How can we get people out of their cars and onto Electric Two Wheel Vehicles?

That is the question I spend a lot of my time pondering. It just makes sense. Why use a 2,000 to 6,000 lb vehicle to move a 100 to 250lb person? Our cars are designed to carry up to 5 passengers at highway speeds for long distances, in fact they are least efficient, and highest polluting in the first 5 miles of use. Compounding the problem, most trips are 5 miles long or less.

Cars are great when we need them. What about when we don’t? An electric scooter produces little emissions (only what is produced at the power plant to produce a very small amount of electricity). Electric bikes, (aka eBikes), and Electric Motorcycles similar. They are super convenient, easier to park, cheap to maintain and as fun as they are practical. I’ve personally carried up to 4 bags of groceries on my e-scooter using my large Givi Top Case along with the hook mounted in the front of the scooter below the handle bars.

Well, I’m asking for some help in figuring out the answer to this question and I’m doing it for my Capstone class in my MBA in Sustainable Business Management that I’m taking at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. You can find the survey here. And I’d be grateful for your feedback!

Riding my Electric Scooter in the Rain through Oakland

We have been having some early rain this year, thanks in all likeliness to global climate change. Good for the trees and plants and our water supply which I believe is quite abundant these days. Not so good for folks like me who are getting around on two wheel vehicles!

I’ve been getting by with my rain paints, treated boots, waterproof gloves and water resistant motorcycle jacket. The roads are a bit slick but riding carefully and a bit slower has made it pretty reasonable. As the quote says, there is “No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” Unfortunately I don’t know who to attribute that to.

It’s actually been easier to get around then I would have expected and I’ve stayed reasonable dry (when prepared). Still, I would do well to get one of those single piece rain jumpsuits that goes on over street clothes and some even have a collar that fits up in the back of the helmet to keep your neck dry.

Still when I ride through the rain, I can’t help but think of the Billy Joel sang in which he referred to being crazy exemplified by his willingness to “ride his motorcycle in the rain.”

As for the posts I’ve read about people afraid to ride their electric two wheel vehicles in the rain because of the potential for electrical problems — mine seems to work just fine. In my Native Z6000 all the components are weather protected and that must be making the difference.

All said, I’m very glad to have some sun today and will be heading out on a ride soon to run some errands and enjoy the fresh air!

Cortech Summer Gloves Closeout

Those of you who follow my blog know that I don’t post about deal very often and when I do it’s because it’s a great deal on motorcycle/scooter related clothing or equipment. I just purchased a pair of summer mesh/leather gloves that are so good that I ordered a spare pair! You can purchase the Tour master Cortech GX gloves at Motorcyclegear.

These are by far my favorite gloves ever. I found them true to size and they started slightly tight but thanks to the give of the leather (they are mostly mesh with a little leather) they gave just the right amount to be a perfect fit. Cortech GX Glove Photo

Two-Wheel Electric Vehicles, MILLIONS of them are coming, how do we prepare?

Last year, Pike Research Published a paper that predicted that over 450 million electric two wheel vehicles, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles, will be produced and sold between 2010 and 2016. Read more at:
Executive Summary of Pike Research’s Study

Now Pike Research has published a new report focused on Electric Motorcycles and Scooters, predicting over 100 million in service by 2017.

The key difference between these vehicles and cars is that no innovative/expensive infrastructure is required. Instead we need to know how and where to charge our two-wheel electrics.

Plug-in Anywhere.

My scooter is plugged in and charging while in the Kaiser parking lot in Oakland

Getting a Charge at Oakland Kaiser

In the Kaiser Broadway building garage there are numerous outlets located conveniently near parking spaces. Some are designated spots for electric vehicles, and some are just regular spots with an outlet next to them. It was at the later that I decided to plug-in while dropping off a new prescription. The key to having good range with an electric vehicle is “opportunity charging.” This is as simple as it sounds, charging whenever there is an opportunity.

I’m building up a database of charging sites (i.e. outlets) that are available for use by anyone with a lightweight electric vehicle so if you are interested in offering your outlet or in having the opportunity to find out about others, let me know and i’ll add you to my mailing list.

