in developing electric drive systems for electric vehicles (EVs). It has come up with an electric motor that can be fitted directly onto Royal Enfield Continental GT. A number of tests are currently underway to assess overall performance and viability of converted Continental GT.

The company has plans to mass-produce the motors, once everything has been fine-tuned and perfected. These motors will also be distributed to Indian OEMs through Padmini VNA. The latter is a leading manufacturer of advanced auto components.

It is to note that Royal Enfield is in the process of developing its own range of electric motorcycles. These will continue to use the retro theme that can be seen on existing Royal Enfield motorcycles. However, it’s not certain when exactly these motorcycles will be launched. It’s also not certain if Royal Enfield will be able to dominate the electric segment, just as it does in 350cc to 650cc segment. It will be interesting to see how the king of thump performs in a green, silent world.

Hero Xtreme electric motor
Targeting the commuter segment, Saietta has converted a Hero Xtreme with an electric motor. This too has been equipped with a swappable battery system. As compared to charging an electric two-wheeler, a swapping ecosystem offers multiple benefits.

Batteries can be swapped within seconds whereas charging can take several minutes even with fast charger. Another benefit is that customers don’t have to invest in buying the battery. They just need to pay for using the battery, which works out much cheaper.

From a design perspective, it is obvious that converted Continental GT and Hero Xtreme will need some sort of a body kit. In their current form, the motorcycles come across as a work-in-progress unit.

Existing users of these motorcycles are unlikely to make the switch to electric until the visual shortcomings are take care of. Even though the motor is an innovative work and pioneering move by Saietta, one cannot completely ignore aesthetics associated with a motorcycle.

Company Website at https://saiettagroup.com/

Ethanol in the Courts and in Congress

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In the last few weeks, the ethanol industry has suffered two major court case defeats. Earlier this month, the D.C. Court of Appeals struck down the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule allowing for year-round sales of E15. In May 2019 the EPA issued a rule change ending a summer ban on the sale of E15 blend. Provisions of the Clean Air Act have prohibited the sale of certain fuels with a higher volatility from June 1 through Sept. 15, including E15. The court ruled that Congress did not intend to allow ethanol blends higher than 10% to be sold year-round and that the EPA overstepped its authority by implementing the change.

Not surprisingly, in response to the court ruling, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from major corn producing states introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to allow the year-round sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) and U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced bipartisan bills to permit the year-round sale of E15. The bill was cosponsored in the Senate by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tina Smith (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD). In the House Representatives, Cindy Axne (D-IA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Dusty Johnson (R- SD) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) were all original cosponsors of the bill.

This legislation faces a tough road ahead in Congress with a diverse set of stakeholders and lawmakers opposed to increased ethanol mandates. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation applauds the court for striking down the year-round mandate and will work with like-minded groups to oppose legislation that would reopen the door to the year-round sale of E15.

To read what pro ethanol Senators are saying about their bill and the need for year-round E15 click here. To read what pro ethanol Representatives are saying on the topic click here.

Also in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of a small Wyoming refinery that had previously been granted waivers from the EPA to comply with blending requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS, passed by Congress over a decade ago, recognized that small refiners face unique economic challenges to comply with ethanol blending requirements.

Congress delayed implementation of some requirements for small refiners and created a waiver process run by the EPA. During the Trump Administration the number of waivers given to refineries increased greatly and the ethanol industry sued to rescind some of the waivers. The decision by the Supreme Court last month opens the door for continued use of these waivers by refiners to avoid blending their fuel with ethanol.

Visit https://mrf.org/

What Green Regulations Could Mean for Classics

By General Posts

by John D. Stoll from Hagerty Media

What happens to old cars and motorcycles when there is a complete ban on manufacturing of new internal-combustion engine vehicles? Where do you get the petrol or diesel? How would anyone maintain or get insurance for these vehicles?

