Three Great Electric Motorcycles For A Range Of Budgets

There’s nothing quite like hopping on a motorbike and hitting the open road. There’s promising news for consumers looking to get away from gas-powered vehicles. Electric vehicles, both automobiles and motorcycles, continue to make noticeable improvements in both performance and range. And while electric motorcycles may not be replacing their gas-powered cousins any time soon, the performance ability gains have been on a steady climb.

There’s no denying the demand for emission-free vehicles. However, when it comes to motorcycles, creating an electric bike that really sells and turns a profit is much harder than one might imagine. They can compete in performance, but range and price continue to hamper their competitiveness in the market. There are two kinds of electric bikes on the market today — the smaller pedal-style electric bikes best suited for city cruising and the more heavy-duty electric motorcycles that resemble the motorcycles we know and love. For this article, we focus on electric motorcycles that have more in common looks-wise with gas-powered, heavy-duty bikes.

Three Promising Electric Bikes

A silent motor, no shifting, cheap to run and sometimes quite fast — electric motorcycles do have a lot going for them. The electric motorcycle landscape is changing, which is good news for motorbike enthusiasts. Below are three notable electric motorcycles gaining a lot of traction on the market and the road.

Fly Free Smart Classic

If you’re looking for an electric motorcycle that’s a few steps above electric scooters, consider the new Fly Free Smart Classic. These EVs get bonus points for their classic café racer-inspired design. They have that favorite “race bike” look popularized in the 1950s, with lower positioned handlebars in line with the mono seat. And, even though they have a maximum speed of 50 mph (with two batteries), they offer everything the average commuter needs to zip around town and back and forth to work. An easily removable LG Lithium battery pack, mounted under the faux gas tank, has a range of up to 50 miles on a full charge. When you add another battery pack, you can double the range! Plus, after 700 cycles, the battery retains up to 70% of its initial charge capacity. The Fly Free Smart Classic features a 3000w electric motor with three-speed modes. You can switch from eco, city and speed, and since there are no gearshift or clutch levers, it’s a breeze to ride. Check the city sights in a Fly Free Smart Classic electric motorcycle and ride on! The MSRP now stands around $7,199.

Zero SR

If you’re looking to dip your feet into the world of electric motorcycles, a ZERO SR is an excellent choice. The Zero motorcycle company continues to improve its electric motorcycle models with higher horsepower and range. These electric motorcycles come ready to ride. They include a Z-Force lithium-ion power pack and an onboard charger. You can fully charge a Zero SR in three hours, and with an optional new Charge Tank accessory available, you can charge it six times faster than using a standard wall charger. And with a usual range of up to 197 miles, you can set your sights on the road ahead. Thanks to 67 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque from the motor, and a top speed of up to 102 mph, these electric motorcycles boast some decent speed and power, too. Ride with confidence. The power pack has 5 years/unlimited miles warranty. You can find a base model 2020 ZERO SR electric motorcycle starting at $16,495 MSRP. You can purchase optional accessories like the Charge Tank mentioned, as well as a Power Tank (not compatible if Charge Tank installed). If you are located near Houston electric Zero SR can be test driven by visiting Gulf Coast BMW.

Harley Davidson LiveWire

The iconic motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson is getting into the electric motorcycle market. The LiveWire had been in the prototype stage for five years before being released in the summer of 2019. Harley Davidson’s entry into the EV market has certainly caused a stir, which is great news for anyone interested in reducing their carbon footprint. It has the muscular shape you want in a motorcycle, with a sleek design that is sure to turn heads as you’re quietly zipping down the road. Speaking of zipping by. The LiveWire goes 0 to 60 in 3 seconds — and you can achieve instantaneous power without releasing a clutch or going through gears. Its high-voltage rechargeable battery features lithium-ion cells inside a finned, cast-aluminum housing. On a full charge, you’ll get up to 140 miles of city range, so they’re a great option for urban rides. A full charge battery also provides up to 88 miles of combined stop-and-go and highway range. You can charge this mechanical beauty in two ways. You can connect to a standard household outlet and get a full charge using the onboard Level 1 charger and power cord or, for a faster charge, find a public level 3 DC fast charge station and get a full charge in an hour. So, how’s the ride? A rigid, lightweight cast-aluminum frame provides precise, responsive handling and a thrilling ride. MSRP starting at $29,799, and is available in three colors. Visit a Harley Davidson dealer for a Dallas electric LiveWire test drive.

