What do Cows and Motorcycles have in common?
If you have been following the news over the past few years, you will be excused for thinking that the world is about to die a premature death as a result of all the fumes that are being belched into the sky on a daily basis. Unfortunately, cows and motorcycles are, according to experts, among the biggest culprits. The environment is, of course no joking matter. You only have to look at all the efforts that are being put into finding green energy sources to realize how serious the issue is.
Motorcycles pollute more than cars
To be fair, nobody has ever accused motorcycles of being gas guzzling. The one thing that most people do not realize, however, is the fact motorcycles, despite their frugality when it comes to fuel consumption, actually tend to be more polluting than cars. So, the next time that you go puttering along in the middle of the road on your bike, just consider the fact that you are probably releasing a lot of noxious fumes into the atmosphere than all the other vehicles that are around you.
The idea of having green motorcycles is one that, we have to admit, is far from most people’s minds. There is something about their sizes that makes them appear a bit…harmless. However, as we have already noted, your bike could actually be doing more harm to the environment than any other vehicle that’s on the road today. That is why there has, in recent years, been movement towards the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies when it comes to motorcycles.
Will it have takers?
The idea, we have to admit, tends to be cringe-worthy for most riders. The big issue in this regard lies on whether or not it is possible to come up with a bike that not only is green, but one that also retains all the thrills that can be found in current motorcycles.
One of the major challenges in this regard is the fact there haven’t been that many changes in motorcycle designs since their invention by Gottlieb Daimler in 1885. There is only so much that you can do on such a tiny vehicle, right?
Alternative Energy Sources for Motorcycles
Recent years have, however, witnessed a notable shift towards the adoption of green technologies for motorcycles. Energy sources that are being explored by the motorcycle industry include battery and hydrogen technologies.
Electricity, which is stored in either conventional batteries, as is the case with other electric vehicles, or in hydrogen fuel cells, represents the best option when it comes to alternative ways of powering motorcycles.
The thing that makes this possible is the fact that motorcycles are not as large as other vehicles. This makes it easier, once people have bridged the perception that exists that bikes are not that polluting, for them to be electrified.
You don’t actually need to spend that much time charging a motorcycle. There is also the possibility of having hybrid motorcycles, which would be great, particularly for the adventurous. A purely electric bike would probably not be truly conducive for daredevils who need to, now and then, go off the beaten path.
Green Motorcycles: The questions
If you think trying to change our driving habits by introducing energy efficient vehicles is limited to companies such as Tesla, then you would be sorely mistaken. A number of companies out there are looking to introduce the same concepts for motorcycles. There are, however, a number of questions that green motorcycles need to answer before they can be widely adopted by the motorcycling public;
Power: Can Electric Motorcycles be up to par?
The first concern when it comes to green motorcycles, such as those that run on hydrogen or on batteries, lies on whether or not they will retain or surpass the power of conventional motorcycles.
One of the things that have to be taken into consideration in this regard is the fact that motorcycles are primarily for the adventurous. This means that not many would be willing to adopt green technologies that are not up to par, even at the risk of doing harm to the environment.
The good news is that this is a concern that most of the electric motorcycle manufacturers that are out there are already addressing this concern.
Italy based Energica Motor Company has, as an example, been showcasing the Energica Eva bike, which is powered by an oil-cooled electric motor. The bike deliver 100kW/134 horsepower and 144lb.ft torque, which makes it a superbike and surpasses most of the conventional motorbikes that can be found out there.
A big concern, of course, when it comes to electric motorcycles is the distance that you can travel between charges. We have already noted that a great deal of the motorcycling that goes on out there is of the adventurous type.
Having a bike that needs to be charged tends to be a major drawback. That is particularly the case if you are going to be going on a long, extended trip into the countryside or somewhere else where you will pretty much be off grid.
The same concern, it has to be noted, exists with electric cars. Here, the resultant phobia has even spawned a name; “Range Anxiety.” Now, if you are looking for something that will suck the adventure right out of your spirit, range anxiety will do it for you.
However, all is not doom and gloom when it comes to electric motorcycles. The 2016 Energica Eva, as an example, has an 11.7kW/h lithium ion battery pack. Depending on the type of charging infrastructure that you are going to be using, recharging can vary between 30 and 8 hours.
If you drive the bike conservatively, it will take you up to 124 miles on a single charge. Now, that is definitely a lot, all things considered. In fact, it should be enough for the everyday commute.
The example that we have just given shows that major strides have already been made in terms of coming up with environmentally friendly motorcycles. The battle then lies in trying to convince enough bikers to switch to energy efficient motorcycles.
Not yet ready to make the jump? Read this article on how not to run out of fuel to find out how you can ride your bike more efficiently.