Ed Gold Electric Motorcycles
Ten years ago electric battery technology for motorcycling was premature. Batteries were too heavy, range was too limited and motors couldn’t stir the soul. However, each of these problems was a temporary one so manufacturers got to work.
With unprecedented global investment in electric battery technology, the pace of innovation is truly remarkable. Barriers like long charging times, short range, and limited power output are falling quickly—making electric motorcycling increasingly attractive.
Now is the moment when technology has finally risen to the challenge. The moment when the industry heavy weights are finally waking up to this exciting and inevitable future. The moment when the market is still tiny, but it won’t be for long. A new golden age of motorcycling is upon us.
There is no heirloom quality nowadays - what is special that people will want to buy and keep hold of?! Everything is disposable these days - Electric is disposThe Time is Now able. People are building disposable lives because we know things are going to get better.
We’re building ourselves into a ‘temporary situation’ as everything changes. Electric has to be quiet, green and interact with your (millennials) smartphone. But right now there is no (decent) infrastructure for charging electric vehicles so we are right at the bottom waiting for electric to become mainstream and take off.
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • 15 locations
Ed Gold: email@example.com
All images ©Ed Gold All Text ©Ed Gold 2018/2019 Magazine design ©Ed Gold
Electric Motorcycles ‘The Future Is Electric’
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • 12 locations
38 interviews from Electric Motorcycle manufacturers and Riders in the USA As documented with maps - Parts A, B, C & D plus photographs and interviews
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • 3 locations
MAP PART D - LAS VEGAS • 1 location
Julian Schuller 25
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Locations Number 1, 2
Private Individual Owner/Rider
I create music for motion picture and video games. In 2014, I came here to L.A to study Music Production and Recording Arts. My specialities are to compose orchestral and electronic music for genres such as Action, Adventure, Horror and Sci-fi and this work has been used internationally in features, short movies and video games. I use digital instruments as well as real instruments like guitars and violins and work with artists on other projects too. When my inspiring father, Gerd Schuller, a well know composer for Motion Pictures - such as the world wide popular TV Show “Inspector Rex” - bought his electric motorcycle in 2016, I was fortunate to try the electric future myself and it got added quickly to my bucked list. The E-Bike feels very safe, almost as if you are locked on rails. Many riders, including me in the past, say switching gears is a big part for the fun of riding a bike, which is - in my opinion - no longer true. Without having to do that, plus hearing nothing but the wind and your surroundings, you experience the purest form of motorcycling. I love silence. Our current world is loud enough but if you ride an e-bike you can actually hear your thoughts and, for myself, I get inspired to create musical pieces in my head. I just recently got my own electric motorcycle and so far my favorite route is over Mulholland towards Malibu Beach as well as all the mountain roads north of Los Angeles.
We all know that same old problem with our phones, that at some point our battery will go defective over time and some people might be worried about that this will happen to the bike too but companies such as “Zero” provide you with a 5 year warranty for the battery, so it seems they really believe in their product and give you a better feeling. There are also programs that support electric vehicles. I applied for one and should receive a $900 incentive to use it in the USA. Is there anything negative? Yes there is, unfortunately we aren’t quite there yet so the cheapest models start at around $8000 and go up to $17,000 and since we are in the beautiful USA, the taxes will be added later, so you are looking at a bike for around $19,000. Apparently, the source is my dealership, these bikes are getting more and more expensive every year but obviously they also get better. Electric vehicles are definitely great and a good idea but we might have to wait some more years to make it more accessible.
The performance feels like, how would I describe it - out of the ordinary.
The funny thing is, since my father got his motorcycle he loves electricity so much that he has bought other high powered electric products, such as lawn mower, strimmer`and chain saw which actually work quite well.
About the range - it competes and exceeds most gas super bikes, however, you will have to plan ahead since a full recharge takes 6-8 hours if you don’t have a fast charger, but the good thing is, all you need is a normal outlet.
We are in the transition of fossil fuel based devices to electric and some might say it’s not going to work. The same as some people who say virtual reality is not going to be a thing but all it takes is some more time to get there - you’ll see.
To get the best possible range, you need think more about how you accelerate and brake so you drive more cautiously and are also naturally more ride aware, thus safer. The three different settings on the bike I got let you decide if you want to get its full power “SPORT” or drastically more energy saving mode “ECO” or it even lets you create your own preferences in “CUSTOM”. I use it everyday as I sold my car. It makes little sense to have a car in this city as I don’t have to go far from home to studio, however it’s not uncommon that I happen to take a detour to get there. For any short range it’s perfect, you can ride it all day to do your business and probably would get tired before the battery is even used up. I’ve had mine for about a week and have already done 500 miles on it.
