Daydreaming: I want an electric VFR

VFR w luggage

OK, not specifically an electric Honda VFR, but that GT/Sport Touring genre in electric.  In a great lecture from BRD’s Marc Fenigstein, he talks about why they chose a dirt bike.  Basically they felt it was the one genre of motorcycle where they could make parity with gas bikes.  He goes on to say that the next bike might be something like a VFR.  Think that got my attention much?  And Brian Wismann indulges me a bit in my last interview with him and he asks if I am going to convert my VF500F Interceptor (nope, not gonna do it) and I say how I’d much rather convert my old VFR chassis where there is a lot more room.  The bikes are typically over 500lbs (I had mine down to 500lbs), and the current VFR1200F is over to 600lbs full of fluids.  My old VFR was under 90hp stock but mine dyno’d at 95hp after a simple exhaust, jet kit, filter, and tuning.  The new VFR1200F has been dyno’d in magazines at 142 and 145hp, with over 80ft-lb of torque over a characteristically wide and flat torque curve.  But each only have a 5 gallon tank, and the current 1200 is known to have a very short range of 120-130 real world miles.  Honda claims 35mpg which probably mean 175 miles on the highway.  Is that a target that is so far away?  I think it is possible to built a lighter bike with a competitive amount of power, but I don’t think the pack size would compete range wise.  At a 135 wH/mile average (my idea of real world riding) we are looking at a 17.5kWh (max, 15.75kWh nominal) pack.  I don’t know but I’m pretty sure that would take the bike over 600lbs.  But then there is the question of room.  These bikes are a bit bigger than the current Empulse or any sportbikes, but 12 Empulse packs would be a really tight fit if even possible.  Maybe some of the trick stuff from the RR would work?  But a 100kW motor isn’t going to be small.  Maybe taller stock saddle bags where the bottom is a battery pack?  The rear seat could be deeper to hide things like chargers and controllers, but it’s still a lot of stuff.  And then I’d want a 10kW on-board charger with both CHAdeMO and J1772 combo sockets, with a 2C DC charge rate (1/2 hour at 35kW).  The thing is, a lot of current Empulse owners active on the Brammo forums are using this as a commuter bike with enough performance to go have a fun ride on the local twisties on the weekend.  The bike I am thinking is upright enough to handle commuter duty while being sporty enough for the back roads as well, and has fairings.  It’d just be a bigger version of the Empulse really, aiming for a market with short range tanks and a lot of weight.  Sure on the weekend you can fill it with gas quicker.  But the advantage of my dream bike is that you plug it in every night at home and it is full in the morning, without having to sorry about getting to the gas station on the way home every other day.  So there is actually more range anxiety on a real VFR during everyday use than this electric one, and a lot of time saved not traveling to gas stations.  The weekend rides, not so much.  But we are looking at the difference of 26mpg (130 miles on a 5 gallon tank) to 250e-mpg (135wH/mile).

Hmmm, maybe a next gen literbike slayer is a better idea.

4 thoughts on “Daydreaming: I want an electric VFR

  1. Domenick,

    Having had a VFR with saddle bags I know first hand how much of a sail that bike was with crosswinds. I have a hard time imagining that the Vetter bike would be less so. I have also ridden many bikes with a similar seating to the Vetter approach and for me I didn’t like it. Some of us are sport bike riders. I had a ZX6r that to me was one of the most comfortable bikes I have ever ridden. Better than a Goldwing, Shadow, Harley Fatboy (did like that bike very much though) or any maxi scooter. I hope that project on that Zero turns out well and he is able to gain a lot of range from it (sure it will be impressive).

    I would love to work on a sporty Vetter fairing bike someday with Craig. Take a bike that gets 150 miles of range on the freeway and make it an over 200 mile range.

  2. Take the 20+ kWh battery from Mugen or Lightning, aerodynamics from Motoczysz or Lightning (Lightning says 120 Wh/mile @ 70 mph), 100 kW YASA motor from Zhongshen..

    All the pieces are there, just not in production form.

    Terry @ offthegrid has shown that it’s possible to tour now on an electric bike, though not yet with the fuelling convenience of a gas bike. It will only get easier and easier as the bikes develop.

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