The Future

The general public may not have bought into the idea of electric motorcycles just yet, but manufacturers continue to push out more competitive models year after year. It’s just a matter of time before you start noticing more and more electric motorcycles zip on by the road.

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 Are Electric Vehicles Still The Future? Many Think So

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as the Australia-based futurist Ray Wills, electric vehicles will reach price parity by 2023. That sounds plausible. Slightly less plausible is the estimation that the majority of cars in production in Australia will be electric vehicles. 

Now this is Australia, but it also has far-reaching implications for America as well, given that “Professor Wills said last year, the global car industry announced a total $400 billion investment into EVs and in addition so far this year, another $100 billion forward investment up to 2025. “

Additionally, according to CNN, “Established carmakers around the world are ripping up their business models in the hope of adapting to a new world in which electricity replaces gasoline and diesel.” So although Tesla pioneered and made EVs accessible, they will most likely be overtaken as every major automobile players looks to jump on what seems to be an inevitable shift away from the more traditional automobile.

The focal point of that CNN article is Volkswagen, which can score some positive environmental PR with more sustainable cars–although it might take awhile to recover from their emissions scandal. By 2025 they Volkswagen is set to dominate the market. But overall, every automobile market will be saturated with EVs, which is great for the environment, after all.

Electric Vehicles by The Numbers

Larry Ashby of The Leader News says that “The number of electric cars worldwide has risen to 3.2 million, as of the beginning of 2018. Some 1.2 million are on the roads in China, followed by 750,000 in the U.S.”  And Ashby explains that there’s a huge profit in this for utilities who are raking in a lot of money from building charging stations, particularly in Texas.

According to Inside Climate News, “Some states have started requiring power companies to add charging stations. Other utilities are moving on their own to fill the gap and requesting permission to have their ratepayers cover the infrastructure cost.” And with projections for EVs to be 18.7 by 2030, you can bet that building these charging stations will see concerted efforts from the majority of utility companies in the industry.

How will Growth in EV Market Affect Texas

Electric vehicles are exciting technologies that may carry a promising future for a world that’s more sustainable and less susceptible to harmful climate change; but they also pose their own challenges.

The grid needs to be strengthened. As ERCOT recently declared emergencies because of low reserve margins, how will the grid provide even more electricity through the many charging stations that will have to serve these electric vehicles? Also, will more electricity demand just mean more reliance on fossil fuels?

Increased Efficiency: 3 Tips To Lower Electric Vehicle Charging Costs

electric vehicle chargingWhen pitted against each other in the arena of powering costs, the battery power of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle demolishes the fuel life of a gas-powered vehicle, hands down. If we compare the cost of a battery charge to the cost of a gallon of gasoline, powering a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle equates to about 75 cents per gallon of petroleum-based gasoline. But as electric vehicle owners know, the name of the electric vehicle game is not price per gallon, but rather kilowatts per hour — and electricity costs vary greater than that of gasoline.

Yes, electricity is cheaper than gas in general. But just like a fuel-powered vehicle, you have to work at maintaining — and even try to lower — costs to get the most out of it. How do you do this with an electric vehicle? Here are three methods of lowering your electric vehicle charging costs even further.

Increase Efficiency

One method to lowering charging costs in an electric vehicle is by increasing its fuel efficiency, which can be done in several ways. The first recommendation is to check your tires. Maintaining proper inflation and alignment reduces the level of drag your engine must combat against, therefore boosting your vehicle’s efficiency. But choosing tires with reduced rolling resistance is a smart place to start. These types of tires cut back on rolling resistance, or the energy lost during engine drag, and reduce this phenomenon by an average of 10 percent.