2200 Mile Update

I started to have a little trouble with range and not being able to go as far as I used to. This is normal especially when using lead acid batteries. They just aren’t optimal for the high current discharge and how heavily they are used. Overall they are better suited to starting vehicles (like in your car, if you have one, or a littler one in your motorcycle). But they are cheap, can be fairly easily recycled with the ability to reuse the lead components. And they work reasonably well.

I’ve really wanted to upgrade to lithium cells but am deterred by the cost as I’m juggling a lot of things right now that don’t earn me much money. I went to Electric Motorsports where I had purchased the bike and where I’ve built up a good relationship over the years. They were kind enough to replace my batteries with a set that are a bit less used but not new, and in the process saved me some dough and helped me delay the inevitable battery upgrade. They also did some other service on the vehicle. It’s running well now, with a intermittent problem (that of course didn’t occur when they were working on the bike!) that causes the throttle to not work, generally when first starting the bike. After a minute or so it works fine like nothing happened. If it becomes more frequent I’ll bring it back but it’s manageable for now.

I still love my scooter and plan to get plenty of more use out of it! I mostly prefer it to driving our car, except that I haven’t figured out a way to transport my 7 month old boy on it without some serious safety concerns. Maybe in a few years that will change 🙂

Great Deal on Women’s Motorcycle Jacket

A while ago I posted the awesome deal I got on my motorcycle jacket, and I just lucked out with an even better deal on one for my wife. It’s a First Gear mesh jacket for just $29! Limited sizes but an amazing deal compared to the $149 or so it sold for originally. MotorcycleGear (formerly New Enough) is great at finding these closeout opportunities. Shipping was a little steep at around $12 but still an awesome deal.

Get it at; http://www.motorcyclegear.com/street/closeouts/last_chance_bargains/first_gear/ladies_contour_mesh_motorcycle_jacket.html

And hey, when you are ready to get a photo of your beautiful wife/girlfriend/self in the jacket, get in touch and check out my photography work on my website and on my blog

Scooter Ready to Roll

I picked up my scooter a few days ago. Didn’t expect to miss it quite as much as I did. It’s all tuned up and fixed up. The fixing is in regard to cracking of the rack that I attached my big cargo case to. EMS was kind enough to find a way to attach it that would minimize the risk of the problem recurring. They also adjusted my chain, lubed it, and paintstakingly rebalanced my batteries. They also tuned the programming on my controller to make it accelerate more smoothly while extending the life and charge of my batteries. And, they tightened every connection and even adjusted my shocks.  The only charge was for the replacement rack part and that labor, the rest was covered under warranty.

It’s running well and I’m glad to have it back and am enjoying the smoother ride. Hopefully that’s the last real service for a while, at least until I upgrade to Li-Ion in a year or two!

Electric Motorsports Z6 (aka Z6000) Update

I’ve had my scooter for around half a year now and I figured it’s time to give an update. It’s been running well and has been a great way to get around. It’s costing me virtually nothing to run it and I find that I rarely use my car (something my wife is grateful for as now she gets to use it!) I have over 1,600 miles on the scooter with maintenance being limited to a bit of lubrication on the chain and a rare adjustment of the chain tension.

I finally brought it in for its 300 mile maintenance, just 1,300 miles overdue! The maintenance is rather straightforward just tightening up any loose nuts, bolts, and screws including the battery terminals. I was planning to pick it up today but the guys at EMS found that one battery was pretty far out of balance and they want to make sure they can balance them, or replace the one that is off, to avoid any performance or safety problems I might have on the road — very nice of them to be that thorough.

It’s funny, that now I dread having to use our far less convenient car in the meantime. I’ve been spoiled by the ease of getting around the area and of parking on my scooter. It makes a car seem clunky in comparison and having to buy gasoline seems so passe!

 

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure for the City of Berkeley

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and it’s because of how busy I’ve been! I’ve been busy working on my MBA is Sustainable Business Management at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that one of my focuses is on electric vehicle infrastructure!

This past semester I was part of a great team that worked with the city of Berkeley to create a strategic plan for developing electric vehicle infrastructure for the city. Our first goal was to help determine how residential charging could be provided for the half of the population that doesn’t have a garage, driveway or dedicated parking space. It was humbling, as we learned how many challenges need to be addressed to do this and we focused more broadly. I have a copy of our study posted here.

Working with the city was a great experience and we learned from other cities who are working on the very same issues as well.