Are we in the electric Vehicle Revolution?

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biknut

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2010
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I think we've reached the beginning of the electric vehicle revolution. It started almost unnoticed with Chevy Volt's. Actually I think the real beginning was started by cell phones, and lap tops. They taught us we could use our electric stuff by day, and charge at night. That lead the way for Chevy Volt's, and Leaf's, but now the major player is Tesla. Tesla's with their 400 hp, and 4.4, zero to 60 mph is serving notice to the auto world that electric's have arrived big time. In something like a year and a half from now Tesla is coming out with a lower cost car said to be in the $30,000 range. BMW has now announced that they're coming out with their own electric car soon.

In the bike world we have Zero's, and Brammo's. These bikes are showing up in Cycle World magazine on a regular basis now. At least 6 times last year by my count. There's now an electric Moto GP on the Isle of Man every year.

In the bicycle world home builders were leading the way, but now there's tons of manufacturers making factory electric bikes for the masses. Price has been the major obstacle as high end electric bicycles were previously in the $30,00 to $80,000 range, but then company's like Stealth Electric bikes arrived on the scene with extremely high performance motor bicycles at a fraction of the price of these previous high end bikes.

I think the main problem so far wasn't the price, but was performance. Chevy Volt's, and Leaf's just don't have it. Tesla's do, and even though they're vastly more expensive price hasn't been an obstacle to success. Stealth electric bicycles are now in the same position. Sales are starting to sky rocket driven by mind blowing performance possible from electric vehicles. The power delivery of a powerful electric is so much more satisfying than an ice motor you won't ever want to go back.

Once this fire is started it will rage out of control for years until electric vehicles take complete control of the market. I'm pretty sure we're seeing the start right now, right before our eyes. It's the same thing that happened to the buggy whip factory's all over again.

Acceptance for the time being is still hard to come by for hard core skeptics, but it's getting harder and harder to argue in the face of success of these vehicles. Success driven by performance, and quality. I ought to know, because I used to be one of the most ardent skeptics, so when you see guy's like me won over, you know it's only a matter of time now. Prepare to be assimilated, you can't fight the Borg.
 

Mike B

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Mar 23, 2011
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Performance was never an issue for me. I like to go 20 on a bike. If I need to go faster, I'll take the car or the motorcycle.

The big pluses for me are; no noise, no stink, no vibration, no maintanence. No parts falling off as you go down the road. Nothing to check over before you ride except tire pressure just like a pedal bike. They really are "plug & play"
 

biknut

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2010
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Performance was never an issue for me. I like to go 20 on a bike. If I need to go faster, I'll take the car or the motorcycle.

The big pluses for me are; no noise, no stink, no vibration, no maintanence. No parts falling off as you go down the road. Nothing to check over before you ride except tire pressure just like a pedal bike. They really are "plug & play"
Can't argue with any of this, because it's all absolutely true. I really enjoy the silence. silence opens the door to acceptance in many ways..
 

Pablo

Master Bike Builder & Forum Sponsor
Dec 28, 2007
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I think we've reached the beginning of the electric vehicle revolution.
I agree. And I think we have the flexibility to be ahead of production cars in battery technology. Frankly, good IC cars will be around for awhile, but electric bikes will quickly move ahead IC motorized bikes relatively speaking percentage compared to electric cars :: IC cars. Once you get a 48V bike with a good AH battery, the negatives of a 2 stroke engine really start to bug you, and the positives of the electric bike really are just starting to shine. People say I'm nuts. I will even concede that. I'm the nut with solar panels charging my bike batteries when the grid is down and HC fuels are gone.
 

wheelbender6

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Sep 4, 2008
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I trust battery electric powered vehicles only when the vehicle offers an "additional" method of propulsion when the batteries are depleted. That pretty much limits my list to electric assisted bicycles and hybrid autos. I guess the Volt would be included since it provides a gas generator to charge the batteries.
I don't want to be stranded.
My commute is short enough that a Nissan Leaf would suffice. However, I would prefer to build an electric assisted, all weather (mostly) velomobile for under 5 grand.
 