Another great part about electric bikes is the fact that you almost have to do nothing to keep it maintained. No oil change nor oiling the chain. All you do is to plug in the charger at the end of the day.
Harlan Flagg 37
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Store Owner
I’ve been riding motorcycles since college, since I was about 19 or 20 and I’ve always had an interest in motorcycles. My Dad always had motorcycles, he’d take me for rides on the back. He had a couple of Ducatis, a Honda, he probably had about 4 or 5 motorcycles at one point, he never had an excessive amount of motorcycles like I do. I prefer not to put a number to it (laughs) because when my wife asks I have to give her a number. She’s not a hug fan of motorcycles, although she admits that out of them all the motorcycles I have ever owned that the electric ones are the most comfortable for her to sit on the back - for one thing the transmission of a gas bike, no matter how smooth your shifting is, it’s a little jerky. I’m sure you’ve had a passenger that has head butted you because of gear changes. When I was at school, I studied electrical engineering and in my free time I was working at a motorcycle shop working on old British bikes. Mostly Triumphs, BSA’s, Nortons. When I graduated from college I moved back to L.A. and got an engineering job so my Father and I, we decided to, he is an electrical engineer too, we thought it would be a fun project to build an electric car but we thought we should have started within motorcycles first. It was a good experienced and a good idea but because I love motorcycles and trained in electrics it was a natural combination of the two. The car didn’t take us very far and it wasn’t very fast, it was a little grocery getter. There were already some electric cars that had been announced but maybe not quite in production yet. We didn’t build a bike together but I decided about that time I would get into selling motorcycles. I knew it would take too much capital to build them but I had a better knowledge of how they work and what makes them run than your average motorcycle shop. Most understand pistons and valves and things like that but put an electric motor in front of them and they get confused. I approached one of the electric motorcycle manufactures in the USA to be a dealership. I chose them because they certainly appeared to have the experience because they had already been running for a few years and seemed to be in a good place for a motorcycle manufacturer. I opened up the shop in 2009 and we were already in the middle of a recession. It’s a smaller motorcycle shop than is typical in the U.S., most have thousands and thousands of square feet, ten times the size of this at least. I wanted to have a motorcycle boutique and we have carefully curated the customer experience here to get the quality products they want. It works because we have many customers that come back to upgrade bikes many times. They realise we stand by the product and support it. It’s definitely a variety of different types of people that buy the bikes. I can’t say there is just one type. It’s hard fort me to describe what a typical customer for us is but what excites me is that a lot of them are new to motorcycling. I love introducing people to riding bikes and I believe that everybody should ride bikes and share this passion. I want them to have a great first experience on a motorcycle.
There are a lot of things that motivate me about riding electric motorcycles, the performance and the riding experience are just amazing, I do believe in climate change and that humans contribute to it. I know there is no silver bullet but humans can help the problem and I know that oil money funds terrorism. We shouldn’t be sending money overseas when we make electricity here. We should be able to fuel all of our vehicles from our own grid. I think that the average person will own an electric vehicle. I’m not saying that fossil fuels vehicles will become completely eliminated. I don’t think that there is a single solution for everybody and I know that an electric vehicle is going to work better than a gas vehicle. It’s so convenient. I’lI go home and plug it in and recharge it. I don’t have to get oil changes for it or stop for gas. It’s not like that stopping for gas is so inconvenient but how many times have you had a hard day at work and you need to stop for gas on your way home and you don’t want to?! Me, when I get on my bike to ride to work it’s got a full charge, I don’t have to spend any time with those messy gas stations, and the smell of them and getting petrol on my clothes or my vehicle. It’s amazing how we have become so accepting of these smelly machines every day. I want you to imagine for s second that a 100 years ago, when there were electric cars, that they were normal and gas cars did not succeed. And that right now, that gas was just invented and a salesman was trying to convince you to buy a gas car. And that they were saying it runs on an extremely flammable liquid that you cannot store at home as it’s too dangerous and that you have this black nasty stuff that comes out of the bottom that you have to change every now and again. And that it makes alot of noise and this poisonous smoke comes out it need and that you need to shift gears to get any reasonable fuel efficiency. How silly does that all sound?! It’s so easy, you get on it and you go. People are so worried about having their gas vehicles taken away from them. They should just throw a leg over one of these bikes, they say they love changing gears but with one of these bikes you’re always in the right gear. An automatic can still be unpredictable, but this doesn’t have a gear. You go. There isn’t any mixing of gas and air. It’s super responsive, it’s so much more efficient. One thing that people are confused about all the time is that they get better gas mileage on the freeway than on the streets. Under acceleration a gas vehicle is extremely inefficient which is why you need gears, even on an automatic. But with an electric vehicle it just makes sense, there is no idling and waste of energy, you only use it when you’re moving. It’s amazing that gas engines run as good as they do as you have to warm them up and constantly work on them. How silly is that. Once you live with an electric motorcycle for a week it’s hard not to see how archaic a gas vehicle is.
