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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  1. I think it’s a great idea! What about doing a hybrid? The newer hybrid cars use both the engine and a generator in the brake system to recharge the batteries, so there’s no plugging in. Keep us posted - I for one would jump at the chance to own a bike that got 100+ mpg and reduced emissions even more!

    Comment by don — 2/12/2007 @ 7:25 am

  2. A hybrid ups the complexity level quite a bit, and uses up space that I need for batteries. I am going to start simple and work myself up to the hard stuff.

    Comment by James — 2/14/2007 @ 6:30 pm

  3. Im thinking the same idea at this time , thats how i landed on your site, check out a company in Reno,Nv.
    called Altair they have a new battery they invented made from lithium/titinate they claim they have charged and discharged over 25,000 times and still taking an 85% charge, its a very interesting web site and the only way to go with a battery powered vehicle of any kind ,if they will sell it , they say its lighter and cheaper to make, can take a charge from a 440 volt charger to full charge in 10 minutes, operates at -50-C to +75-C temperature, it has overcome all the major road blocks for a effecient battery powered vehicle, their stock trading symble is ( ALTI )

    Comment by Glenn — 5/28/2007 @ 3:06 pm

  4. I just came across this. Did you ever finish making your electric scooter? I’d be interested in your experience for my own blog.

    Comment by Allan Hardy — 10/1/2008 @ 4:00 pm

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