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2door

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 15, 2008
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I have no doubt that the future will see the total demise of IC vehicles. What I hope is that I won't be around to see it. You have to understand the generational aspect of this. No different from any resistance you'll see from the older folks who were raised with a certain technology, because there are facets of that technology that they have come to know, be comfortable with and even revere.

The 'sound' and 'feel' of an internal combustion engine are major factors in the enjoyment I get from my bikes. I like the mechanical sounds, even the smells from burning fossile fuels and the sensation of the engine winding up into its powerband.

I'm not foolish enough to resist the "revolution". That would be as pointless and Don Quixote battling windmills, but I doubt seriously that I will join it. So don't look for an image of me, mounted astride my steed, lance at the ready and charging a...hub motor:)

Tom
 

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bluegoatwoods

Active Member
Jul 29, 2012
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I agree with the enthusiasm for electrics. I like 'em, too.

But I've yet to see them exploding in popularity. Looks to me like they're barely treading water.

I wish them success, but I think the jury's still out on that.
 

Pablo

Master Bike Builder & Forum Sponsor
Dec 28, 2007
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I agree with the enthusiasm for electrics. I like 'em, too.

But I've yet to see them exploding in popularity. Looks to me like they're barely treading water.

I wish them success, but I think the jury's still out on that.
Almost as popular as two smoke engines with the general public and the girlie set!!

Look at the companies like Felt going electric, look at bike shops, look at my sister in law on an electric. You just aren't looking in the right places. Places with outright hatred of IC engines, will allow electrics. A quick search for articles in the WSJ, NYT, LAT, OC Register, etc.....I agree it's not boiling YET. But the pot is on the stove, the switch has been located. Next gasoline excursion near $5, watch out.
 

Mannhouse51

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Jun 2, 2011
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West Michigan
Very well said biknut ! It took me a couple of years tinkering with my china girl and a couple of boxes of parts (wrecked parts) to realize...there must be something better. Once I rode my e -bike once, I was hooked. I'm sure If I added all my ht kits and parts up that are no good , I'd be shocked...thats why I'm not doin it ! LOL..I'm just movin on.
 

Mike B

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Mar 23, 2011
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Exactly.

How many happy time retrofits are you going to see at your local bike shop?

How many do you see at the local Walmart?

Ebikes are at these places now. In front of the mass market. Don't have to be smuggled into the country as "parts". Don't need EPA or CARB approval. Relaxed state laws re license & registration too.

Nah, it's the 2 stoke happy time motors that are doomed, not electrics. Electric bikes have the green light all the way - :)
 

paul

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Dec 23, 2007
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i think we will see hydrogen fuel cells for electric bicycles and cars in the near future, they are currently made mostly for heavy machinery like fork lifts and however fedex just put a lot of money into the development of them for their delivery vehicles. they are saying that a small fuel cell will increase the mileage per charge by up to 70%. truly exciting times ahead for the electric transportation industry
 

wheelbender6

Well-Known Member
Sep 4, 2008
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"Carry your small charger in a saddle bag or just carry a second battery."
I take my charger when commuting and recharge at work.
I still wouldn't trust it if I couldn't pedal it. Batteries have good days and bad days.
 

fasteddy

Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2009
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We are in the cusp that my Dad often described where the lovers of horses wouldn't give them up for gasoline powered vehicles but eventually were pushed into them by laws being passed and the undeniable fact that they were superior to horses.

All that the electric vehicle needs is a better power supply and they will be the vehicle of choice and as Tom said the smell and sound of an internal combustion engine will be left to old men's memories. For the IC engine to survive there will be a need to change over to natural gas for fuel.
It ships more easily than oil or gasoline and if there is a spill it doesn't get into the water.

As Paul said there is a reason that FedEx is putting money into fuel cell technology. They see it as a way to the future.