The regenerative aspect of the electric motorcycle is that the motor can turn into a generator so while you are slowing down it recharges the battery. The thing is that people think that they need a lot more range than they actually do. Some people have a pretty long commute, maybe 40 miles each way but an electric motorcycle can do twice that and you can recharge it at work. It’s a matter of charging infrastructure - think about it this way, 100 years ago there weren’t gas stations. You’d go to a hardware store to buy a gallon of gasoline. Once there were more vehicles that network really developed. But isn’t it incredible how wasteful it is to keep these stations full of fuel. You have to get the oil and then refine it and then distribute it to all these gast stations everywhere. All you need to do with electric vehicles is to charge it up yourself at home. And all we need is to have the demand to have more electric vehicles, to have more investment made in it. Look how far we have come in the last ten years with electric vehicles. We have come far enough to make them practical for every day use. How often does everyone go on a 500 mile a day trip? I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 20 years and it was only this year that I travelled for the first time over 100 miles in one day. So don’t tell me that everyone needs to have a motorcycle that can ride 1000 miles in a day. That’s crazy. Obviously everybody has different needs but the average person doesn’t teed a vehicle to go that far. So we’re in the infancy of electric vehicle charging at this point - right now on all these electric motorcycles we carry a charger and what this charger does, it turns the power from the grid into battery power and turns it from AC power to DC power. It’s a very simple task but we carry it around on our vehicles because it’s not universal. So I like to think about a gas equivalent - we are filling it up with oil and having an onboard refinery in our car and we’re filling it up as we’re going along. That’s crazy. So instead of having a supercharger, to charge the battery up with a direct current is the way to go. The charger is extra weight we are carrying and extra space and extra cost so why are we wasting our money carrying this thing when it should just be on the side of the road.
Harlan Flagg 37
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA â€¢ Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Store Owner
Rolando 53 & Isadora 43 Chocarro
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 4
Potential Private Individual Owners/Riders
We’re both from Argentina and we’ve been here for 30 years, Rolando, and 22 years, Isadora. We’re here for a better life, I (Rolando) have a surf board company. I build surf boards. I did this in Argentina before. I have been riding motorbikes since I was 15. I (Isadora) ride a 150cc and I ride on the back of Rolando’s bike. (Rolando) I own a BMW GS1200, I had a BMW R90 racer and I used to have a Panigale 1199, 999, 851, 888, 748 and a 996. I’ve had them all. I’ve also had Kawasakis, that was my first one, a 750. We’re here tonight to look at the new Dainese store and meet new people (like you). I already own a Dainese jacket and boots and shorts. And I have socks, but not today. At home I have another 3 jackets. Roland surfboards. I am Roland Surfboards, We didn’t know that this electric bike was going to be here and when I (Isadora) saw it I didn’t know it was going to be like this. I have seen one last year and also this year at Laguna Seca. I think it’s simpler to ride, you don’t need to think that much, you just go and stop. It will be something comfortable for me to ride. I’m not sure why as I have never ridden it before but I think because you don’t need to do the gears, I like more automatic. Its eco-friendly as its electric. (Rolando) The only thing that will stop me from getting a bike like this is the range. Because on the weekend we go with our friends to ride alot. We go to Las Vegas and Yosemite and we like to go camping. For around the city it is perfect but out of it I need more range. We would get an electric adventure bike, it would be interesting. I think that everyone will ride one of these one day, I believe that, before 10 years, everyone will need a bike like this to get through the city but I will keep a gas bike to remember the old days, the vibration and the noise (laughs). I’m sad that my children won’t know what a gas bike will feel like, the vibration between their legs and the smell of the gas. I love the way the electric bike accelerates, it’s better than a gas bike, definitely 100%. And the braking, it’s smooth because you don’t have the gears, that’s the two things I noticed, the acceleration and the stop. Way smoother and no gears.