Curtailing tailpipe emissions is a centerpiece of the Biden administration’s clean-air strategy, and some lawmakers have pushed for a phase-out of gasoline and diesel vehicles within the next couple decades. Biden, the son of a car salesman and a collector himself, hasn’t shown an appetite to slap new rules at his fellow enthusiasts.

It’s nearly impossible to find industry experts or environmentalists who think such a ban would spell the end for classic cars but, growing sentiment against the internal combustion engine could cause collectors headaches in years to come.

An Environmental Protection Agency official told Hagerty Insider that the current wave of legislation and rule-making is aimed at mandating standards for new cars. “The public policy focus is on the future fleet, and what it will look like, especially on the pace of electrification,” this official said.

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Customised Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor sets speed record

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by Phil West from https://www.motorcyclenews.com

Who said Royal Enfields weren’t fast? Not Mid-Life Cycles, the dealer behind this special Interceptor 650 which recently posted a record 132mph at the Australian equivalent of Bonneville Speed Week.

Called the Sabre, the machine is based on a 2019 Interceptor 650 but puts out around 70bhp (up from 47bhp) and has been built to show the bike’s potential and as a test bed for parts and accessories to be offered to the public.

Created to conform to the ‘M-F 650’ class, an unfaired, production-based formula, the intention was to compete at 2020’s Speed Week at Lake Gairdner in South Australia, a salt lake similar to Bonneville in Utah, USA.

The pandemic scuppered those plans – until now, as rider Charlie Hallam posted a class record of 121.78mph first time out before gradually setting a new standard of 132.05mph. Not bad for an air-cooled, OHC parallel twin displacing just 648cc.

The engine has, of course, been heavily reworked, by specialists HRA Geelong. Although capacity is unchanged, as per the rules, the crank has been balanced, rods shot-peened and new pistons added to help raise compression to a heady 11:1 requiring 98 RON fuel.

Head and ports have been modified to flow as much fuel as possible and there are special custom valves while the single camshaft is now HRA’s ‘Competition Profile 1286 Racing Camshaft’. Open race pipes exit each side, the transmission’s gears were recut to reduce friction and special sprockets were made.

Although the frame is stock, the swingarm has been lengthened to the maximum permissible, suspension replaced by Öhlins front and rear, wheels are lighter, wider alloys, and ultra low clip-on bars and a more aerodynamically efficient front mudguard were fitted. Now the plan is for Mid-Life to offer performance and big-bore kits for the road.

“The 650 really lends itself to performance mods,” said Mid-Life Cycles CEO Michael Catchpole. “So we set out to build a Salt Racer using the standard Interceptor frame, as dictated by M-F-650 rules, but with a modified engine.

“We’ve kept the 648cc capacity but used various turning parts including a special cam developed by Hallam Racing. We’re also developing performance kits for the Interceptor and GT 650 road bikes based on using this cam, in Stage One, Stage Two, and Stage Three versions.”

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 breaks 4-year-old speed record at over 212 km/h
by https://www.financialexpress.com

The Mid Life Cycles’ Interceptor was entered in Class M-F 650, for 650cc un-streamlined motorcycles running commercial unleaded fuel. The old record of 191.93 km/h was set at Lake Gairdner in 2016.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 has broken a long-standing speed record in Australia. Mid Life Cycles’ Interceptor 650 Salt Racer has set the class record at the annual Speed Week run at Lake Gairdner, South Australia. The Interceptor 650 Twin broke the four-year-old class record on each of its runs, leaving the new mark at 212.514 km/h. The Mid Life Cycles’ Interceptor was entered in Class M-F 650, for 650cc un-streamlined motorcycles running commercial unleaded fuel. The old record of 191.93 km/h was set at Lake Gairdner in 2016.

The remarkable record was broken by Charlie Hallam on day one of Speed Week (Monday 8 March 2021), with his first run at 194.85 km/h. He backed that up with a 197.76 km/h pass, for a provisional record of 196.3 km/h.

