Hello all. Sorry I’ve been quiet lately, but life has needed attention. I am working on getting a decent paying job for a change, and prioritizing what I spend my money on. You know, thinking about how I’ll spend my money before I get it. 😀
I have been looking at getting an Asus Transformer Prime specifically for blogging and podcasting, especially from race tracks (hopefully). The original came out almost a year ago, the new Prime came out over the holidays, with a 3G version rumored for Q1 of this year for at least a few minutes, and then an even higher level due out in Q2 this year. And, you can’t even get a Prime, at the moment.
This made me think of EVs in general. The Automotive and motorcycle industry move at 2 to 4 year model cycles. It used to be everyone came out with a new version of their bike every 4 years. Then the sport bikes, specifically, were all of a sudden in 2 year cycles. But bikes like the VFR left the same for 7 years, in Honda’s case. And when was the last time we’ve seen a new Goldwing? These things take a long time to redesign and get ready to put in production. Molds have to be made and new tooling to be purchased. In contrast, in the electronic world there are things like the Asus Transformer, that has a new one or version on the market every few months, and the old one is or almost out of date when the new one comes out. Apple iPhone anyone?
EVs are a conglomeration of both. The electronic tech changes so fast the EV companies have no way of keeping up. And, some people will not spend $13,000 on something that may be old news in all of 6 months. I feel that folks like Elon Musk and Azhar Hussain are right when they say it is going to be a new type of business, and will have to be approached differently. Sure cars are cars, and bikes are bikes. No matter what propels them, they are still cars and bikes. But the manufacturing process will take a different design mind and skill set. Evidence of this is the Tesla Model S’s big center console touch screen. The controls are all (minus 4-way blinkers and glove box button) on that iPad-esque console. You know how the controls on your favorite phone app get better and fancier with every update? That is how the Tesla is going to be. Want different and funky controls? Download the app. Not that the big 3 US auto makers don’t know this and now have design offices in silicon valley. But it’s a good example of the, not perfect but good, integration of the two worlds. Battery tech is just moving so fast it makes me wonder what is in the Tesla and how soon we’ll see a 100kWh pack option for the same price of the current 85kWh. I don’t think there is much we can do about the hardware, but the software can and will evolve. And instead of having to go to your dealer, the car will download the firmware and software updates, and then work better. Just like Windows (ah-hem).
But what about the motorcycle manufacturers? I don’t see Brammo and Zero thinking in this manner. However, Brammo has the racing and they use it to develop and experiment with new tech. Actually Zero does too, but they’ll tell you there’s no need to go racing. Left hand, please meet right hand. Anyway, there may be time for an iPad type dash, and easily uploadable updates. Actually, you may see more of something like that from eCRP in a year.
However, this opens a whole world up aftermarket hot-rodding. A 3kW charger for a 10kW battery pack that could probably take a 3C (30kW) charge quite easily? Bitch, please. The latest battery tech with custom made packs? You bet. Playing with the voltage and amp parameters with help of your local 12 year old hacker . . . priceless. We are looking at the possibility that within 6 months of purchase a hotrodded Empulse could be more powerful than the next model. But really, that happens now, so the same ol’ same ol’?
I don’t know how this is all going to play out, and the manufacturers are going to be under some serious pressure to have the latest and greatest, while trying to balance reliability and not releasing a new model every few month. All I can figure is the people who can balance the contrasting worlds the best, will win.