Anyone see an electric bike in their future?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Happy Valley, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    I wondered where the best place was for this but thought General Discussion better than the Electric Motors and Components's really directed at electric neophytes like myself thinking that maybe an Ebike may feature somewhere down the road in their future, (though if you already have an electric feel free to join in).

    I see a lot of creativity happening here on this site in the Ebike forum with innovations in different motor configurations and high output electric RC motors and battery tech. I'm following along there somewhat and a few other places and it seems technology is advancing and some of the things that initially held me back might be falling away. Still, there's the cost factor, though that might be dropping too.

    I'm curious to see the thinking with members here on this and their reasons ....whether due to changes that might come about in regulations, the next challenging step in motorizing a bike or what have you?

  2. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman Active Member

    My HT is a toy..Electric Bike??? Never
  3. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    I love my china girl, but I'm moving to Texas, where gas bikes a both tolerated and ticketed, depending on jurisdictions.
    I will probably build an electric powered beach cruiser with a hub motor. Motors up to 750watts are legal, but I haven't seen a 48v 750watt motor kit available. I weigh close to 200lbs, so I need the 48 volts.
  4. professor

    professor Active Member

    Yeah, I am thinking more about doing a friction drive electric on a stretched frame with the Greyhound 79 and alternator as an in frame genset.
    I am becoming less afraid of the reliability of the controller and throttle since bieng over at Endless-sphere for a while. Looks like a plug and play deal.
  5. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Why not just power the bike directly with the gas engine instead of losing all kinds of power due to system ineffciencies converting mechanical energy to electricity and then back to mechanical energy?

    As far as the subject of the thread goes - electric bike? Maybe when battery storage (range) and cost are comparable to a ICE (internal combustion engine) powered bike.
  6. AussieSteve

    AussieSteve Active Member

    All replies are from those without electric bikes, so far.
    As Al.Fisherman said, 'My HT is a toy'. Note, Ron, I didn't quote the next bit.
    My 2-stroke bike is a toy, but my electric is my real] transport.
    Guess which is most reliable?
    To me, both have their place. My little 2-stroke is fun to ride, reasonably quick at 50kph, about 120-150km range with 3L tank, but I wouldn't consider it reliable, by any means. (Besides the fact that anything over 200W is illegal here. Lucky for me, locally, the cops use discretion.
    On the other hand, 200W electric, (yep, only 200W), no fun to ride, not quick at 30kph, but reliable as you could ask for and with front and rear suspension, like riding a mattress.
    More power would be good, but I'm amazed at how much torque it has when compared to my ~2kW 2-stroke. Not that much difference, but no monos, (wheelies), on the electric.
    Much as I like both, if I were forced to give up one, I'd keep the electric.

    My 2 cents worth,
    ... Steve
  7. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I am a wild enthusiast of all things 2stroke. I have loved dirtbikes since I was a small child. I am thrilled by the sound of them and like the sensations of the vibrations they make. some people like Harley type engines (deep lower RPM sound wide pipes.) I like the scream of a 2cycl 2st engine wide open throttle.

    But I could enjoy the quiet rush of an electric bike.
    I am interested in the most practical and simplified vehicles. I think Electric bikes are coming along fast, like computers. The walmart electric bikes look like rotten 15mph junk to me.

    When I learn more about them, I plan to build one, to use like I use my HT: for personal expression, for gas savings, for avoiding paying the insurance tax and registration taxes.
    i think the (relatively) quiet sounds of electric bikes would be welcome as I commute at hours-before-dawn.

    So far, the biggest turn-off to me is battery cost. I also have a serious phobia of electric shock. Weight is also a problem on some types. "Electric bikes are pigs" someone said" and I imagine I would agree if I had to lug it into my dwelling every day.
  8. professor

    professor Active Member

    Arcguy, I am NY, where only E-bikes have recently become legal. I didn't want to deal with batteries and controllers. Well, just one 12v battery for the field circuit.

    My plan is to do a gas (roller drive) on one of my bikes, but I would not use it to go to a certain town where I work (where the police collect money for the town via tickets). And still do the gas/electric on a different frame where I can put it down in the frame and use the HF 79 (sweet engine!).