Understand Utility Rate Options

While utility companies help set the cost of electricity, the costs you see on your monthly utility bill are ultimately determined by your level and time of use. In essence, if you use more, you pay more. In addition, these rates can vary greatly from state to state, while peak-hour use changes based on location and seasons. Since peak-hour energy use can be exponentially more expensive than off-peak hours, electric vehicle owners must be aware of their utility rate plan and anticipate changes. With the national average being about 12 cents per kWh, naive electric car owners may find themselves paying double if they’re not well-informed.

Some utility companies are sensitive to the needs of electric vehicle owners and may offer special plans, like Southern California Edison. The California utility provider offers residential users four different rate tiers based on usage, though rates can range between 9 cents up to 31 cents per kWh. Southern California Edison’s optimal utility plan for owners of electric vehicles allows for the lowest costs between midnight and 6 a.m., at a rate of 9 cents per kWh. But consumers have to request this plan. In this case, knowing really is half the battle.

Get Your Perks

As Americans continually warm to the idea of electric cars and the benefits they bring to society, more and more incentives will become available to electric vehicle owners. For those current owners looking to charge in public rather than at home, there are a few networks that offer access to electric charging stations while you’re on the go. Though each network is designed slightly different, they can be broken down into three subscription categories: monthly, pay-as-you-go and free. Though free is always a bonus, some of the subscription networks are worth checking out.

Electric and gasoline vehicles may be in two different classes, but they share the same road — and all drivers should be able to save a little dough.

Real Time Map Of EV Charging Stations For The Dallas / Fort Worth Area

Are you in the Dallas / Fort Worth area and need to charge your electric vehicle?  Use the map below to find a charging station near you.



6 Of The Greenest Electric Cars of 2016

Electric Car FobVehicle-related air pollutants have decreased by 98 percent since the 1960s in Los Angeles, despite its residents burning three times as much gasoline and diesel fuel, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The study credits greener cars as the catalyst behind improved air quality. This goes to show that going green can absolutely make a positive impact on the environment. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Energy says that, on average, it costs about half as much to drive an electric vehicle as it does its gasoline-fueled counterpart.

Fortunately, there are plenty of green vehicle options on the market, ranging from hybrid to full-electric options. Here’s the scoop on some of the greenest cars of 2016 and their environmentally friendly features.

A3 Sportback e-tron

This sporty plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is part of Audi’s energy program. Its features include a carbon offset program, residential solar panel installation availability and a home charger. After running out of electric power, drivers can use auto mode to recapture energy and help recharge it while relying on its hybrid gas function.

Fiat 500e

With a single-speed transmission and 83-kilowatt electric motor, the Fiat 500e gets an impressive 87-mile range and 4-hour recharge time. The downside is that the vehicle is currently only sold in California. However, green enthusiasts can check out a site like DriveTime to find a used vehicle dealership in their area to find the model they’re looking for.

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt has made the cut for one of the greenest vehicles since its debut in 2010. It was one of the first modern hybrid vehicles and has helped usher in the mainstream eco-friendly car options. The earliest Volts had a 35-mile electric range with today’s model boasting 50 miles. Consumer Reports tested the latest Volt and found it made a smooth transition from electric to gas mode with an increased battery capacity compared to previous versions.

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius made an appearance in this year’s Super Bowl lineup of commercials. Like Chevrolet’s Volt, the Toyota Prius was a founder in the modern hybrid vehicle movement. The Prius gets an average of 50 mpg and reports indicate a smooth ride with solid acceleration.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf debuted its 2016 model with a stronger battery that increased from 24 kWh to 30 kWh of capacity. This year’s model also comes with NissanConnect, which has Bluetooth phone and text messaging capabilities. For drivers who are going to be away from their cars for a while or are eager to check in on its charging status, the Leaf also comes with a remote monitoring capability to check its charging status.

Hyundai Sonata

This hybrid plug-in comes in at 50 mpg and can run 24 miles on its electric battery before needing a charge and switching over to its fuel engine. Its combined hybrid battery and fuel tank get about 40 mpg on the road. The Hyundai Sonata also has a reputation for its quiet ride and improved fuel efficiency.