Until Ford developed the Model T and put the world on wheels and made it possible to go miles on in a vehicle most vehicles were electric and used in cities and towns. To connect the cities and town they used interurban trains and the railways.

As a kid I remember the small towns where I lived closing down on Wednesday afternoon so the store keepers could go down to the train station where they would pick up their orders that had come in the day before. Thursday the train crews picked up the empty boxcars as they went back to the city.

Steve.
 

wheelbender6

Well-Known Member
Sep 4, 2008
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That reminds me of the Speed Racer episode where that guy still rode a horse and hated cars. He carried a bull whip and would snap it at the cars.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0813757/
The analogy from fasteddy using the model T and train is very astute and pertinent. These days, we complain about the unreliability of passenger trains.
 
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bluegoatwoods

Active Member
Jul 29, 2012
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"I have no doubt that the future will see the total demise of IC vehicles. What I hope is that I won't be around to see it...."---2door
I kinda doubt, actually, that the internal combustion engine will become obsolete. It'll probably be a long, long time before electric drive trains can be so versatile so inexpensively. We have seen big advances in power in small electric applications in recent years. But they're either not cheap or they're not long-lasting.

"Places with outright hatred of IC engines, will allow electrics. A quick search for articles in the WSJ, NYT, LAT, OC Register, etc.....I agree it's not boiling YET. But the pot is on the stove, the switch has been located"....Pablo
There does seem to be internal combustion hatred in some 'liberal enclaves' or places that aspire to sophistication. But most of the USA, and perhaps the rest of the 'first world' is still solidly pro-internal combustion and likely to stay that way for a while. But I'd be willing to bet that Southern Cal is getting as sick of traffic as anyone. That's not hard to believe.

Now my reasoning will all go straight down the drain if, say, crude oil shoots up to $200/barrel and stays there. Of if there's ever a stiff carbon tax on a gallon of gasoline. But those things don't appear likely.

And I seem to have lost Paul's quote about hydrogen fuel cells. While they're great, I wouldn't hold my breath looking for a whole lot of them anytime soon. Developing the infrastructure to provide really large amounts of the fuel will take a long time. And that's if it's cost effective at all.

But please don't think that I'm merely scorning the dream. I hope that small (and large--where needed) electric drive trains do become cheap and common.

But not many people are going to buy $1000, and more, bikes anytime soon. Even the, roughly, $500 Curries will only draw hardcore bicycle lovers. When something like an ultra-small car (whether electric or internal combustion) becomes available at similar prices, then I'll be expecting the 'revolution'. We also need to be prepared to force our 'leaders' to allow them on the roads or the whole thing'll be nipped in the bud.

Even though I happen to be one of those who fear CO2 pollution, and pollution in general, I think there's still room for the internal combustion engine in a 'sustainable' future. As long as personal transportation gets smaller and used less. If our society builds a nation on wheels that's composed of Volts and Leafs, then generating that much electricity is going to pollute more than we can afford. (Though I'd be okay with minimizing that through nuclear power and solar/wind. Don't think it can be done with solar/wind alone.)

So God Bless the electrics. But the internal combustions will have a place right alongside them.
 
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biknut

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2010
6,632
411
83
Dallas
I have no doubt that the future will see the total demise of IC vehicles. What I hope is that I won't be around to see it. You have to understand the generational aspect of this. No different from any resistance you'll see from the older folks who were raised with a certain technology, because there are facets of that technology that they have come to know, be comfortable with and even revere.

The 'sound' and 'feel' of an internal combustion engine are major factors in the enjoyment I get from my bikes. I like the mechanical sounds, even the smells from burning fossile fuels and the sensation of the engine winding up into its powerband.

I'm not foolish enough to resist the "revolution". That would be as pointless and Don Quixote battling windmills, but I doubt seriously that I will join it. So don't look for an image of me, mounted astride my steed, lance at the ready and charging a...hub motor:)

Tom
Absolutely agree with you all the way except till after you feel the high voltage torque, then all of a sudden BAM you go from Fred Flinstone, to George Jetson.