On the morning of day two of the Speed Week, the Interceptor 650 clocked 206.29 km/h and 208.32 km/h for a new provisional record of 207.31 km/h. Charlie believed there was a little more to come.

That afternoon, the Interceptor ran 208.59 km/h and was then impounded overnight until it could do a back-up run the next morning. This run, under increasingly stormy skies, saw a stunning 214.04 km/h top speed, for a new record of 211.28 km/h.

The traditional twin-loop steel frame was carried over from the road bike to the racer, with minimal modifications allowed under the class rules.

This is the second time that we have established a remarkable feat with the Twins, in 2018, the Bonneville Racer recorded an impressive top speed of over 159 mph at Bonneville Salt Flats and this speed record is yet another remarkable feat for us. This recognition validates the tremendous progress we continue to make in our journey and we hope this will inspire many more motorcyclists to push their boundaries and achieve the pursuit of excellence, Vinod Dasari, CEO, Royal Enfield, said.

Motorcycle fuel tank device to check petrol quality in real time

By General Posts

by Abhinand Venugopal from https://www.rushlane.com

Soham Mohanty has created a device that can tell if the petrol being filled in your vehicle’s fuel tank is adulterated or not.

One could argue that Lexus sells some of the best-looking luxury vehicles in the global automotive market. The Japanese automaker, under the wings of Toyota, not only believes in good automotive aesthetics and design, but is also determined in finding out the right talent in this field.

As part of this, the brand’s Indian division recently concluded Lexus Design Award India (LDAI) 2020 and selected the creative design project by Soham Mohanty in the ‘Conceptual Category – Student’ stream, to be showcased at the prestigious Milan Design Week scheduled for April 2020.

Soham’s project, dubbed as Accufill, aims to bring absolute peace of mind to motorcycle riders in the world of rising fuel thefts at fraudulent petrol stations. Accufill is a piece of sensor-based equipment that employs ultrasonics to determine fuel density and quality, while also ensuring that the user gets the right amount of fuel for the price he/she pays. As we know, fuel isn’t cheap at all and prices are only seeing a climb.

In Soham Mohanty’s words, Accufill helps bring transparency between riders and the staff at various petrol stations. Basically, it is a user-friendly device to check petrol quality. By ensuring only the right content goes into the fuel tank, Accufill indirectly aids in improving engine life and reliability of related components such as the fuel-injection (FI) system.

To make a better understanding as to why a device such as Accufill is an important need, millions of litres of fuel are adultered each year; petrol with naphtha and diesel with kerosene. This information was shared by none other than the Indian Ministry of Transport.

According to SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), around 20 million two-wheelers (and counting) are sold in the country every year. For the same reason, if at least half of the new products are equipped with Accufill, there will be a significant drop in fuel-station-oriented frauds. To completely eradicate this in due course, all two-wheelers should come equipped with Accufill or a similar device, right from the factory or dealership. An advanced form of the device could be developed for four-wheelers and larger commercial vehicles as well.

Accufill is not the only design project/idea that will make its way to the Lexus Design Event at the venue of the Milan Design Week. Binayak Mondal’s ‘Able’ — an engineering solution that helps a person who cannot walk, easily transfer his/her body from bed to a wheelchair (in sitting position), without any external aid — also won LDAI 2020 in the Conceptual Work – Open Category stream.

The Lexus Design Award India 2020 panel awarded 12 design entries on social impact. A total of 885 entries were made from across the stretches of India.

This startup can convert any fuel-powered scooter to an electric scooter

By General Posts

As the automobile sector in the country prepares to embrace electric mobility with open arms, there are significant challenges to overcome. Meladath Auto Components offers a middle ground service of converting your regular automobile to a hybrid electric one.

The recent air pollution crisis in the capital city caused an inevitable hullabaloo in the region leading to the announcement of a public health emergency by the government.

The clamour to tackle air pollution in India and across the world largely center around getting more electric vehicles on our roads and limit the use of vehicles powered by internal combustion.