Cars are becoming greener and more affordable than ever. Drivers should check the U.S. Department of Energy website to learn more about tax credits of up to $7,500 for all-electric and plug-in hybrid car purchases in or after 2010. Credit amounts vary on the battery capacity required to power the vehicle. Green drivers may also qualify for state or local incentives just for driving eco-friendly vehicles that are sporty, fun to drive and less damaging to the environment.

EV Sales Up In 2014, But Electric Cars Face Two Major Challenges

electric vehicleIt’s heartening news for the green crowd: Sales of electric vehicles were up another 23% in 2014, selling almost 120,000 units. The Nissan Leaf led the pack, followed by the Chevy Volt, the Tesla model S, the Toyota Prius PHV, and the Ford Fusion Energi. Plug-in electric vehicles ended the year with a 0.39% share of annual U.S. sales, which may sound piddling, but overall the trend is upward. However, before sales can significantly increase, EVs have to overcome a couple of serious obstacles.

Although sales in 2014 increased over the prior year, they did not continue the incredible trajectory represented by the 85% jump between 2012 and 2013 sales, which was spurred on in part by high gas prices. In 2014, gas prices began to plummet, and although sales of EVs haven’t declined, the lower prices could prove to be a major stumbling block. It has already affected hybrid models, whose market share dropped to 2.2% in December, the lowest since October of 2011. Electric models were at .5% in December–well in the throes of the oil-price slump–which was higher than their average annual share.
What makes cheap gas attractive isn’t necessarily inertia or an anti-green sentiment on the part of potential buyers: it’s the difference in the price of the cars themselves. Because batteries are extremely expensive, electric models, like hybrids, are priced significantly higher than their run-of-the-mill, gas-guzzling cousins.

Traditionally, there have been two main selling points for these cars: The environmentally friendly, helping-the-planet factor, which is a good feeling but rather intangible financially; and the money-saving angle: Spend a little more money on the green model, the thinking goes, and you can laugh all the way past the pump, where the poor slobs fill up their tanks yet again at usurious prices while you charge up your EV in the comfort of your own garage, for pennies. However, the extra several thousand dollars on the sticker becomes harder to justify when gas prices are so cheap that making back your investment might take a couple of decades, which is a bit past a typical car’s average lifespan. There are gas models out there now that get high mileage already, so it’s even harder to justify the extra expense.

The other major hurdle is infrastructure. While there are 125,000 gas stations in the United States, there are only 151 Tesla Superchargers. EV buyers are understandably bothered by “range anxiety”, the fear that they may get stuck somewhere if they run out of battery power. There are some very useful websites and apps like Plugshare, which maps the closest plug-in stations, including private chargers that can be shared by members, public chargers, and even superchargers. In some areas, this can still be a concern, though: According to Plugshare.com, the city of Greensboro, North Carolina, for example, with a population of 277,000, has only four public charging stations. One is at the airport, and the other three are at car dealerships. How confident would you feel driving your Prius into the BMW or Nissan dealership for a charge?

Fortunately, strides are constantly being made to improve infrastructure and battery technology, as well. Tesla, one manufacturer who has enjoyed a consistent sales boom (its high-end models are purchased by people who are less concerned about price and can afford to go for a vehicle based solely on its environmental friendliness, or simply for the fact the Tesla makes snazzy, high-performance cars that are fun to drive), is building its Gigafactory plant in Nevada to improve battery efficiency and to reduce production costs. And engineers continue to pursue the ultracapacitor, a lightweight power storage and discharge unit that would alleviate the need for a cumbersome, expensive battery. The technology is out there, and it’s coming soon. And with no guarantee that gas prices will continue to fall, especially since oil rigs are liberally shutting down, reducing supply to get more balanced with demand, electric vehicles are still a good bet for the future.