    If I lived in a motorbike friendly state, I would NEVER consider an e-bike.
    Right now, I am pulling the gas/alternator stuff off ( it was successful but 'way too heavy up top). So it becomes a normal home built Ebike again. Guess I"ll have to buy a 24volt charger for it.
  9. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    not likely... e-bikes suck. Batteries are toxic, and the range is a problem.
  10. alexander

    alexander Member

    ....batteries are toxic...he is petrol...
    but anyway, i know we will be having this same conversation in 20..40..years time...
    maby batteries will by then not be toxic anymore...but petrol will still be....
    and maby we will have the problem with 'RANGE' sorted by having eg. what the israelies propose (for cars)...a quick and easy battery swap at every petrol station....
    and maby the batteries will be so small and powerful that an ebike will be as light as a petrol one....AND with a range of 150km...
    and a home charging system that charges in 15 minutes....
    and maby petrol will by then be so expensive that it will cost the same to run a MB as it cost now to run a car....

    you might think i am a ebike user....far from it
    i do trips where i need nearly 3 litres of petrol (gx31, 4 stroke) to get me 'there' and home again and i go off road on that trip as well (gold nugget hunting with metal detector...) and a ebike would be totally useless for obvious reasons...
    but for pure road use, (i do weekly or once every 2 weeks a day road ride of 150km) i could imagine a hybrid electric/petrol where the gas motor charges the batteries when they get to a certain discharge and i would like a aero dynamic tadpole design (more comfortable) for that with weather protection....
    then the petrol engine would last longer (have worn out my gx31 in 2 years and 15000km (hard use))...less pollution in the city with the e-setup, no worries with limited range... etc. etc.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  11. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    Yup.....I had a electric hub in a pusher configuration for a while. I was happy with it considering its limitations as far as speed and range. It topped out at less than 20, which is fine for short runs. I plan on redoing and improving the design when I have the time. I think electric will become more popular as battery technology improves, and hopefully cost comes down.

    My reason is primarly because of legalities. For some reason the powers that be are more tolerant of electric. From an environmental point of view, I don't see electric as *more green* in the real world....but "ya can't argue with city hall". At least I don't have much success. I will say that it is kind of cool to silently glide by bikes and pedestrians on some of the trails, and they just think I am in really good shape......for an old fart. :grin5:
  12. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    only one problem with batteries aside from the toxic pollution... china currently leads in development, and owns most of the battery technology and lithium production.

    Good luck on them cutting us a deal on battery technology anytime soon...
  13. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    You have some good points there. I wasn't aware of China's *monopoly* on battery technology. Guess they have invaded more of "our" territory than I am aware of.

    Actually, I kind of like the idea of fuel cells rather than batteries. That would eliminate many of the objections to batteries. Or, maybe I should start building a mini-nucleur reactor. :idea::jester: That would get the neighbors talking......more than they already do. :whistling:
  14. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    If they could develop a good viable way to effectively produce hydrogen I would be totally on board... only problem is, to the best of my knowledge all attempts to produce hydrogen have lost energy in the process. IE you get less hydrogen than the electricity it took to produce it.

    sorry guys... hybrid and e-cars annoy me. I dont know when people will figure out that small cars like the honda fit, cobalt, and versa are the way to rid ourselves of foreign oil addiction. We need to learn that a full size pickup, suv, or 500 hp muscle are not the best daily drivers. You can have those kinds of vehicles too, but use them secondary to a small fuel efficient car for everyday things like errands and commuting.

    batteries are a waist of time and an overall distraction in R&D... I think in the grand scheme of things they will be remembered as a rube-goldburg solution to a more simple problem.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  15. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    More good points. Unfortunately, many energy conversions are energy it takes more bio fuel to produce ethanol than the energy you get from the ethanol. For electricity, I think solar, wind, and even nuclear are the energy of the future....barring an unforseen technology breakthrough like harnessing ocean waves or tides. You are spot on as far as using smaller and more efficient cars for the *daily driver* and use the Cobra as a toy. Present battery are probably right. What the future holds....have to wait and see.

    Using present and forseeable future technology, you have the obvious answer. Down the road....who knows. Part of the problem is the government trying to *legislate* solutions, which usually creates several new problems in the process of solving one. I kind of like the attitude that prevailed around the turn of the century. Those were the *golden years* of motorized transportation development.
  16. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    sounds about right... I wish that they would get yucca mountain back on track. That would have made nuclear energy much safer and therefore a more viable energy option for the future.

