WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

Electric Motorcycle Project

By James - 2/8/2007

I saw the DVD “Who killed the Electric Car” last week and was immediately inspired to build an electric motorcycle for a commute vehicle. There are several reasons for this. First, the DVD is a great story. GM and Ford built electric vehicles for a mandate that California had in place in the ’90s and everyone loved them. Once the mandate went away, the companies didn’t let the owners renew the lease and destroyed most of them. It is confounding why a company would spend so much research and development to create a great product and then destroy it. We all know how hard GM and Ford need a vehicle that sells. I won’t ruin the movie for you but I highly recommend it. But back to me and my project.

I have been trying to work out what electric components I need, how many batteries, what voltage to run and what kind of bike to convert. My knowledge of electricity comes from my college physics class, which I have remembered more than I have forgot. But once I start connecting wires to terminals we will see how good my equations are.

My commute is 16 miles one way, 15 of those miles are highway miles. I can’t plug in at work, so my range has to be greater than 32 miles. That comes out to 4000 watt hours, which is a lot of batteries. Lead Acid batteries are the heaviest and cheapest. NiCD batteries are more expensive and lighter, around $6K for what I need. Lithium Ion batteries will cost about $20K. It seems that some petroleum companies have bought the patents to LiIon batteries and are limiting the research and licensing of the technology.

One roadblock after another but I am determined to get this project off of the ground. Let me know if you have an electric vehicle and if I am crazy for attempting this. I will keep posting about my progress and one day, I hope you can kiss my amps.

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