ECO Question - Electric vs Gas

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by Gus PDX, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Gus PDX

    Gus PDX New Member

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    I live in Portland and I am thinking of doing a gas build. This is a very eco friendly place and I know I will get flack for it. But, maybe someone can answer this for me:

    What is really more energy efficient? Gas or electric? More specifically, lets say for the sake of argument you get 150 MPG with gasoline. How much electric do you need to equal that distance? From what I understand, electricity though 100% clean and the receptacle, is only 40% efficient to produce. It take a lot of coal, etc to make electricity.

    Ant thoughts?
     
  2. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Howdy Gus. Looking forward to what folks answer to your question. It is a hotly debated subject and folks have strong opinions.

    Ya got me wondering and I googled it but hard to decipher sales pitches from facts.

    Found this post interesting; http://www.mainspot.net/are-electri...-more-energy-efficient-than-gas-powered-cars/ Gotta read down some but many of the folks posted similar #'s and %'s

    But if some one on the street did give ya guff about an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) I would just say the mileage or ask if they own a car
     
  3. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    in my honest opinion when you compare cost vrs performance gas will always win
     
  4. mabman

    mabman New Member

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    The question you need to ask yourself is how many miles a day, and what would your longest trip that you see yourself wanting motor assist doing is? If you ride 20 miles and under per day and never want to exceed that by much then electric is your best bet.

    However if you want to go longer distances then gas will probably be best. Keep in mind that here in OR the limit is 35cc< and 24 mph. But the bright side is that it does allow you 4 mph more in legal speed. A 4 cycle 35cc like the Robin or Honda will do that all day long also. The problem is how to transfer that energy to the bike and I have come to the conclusion that the best way to do so is with a friction drive. Reduction gearing systems just rob too much power from a smaller engine and also parasitic drag on the bikes conventional drivetrain which makes it less like a bike when you just want to pedal.

    As far a the eco thing I don't have much of an opinion on that other than if you are conscious of reducing your overall usage of elec/fuel in a realistic way that is a good thing.
     
  5. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    mabman

    the steepness and amount of hills affect a Ebike much more then a gasengine powered bike. Some hills will kill a battery pack before you even reach the top
     
  6. mabman

    mabman New Member

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    Actually I don't find that to be true here in Oregon where I also live. I have a pusher trailer with a 16" wheel 1000w motor, legal here, running at 48v using a 12ah lithium battery that I can go 30 plus miles with averaging a little under 20 mph and it will go up the steepest hills better than my 4 cycle 49cc gas engine, not legal, that runs through the bikes gearing via a jackshaft. However the gas engine has better top end on the flat and will go all day long. So like I said, horses for courses.
     
    #6 mabman, Feb 28, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  7. kolomootro

    kolomootro New Member

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    get a gas engine .much better then electric.probobly cheaper,faster,goes farther,dont have to recharge,etc.
    i think you will like gas much better(even though i dont have electric)
     
  8. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    can pick up the 49cc hs with a 4g trans under $400
    31cc friction drive kit for $190 plus shipping
    can buy gas anywhere now charging a battery on the other hand....
     
  9. harry76

    harry76 New Member

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    The OP question wasnt whether electric or petrol kits were cheaper. It was which engine was more energy efficient/environmentally friendly.

    GusPdx Im not sure which is more efficient. Electricity isnt 100% clean because you did mention they burn coal to make electricity. That may be true, i dont know where you source your power from, but over here in Australia we can choose cleaner energy options.

    Alternative energy sources can include solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, nuclear etc. We can switch electrical energy sources with no impact or changes needed to an electric bike.
     
  10. donphantasmo

    donphantasmo Member

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    Gas is more noisy, less dependable, and a headache to deal with.

    With that said, I have a 66cc engine, and you can't give me a E-bike. I rode them before. For flat surfaces, they are pretty good. They need to be charged, and they are very quiet. You can get hit very quickly because people will not hear you zip up and down the street.

    I LOVE my china girl engine. It constantly need tinkering with, always needs adjusting, but that's the fun.

    And you also need to think, the battery in that E-bike. If it dies, it's gonna cost an arm and a leg to change. And when you charge it, where does that electicity come from? It's coming from somewhere.

    Go with a motor. It's more fun...
     
  11. biknut

    biknut Active Member

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    Electric is way more efficient, especially when you consider your batteries will always be dead, and you'll end up peddling 90% of the time to get anywhere. The other 10% will be waiting for the batteries to recharge.
     
  12. The_Aleman

    The_Aleman New Member

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    LOL biknut!

