My open letter to “normal” motorcyclists

Hey Guys, how was the ride?  Wait, wait, don’t run off.  I’m not hear to convert you.  Frankly the more of you that aren’t interested in, or just straight hate electric motorcycles, and for longer, means the greater the chance I’ll get an electric motorcycle that blows your bike’s wheels off before you’re even aware it exists.  And the longer the racing stays out of the interest of you guys means it will stay very easy and cheap to go to electric races other than Laguna, not to mention getting a press pass.

But I’m not here to turn you away either.  I am just here to say as a rabid elmoto fanboy, I don’t expect you to like electric motorcycles.  Yeah, I know, right.  No preachy speech, or long drawn out argument, or even worse, facts and math.  I don’t think just because you don’t like a Zero S, which is by far the best selling elmoto ever, it makes you ignorant.  I know you don’t like your motorcycle for rational reasons, otherwise you’d ride a VFR or Ninja 650.  The last time I read someone waxing poetic about the merits of a GSX-R750 as a commuter bike I nearly gave myself a concussion from beating my head into the wall.  Hell, even people who buy electric motorcycles don’t buy them for rational reasons.  They use rational arguments the same as you do, when they try to avoid admitting that they spent a ton of cash on something they simply thought was totally cool.

Look, I know none of these electric production bikes are as fast as pretty much anything else on the street, but honestly they aren’t that much slower.  And no, they won’t go as far on a charge, and you definitely can’t charge them in 5 minutes.  Guess what, you will never be able to charge them in 5 minutes, ever.  Yep, that’s right you heard me.  You will (probably) never be able to recharge your bike in 5 minutes.  So why do I keep going on about them, seemingly talking to myself and the occasional “john doe”?  Because when you see evs going to Laguna every other weekend for a track day, or one doing a wheelie down the street and no one blinks an eye, or nailing it off the light when the cops are looking the other way not noticing, or riding dirt trails anywhere in California and people smile at you instead of try to find their gun, or simply being faster than you in every way, how important will a 5 minute recharge time be then?

I know people keep saying they believe they are the future.  I know they are, but you have no reason to believe that.  I have noticed these same people don’t tell you why.  It is simple, the potential for way more power isn’t potential, it’s here today.  It’s just not in production street bikes.  But Lightning will make you a bike for $40,000.  Their race bike has as much horse power as a MotoGP bike, but twice the MotoGP bikes peak torque, only ALL of the time.  You don’t believe me.  You want to see dyno tests?  Well I’d like to see dyno tests of MotoGP bikes too.  I have met Richard Hatfield.  I trust his word over Ducati’s.  The problem is that the Lightning weighs 200lbs more at the moment.  They have also hooked a power source up (WAY more power than that wall socket you’re so impressed with) and managed to get 400hp on the dyno.  And, the bike is completely rideable on the street in it’s 240hp setup.  And these motors are not big.  They are about half to 2/3 the size of a gas motor and transmission.  Also, the maintenance will be minimal.  Magnets spinning on bearings.  That is basically what an electric motor is.  So all of theses valve checks, and oil changes, and clutch replacements, etc, are no longer a concern.  Also, electric motors are insanely efficient.  25% (if your lucky) of the energy in gasoline goes into forward movement in your bike.  90% does in an electric motor.  This is why evs don’t need barely a 1/3 of the energy your bike does.  Real elmotos get 250-300 mpg-e in the real world, whether they have 30hp or 300hp.  That’s why they are the future.  But feel free to not believe me.

There are a lot of things that have to be worked out before you’ll want an elemoto.  In order for elmotos to be able to compete head to head with MotoGP bikes we need to see at least an 8X increase in power density with no weight penalty.  That means they have to create a battery that hold 8X the amount of energy in a battery the same size and weight.  I am quite certain they will do it.  Why?  Because who ever does is going to be one rich dude.  There is some serious mega money in cracking that nut, that’s for sure.  But, here’s the thing, street electrics don’t need that much energy density to go toe to toe with your bike.  You only need 4 times the density to get 300 miles of real world riding out of an elmoto.  But with a proper 11kW charger on board your bike and level 2 charging station at the restaurant during a 1 hour break for lunch, a 255 miles day of canyon roads riding would be possible.  Add 2 15 minute breaks either side of lunch and your looking at 310 miles.  But all of this stuff, while the tech is here (accept for the batteries) isn’t readily available or compact enough to put on an elmoto.  The battery tech is years off yet.  The standard 5-10 years everyone says.

So, really it’s not just the battery technology, it’s getting it into production.  But it’s still the batteries, and they aren’t going to be good even next year.  Every year these bikes get way faster, and all the tech, production bikes, and race bikes get better and better, as well as cooler and cooler.  But they will not be as fast as gas bikes.  I am not into elmotos because I am delusional enough to think they are as fast as gas bikes.  I am into them because I can take them for what they are, and appreciate how fast the technology is moving, and that I am alive and paying attention during the original days of this technology.  And its totally cool.

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