However, a rapid transition to electric vehicles in a country of 1.3 billion people is not a feasible option. The move is likely to cause a huge dent in the automotive industry and will leave massive amounts of vehicle waste.

Seeking an easier solution to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles with comparatively lower consequences, Rakesh Meladath Karunakaran along with his wife Winnie Gangadharan formed Meladath Auto Components in 2016, which can convert your regular petrol scooter into an electric hybrid scooter.

The two-in-one scooter

We are in an era where most mobility solutions are driven by fossil fuel, be it petrol or diesel. With the world looking at alternative fuels, electric vehicles are often considered the panacea.

“The problem is not in adapting the electric mobility solution. The issue would be what to do with the existing mobility solutions running on fossil fuels on the roads today,” Karunakaran told ET.

The 39-year-old former Mahindra and Mahindra employee believes that migrating to e-mobility solutions will lead to the challenge of vehicle waste management.

Despite a slowdown, according to a report by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the first nine months of FY 2019 showed a 5% growth year-on-year among premium scooter sales at 49,80,326 units.

“Promoting EV sales with subsidies will also add to the other problem like increasing vehicle density on road without removing the existing vehicles. This will put tremendous pressure on the limited infrastructure and existing problem of traffic congestion,” he explained.

Bengaluru-based Meladath’s e-kit is a retrofittable conversion kit for petrol scooters. The kit, once fitted in a petrol scooter, turns the vehicle into an electric hybrid scooter. As the name says ‘hybrid’, the scooter can be driven in both- electric and petrol mode selectively.

Karunakaran explained that in electric mode, after one charge, the scooter can be driven upto 40 kms after which the rider can switch to the petrol mode.

Further, the kit can be adapted to a scooter without any modifications and is a job of a maximum 30 minutes. It is also reversible, which means the electric hybrid scooter can go back to being a petrol-only scooter without any welding or cutting or fabrication job.

“This feature will kill the range anxiety of the present buyers with unlimited range at disposal and no lead time to recharge the battery to continue commuting,” he said.

The kit is universal and can be suited for most scooters with 10-inch and 12-inch steel wheel. It includes a removable lithium battery which can be charged with domestic power socket or regular power plugs, therefore, preventing the need of a charging station or a charging port near vehicle parking.

According to the entrepreneur, the idea will have a significant impact towards a healthier environment. The idea has the potential to help achieve 15% reduction in Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, which will further enable the target achievement of Indian Government by 2020.

Untapped potential

While the product is yet to be commercialized, the firm has registered their brand as ‘Ezee Hybrid’ and received over 30 dealership interest across PAN India, Karunakaran said.

Talking about entering international seas, he said, “We have the potential to deploy our Innovation in 11 countries of Southeast Asia like Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam where the petrol scooters are widely used and most scooters are similar to the scooters available in Indian market.”

Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President, India Business at VOLVO Construction Equipment India has been a mentor to Meladath since its early stages. “Karunakaran’s idea on electro mobility for the common man with the conversion kit for petrol scooters is an industry moving one and needs to be supported by all in the transportation ecosystem. The team deserves a good reward from the market for their innovation and I am sure it is just a matter of time when that happens,” Krishnan told ET.

Bootstrapped through personal savings and family money, Meladath received its first set of funds from ELEVATE 100, Karnataka government’s flagship initiative for startup development in the state, in May 2017. Among its mentors also include M Lakshminarayan, Chairman of the board, WABCO and Veerendra BK, MD, Lamda components.

Adding another feather in its hat, the firm was recently listed in one of the 15 winners of the Social Alpha Energy Challenge 2.0 by Tata Trusts.

Karunkaran said that the firm is now looking to deploy a pure electric scooter, which will be a Made in India product, as it is being built with ingenious power-train components such as Brushless DC (BLDC) electric motor, BLDC Motor controller, lithium battery pack, lithium battery charger and throttle.

“We are also working with the technology of charging the battery while the scooter is driven on petrol without hampering much on the petrol efficiency,” he added.