    D*** politicians...
  17. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Well, someone finally mentioned fuel cells.

    Vtec seems to assume that all fuel cells require hydrogen as their fuel - simply not true. You used to be able to buy a Swatch powered by beer. For that matter, fuel cells are in production that run on LNG, ethanol, butane, methanol, and various other petroleum based fuels. It is a matter of catalysis process design and layering.

    Want a hybrid e-bike, with the silence and relatively low environmental impact of electric motors as a prime mover? Want the range of an internal combustion power plant without the noise/smell/exhaust? Then take a look at where fuel cells are headed.

    Here is an example: - which runs on wood alcohol - methanol. Which is actually easier and cheaper to produce than ethanol.

    Oh, and the cost effectiveness of ethanol production is complex, but the biggest single driver is the feed stock. If you use agricultural land to grow feed grains (or sugarcane - see Brazil) it drives up the cost substantially, not least because then food costs more because of diversion of production, and your net energy production is at best break even, usually actually negative. If, however, you use as feed stack a non-grain based crop which grows well on marginal soils, such as switch grass, then the net energy produced is very much a positive number. Per unit of energy input into all levels of processing, switch grass sourced ethanol is typically 3 - 5 times more efficient than corn based ethanol.

    So, yes, a hybrid e-bike is seriously possible and becoming an attractive alternative, if the hybrid is petroleum fueled fuel cells and electric motors as prime movers.
  18. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    so... does the energy extraction/conversion work the same as with hydrogen???

    Is that how my catalytic tent heater works...I mean, similar to how a fuel cell in a car generates electricity???
  19. fasteddy

    fasteddy Member

    Well vtech I'll answer. Yes there is an e-bike in my futuer simply be cause in British Columbia the charges if you are caught riding a gas powered bike are having a unregistered, unlicenced, uninsured motor vehicle. The fine as I understand $5,000 and 2 years in jail. That's the maximum but I have no real desire to challenge them.

    The province is the insurance co. and they sell through themselves as well as private companies. You buy your plates at the same time you buy your insurance or get your tags if you renew.
    They, being the province, make the laws and control the police. One neat package.

    Gas powered bikes were seen as a problem by the province so when the Feds were drawing up the National Regulations for Mopeds/Light Motorcycles the only persons to show up were Ford and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia to look after thier own interests.

    Now we can have 500W motors that can go up to 18kms/20mph.
    I'm putting one on my side car build. I would prefer a 2 stroke but they are going into the trash just about every where.

    My thought is that we will see a whole new battery technology driven by the need for a non polluting power source in China.
    As they shut down the HT motors except for the few that will comply, the 4stroke or battery camps will set up.

    Batteries will be the winner in the end as the "green" crowd push for the end of all gas motors and the politico run after the money offered.

    The hub motor and the top of the line battery here are going to run about $1,500. Not happy times pricing but given the options it's the best way out and the only one.

    Can't wait to see how it runs to tell you the truth. I'm kind of betting that it will be a lot of fun.
    Wondering if a set of Caddy air horn can be set up so that you can ghost up behind the
    Spandex/skinny tire set and give them a blast.

    Who says an electric bike can't be fun?

  20. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Well, back on topic, after further reflection caused by this thread and one in the electrical components forum, I'm getting interested. What I have in mind is a recumbent tadpole, full suspension, power on both front wheels (maybe all three), onboard small 4 stroke powered generator to extend the range.

    I know, I know, why not just power it directly with the gas motor? Couple of reasons - it is this way legally an e-bike, as the motive power system is electric, but has the advantage of extended range.

    Hey, if a guy got really bold he could set it up so the rear wheel is free to caster, with individual throttles to each front wheel - think about the cornering capability that puppy would have! Not feasible for me with just one hand, but you could even go with single tiller bar steering with programmed response to slow the inside wheel and speed the outside wheel in corners - the tighter the corner, the greater the differential would be.

    In any case, for most purposes in urban usage, an e-bike is adequate. Not great, but adequate. So, daily commute with your e-bike if it is under 15 miles, keep the gasser for fun. Nothing wrong with that idea.