Cutting-Edge Technologies & DIY Conversions For Alternative Fuel Motorcycles

From the mountains of Afghanistan to global vehicle expos and racetracks to home garages, alternative fuel motorcycle innovations continue to green the biking landscape. Here’s a roundup of how eco-friendly advancements are shaping the motorcycle industry and these customizable two-wheel machines:

Military Motorbike: Stealth Weaponry

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently partnered with San Francisco-based electric motorcycle manufacturer BRD Motorcycles and Logo Technologies, a defense contractor, to design a hybrid bike — the latest in motorcycle tactical weaponry. Researchers envision a hybrid motorcycle powered by a stealthy electric motor and an engine that can burn various fuels, including regular gasoline, jet fuel and diesel, according to CNN.com. BRD’s all-electric RedShift MX serves as the foundation for this motorbike prototype, and elite U.S. fighting forces are eagerly anticipating its 100-mile range and advantageous silent performance.

Michael Golembesky, a former Marine Corps special ops staff sergeant, is familiar with vehicle-dependent warfare. He carried out anti-Taliban missions on four-wheeled, all-terrain vehicles. Since leaving the service in 2010, Golembesky told CNN Marine special ops adopted motorcycles as part of their defense on harsh topography. With the extra mobility and maneuverability, troops on bikes can launch a surprise assault, move constantly to keep enemies from knowing their location, and block enemy escape.

Cutting-Edge Revolutions: Fuel Cell, Solar Power & Electric

Away from the trenches, leading motorcycle makers continue to take alternative fuel motorcycle technologies to unforeseen heights. Hydrogen fuel cell? Solar-energy powered batteries? These technological visions became two-wheeled green realities.

iON Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept: Hero MotoCorp, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, recently introduced its iON electric concept bike at the Auto Expo in India. Equipped with advanced lithium-air (Li-air) batteries and a hydrogen fuel extender, the bike can reach speeds of 99 mph and travel 180 miles on a single charge. The iON uses unconventional ‘M-Link’ and ‘Flex Axis’ technology, states Visordown.com. Other unconventional parts include hubless magnetic wheels and handlebar control buttons, as well as front and rear rotation and suspension systems for optimal steering.

Solar-Powered Lighting Motorcycle: Although 99 mph is fast, it’s nothing compared to the Lightening SuperBike’s 218 mph top speed. Last year the street-legal, solar-powered SuperBike won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The battery-powered motorcycle charges its battery with solar energy and achieves high mileage with regenerative braking. Featuring a liquid-cooled 125 kW electric motor, the SuperBike demonstrated how clean technologies are at the forefront of world-class performance.

RedShift MX: Inc.com calls the RedShift MX by BRD Motorcycles more than a “supercool dirt bike.” It’s a 40-horsepower machine and “green demon” that jumps from zero to 60 in 3.3 seconds. With a single charge, the next-level bike can cover 50 miles and run for 1,000 hours before needing an oil change. Intermediate riders and pro racers can even upgrade to the Supermoto model for $500 and speed along at 85 mph, all while reducing their carbon footprint.

DIY Motorcycles: Electric & Veggie Oil Conversions

Not every eco-friendly adrenaline junkie can experience the unconventional technologies of a hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle or throw down $14,995 to feel the power of an electric two-wheeler. But with a little DIY dirty work, some eco-enthusiasm and basic motorcycle parts, anyone can help the earth by building and riding an electric or vegetable-oil powered motorcycle.

Home Electric Conversion: Marque Cornblatt, a contributor for project-sharing website Instructables.com, provides an 11-step guide on how to make an electric motorcycle conversion. He turned a Honda Rebel 250 junker into a clean quiet commuter bike in San Francisco. The first step is to find a solid bike to use for the framework, then buy some parts at an online streetbike store to make it safe and street-legal, including the lights, brakes, wheels, tires, and shocks. Once the electric components are gathered, the bike is ready for a electric-conversion remodel and energy-efficient redesign ready to charge.

Pure Veggie Oil: Straight vegetable oil, along with biodiesel, is an alternative fuel source for bikes with a diesel engine. First, install a diesel engine without rubber seals and ensure the transmission ratios are compatible with the engine’s RPM. Then install a vegetable oil fuel conversion kit into a second gas tank and an auxiliary fuel system. Activated by a switch, the auxiliary fuel system will shift the engine from diesel fuel to vegetable oil. Keep in mind it’s best to run your bike on regular diesel or biodiesel fuel during cold temperatures.