    Many people have the misconception that electric is greener than gas. The thing is, electricity is primarily generated by coal in our country, and batteries contain more dangerous pollutants than any gas engine. Not to mention, electric propulsion systems use precious metals that are currently monopolized by China.

    Gas engines are arguably easier to recycle and our country's infrastructure favors gasoline-powered vehicles. Gas engines are also cheaper and modern 4-strokes put out a fraction of the pollution they used to. You can fill up at any gas station in minutes and be on your way. No lugging around a battery charger and waiting.

    Also, electrics aren't necessarily more reliable. If you look at race entries vs DNFs for the last 4 motorized bicycle races, more electrics failed than gas. All that said, I don't have anything against e-bikes. But I can't help but chuckle at e-bikers who think they are being more "green" than a guy with a gas-powered bike. Time is money, and e-bikes cost more.
     
  13. Saddletramp1200

    Saddletramp1200 Custom MB Buiilder

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    That's a tough one. When I run out of gas I peddle to a store, Shut my gas valve off, add some oil, then half gallon of gas. I'm off and riding. Takes hours to charge a battery. I guess how valueable your time is, makes one or the other a better value. (c)
     
  14. takeitez

    takeitez New Member

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    While gas is much easier to deal with and can be very efficient don't kid yourself that you are more green then an electric bike. Some coal companies can convert a pile of coal to electricity with 97% efficiency.

    I do not and never plan on having an electric bike because I don't want to have to deal with charging it and that stuff but they really do have a much smaller impact fuel wise. It is also true that the components might be worse for the environment.
     
  15. happyvalley

    happyvalley New Member

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    Lol, just gotta chuckle with that one Aledude, and while of course you're right for the time being but that "infrastructure" is in place not because it's better, more efficient nor an accident but the product of more than 75 years of legislative lobbying by big oil and the automakers to build it with taxpayers dollars.
     
  16. The_Aleman

    The_Aleman New Member

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    A gasoline powered bike can be greener than an electric bike. I'm not fooling myself whatsoever. But that's not my point. My point is that electric is not as green as it's advocates make it out to be.

    Oh, and you have a source for this "97% efficiency"? Sounds like BS to me, it's impossible according to the laws of thermodynamics. According to the book "Standard Handbook of Powerplant Engineering" by Elliott, Chen, and Swanekamp, coal peaks at 33%.
     
  17. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Hotly debated issue. lets discuss this with good manners
     
    #17 Dan, Feb 29, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  18. vachon644

    vachon644 New Member

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    My main reason why I prefer gas engines over electric engines is the power you can get out of them and the costs.

    An electric engine producing 1000W (1.4 Horsepower) would cost me about 300$ on ebay. A chinagirl gas engine that would cost me about 175$ can do 1500W (2 Horsepower) up to 3000W (4 Horsepower) depending on the engine rpm, etc. Some engines could certainly do more than 4 Horsepower but I feel that it's a reasonable ammount (some sellers advertise 5, 6 Horsepower). That being said, the gas engine is a little more than half the costs of an electric engine including oil and gas.. for twice the power.

    That being said, my chinagirl can get me uphills quite easily but I certainly wouldn't be able to do the same job with only half the power.

    Also, I am studying small engine mechanics at the moment so I really like to maintain my engine anyway.
     
  19. takeitez

    takeitez New Member

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    Yes sorry if I offended any one. I guess I could have used better words then "don't kid yourself". I really wasn't trying to insult any one (especially you Aleman) I have a lot of respect for all of you.

    But to try and argue what I really do believe I want you guys to think about this.

    Just to keep things simple lets look at the company that sells ZERO motorcycles. They say that if cost about 1 cent for ever mile you drive. Now lets pretend on our perfect motorized bicycle you were getting 150 mpg and gas costs around 4 bucks a gallon then that you pay around 2.6 cents for every mile you drive. Remember that is is comparing a motorcycle to a motorized bicycle. The ZERO obviously has far superior performance. This is in no way an accurate comparison but it helps people get an idea.

    The reason I feel I need to at least try and protect the big bad coal companies is because they are putting me through school. My dad is an executive at Peabody. If any one wants to talk about it more in detail or wants specific sources for things that I have claimed then I am sure he would love to spend a day lecturing me up on all this fun stuff. Just pm me.

    After all of that I can say that I probable never will get an electric bike. The china girl I have now and the builds that I am planning are just to much fun.
     
  20. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    The average price for a good-quality electric bicycle is about $2,000. Most conversion kits even top the $1,000 mark. You can buy a full kit with SLA batteries for less than half of most others.

    being most gas bikes can be built for a lot less that leaves lots of $$$$$ to buy gas
     

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