November 3, 2010
|Honda DN 01 Cruiser - electric motorcycle|
NEW YORK (RPRN) 11/03/10 — by Bear, President and Founder of Old Bike Barn
- How long will it be before motorcycles run without gas? It’s a question for the ages, or the engineers. Now that cars and trucks are scaling back fuel usage and converting to electric power, don’t kid yourself, motorcycles won’t be far behind. There will always be a place for the classics, mind you, just the same as there’ll always be a place for classic cars – though perhaps alternative fuels will allow us to retain the internal-combustion engine without using fossil fuels.
For the moment, there’s a heavy emphasis on electric power, and what can be accomplished with the new generation of electric motors. There are plenty of examples of home-built and independent production electric motorcycles on the internet and at small dealers nationwide, but they all seem to lack the refinement necessary for mass production. At best, many of these are little more than science projects. However, there are a small handful of companies, including one major motorcycle company, with their eye on the future – creating highway-legal motorcycles powered only with electricity.
There’s going to be some diehards, particularly in the “Loud pipes save lives” front who tell you that gasoline motorcycles will never die, that there’s no replacement for the power that an internal-combustion engine produces. I was anti electric bike at first myself, but we would be foolish not to accept the way things are headed. For now it’s just another growing part of our sport, and I have to support anything on 2 wheels!
There were many non-believers when the new breed of inline four-cylinder engines was poised to dethrone the almighty V8 in the nineties. Never, they said, would a 4-banger be able to produce the power of a V8. Those people are currently eating their words, regardless of whether they’ll admit to it or not. Take for example the new generation 2009 Camaro V6 engine, which produces 300 horses, and delivers passable fuel economy for that power range. Just a handful of years ago, the 300-horsepower fuel-efficient V8 engine was a technological breakthrough in a production automobile. Electrics have the capacity to follow that same technological advancement
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