Markese Branch 26
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 5
Private Individual Owner/Rider
I have been motorcycling probably for 7 years. I started off riding bicycles and I was looking for a job and arriving sweaty so I ended up buying 150cc Sunny scooter. A little Chinese scooter for 500 bucks. It was alright. I had only one problem with it, the fuel line hose, it just disconnected from the carburettor. It took me a week to figure it out as I couldn’t afford to take it to the shop. I had that one then a 150cc BMS Heritage, it was also a scooter. Then I went from that to a Zongshen GS250 and then from that one to a DRZ250, a Suzuki. That was my commuting type bike and I kind of got it so I could do everything with it and to work on the highway. It was better as it was smooth but my Chinese bike never gave me more problems than my Japanese bike. So from the DRZ250 I had a KTM 450, the LC4, that thing’s motor went out and I couldn’t find the parts. The rocker arm broke so that one disappeared. It was kick start only. I like dual sport because I feel like if you’re a beginner, even though they are slower, they’re a little bit different, they take off quick but they don’t have so much top end, they’re lightweight, their motors are exposed so they are easier to work on and they crash good. But then I have another thing I like and it’s to be more unique than other riders so I use a different helmet with goggles. There are so many colour options they are easy to customise and goggle options and not many people have them. It’s a Shark Vancore. I love it, it just looks like a fighter jet helmet. I feel more like my bike is built like a bomber jet, a B1 bomber. It’s all angular in black and it’s matt, that’s what it reminds me off. With all these bikes, because this bike ended up being the 11th bike I kept on blowing the motors as I pull wheelies for too long and I guess I seize the engines as I starve the cylinders of oil. Oh my gosh, I just get everything and pull wheelies on it. The only one I haven’t figured out yet is a Grom 125. What happened was I ride a dirt bike so I might as well be able to hop over a log so after that it got to the point to where I had to figure out how people do it. I would watch YouTube videos and wondered how to keep the front wheel up. There was a time when I was in jail and then I was just like, I had just have my DRZ250 Supermoto and you know what, I said this sucks being in jail because I was stringed to a commercial burglary, as an accessory to it and when I came out I was so upset that I wasted my time in there for 2 months. It was a big part of my life being taken away. I had my bike, it was in the back yard of my Mom’s, they had impounded it, but she got it out for me and brought it to where I lived at the time and covered it up so it didn’t get oxidised. When I came out I did a wheelie and I did it crazily as I didn’t care if I lived or died as I was so mad about being in jail, and you know what, it stayed up and I realised that was how you pull a wheelie. I had been thinking so much in jail about how to pull a wheelie. It sucks so much when your freedom is taken a way like that. I had the 250 and the motor went bye-bye when I was riding with my girlfriend
Justine from her job. She was in her car and I was on my bike trying to show off to her and I was riding and it started running funny. Idling rough, we pulled over and I couldn’t start it again. At that time I was working part time and couldn’t afford to take it to the shop so I had it sit there for a long time and bought a car after that. And then with the car, the car messed up, the front right rotor made a weird sound and it decided to break the brakes so I sold it for 300 bucks. So I was riding a another bike, a GT250R Hyosung and my commute was a lot quicker than using a car. I was in retail job and it was stressful and I wanted to be on a bike as the commute was quicker. In a car the traffic is horrible, people aren’t courteous, so I had that bike for a while and I decided I wanted a little more power and something that feels freer. I bought a big red pig, a Honda XR650L and I had that for a while and the motor was starting to go, the piston rings were going and it was smoking. I pull wheelies all the time, I go to work on the back wheel! I went to Hollywood Electrics as I was looking at them for a while, for 8 years but I could never afford to buy them. It was cool on a bike, to be able to fill up with gas and just go somewhere but I thought it would be cool to have an electric bike but you’d have to charge it and also I thought they were slow. I thought that electric cannot be faster than an engine. I looked at it and saw that electric got more range than a DRZ and it was a Supermoto and I could still carve canyons. I like the dirt geometry to sit upright and just see everything. I just like the positioning. I took a test ride and that screwed me over, I couldn’t ride a gas bike and I couldn’t own one anymore. As soon as I felt how smooth it was and what less effort it was to ride I had to have one, that was it. I went in there to the store and I had questions about it. I didn’t like the styling of the more expensive ones and besides, I liked the dirt style. I test rode the FX and I remember riding it and just smiling, I was shaking as this was so frickin cool. I remember just changing lanes as it was so smooth and fast, you just twist the throttle and I was able to get into the lane so easily, it was no effort. It was the type of torque it has, I guess when you have more it makes it so much easier to ride it, until you lose traction. I’m not into big bikes, small bikes are more simple and more efficient with the gas. Since I had my bike the only thing I’ve paid to ride it is a dollar since May. That’s 5 months. A dollar for 5 months, that is the craziest thing ever, I never thought I’d be able to get around when I don’t have money. So I work as a valet and a house car driver. I drive a Tesla for work - I drop people off within a 2 mile radius from the residency where they live. I get paid $15 an hour which is pretty good. And I pay $200 every month for the bike but I pay more than that. So I’m trying to get it as a free ride and all I’ll have to do is pay registration and insurance, that’s how I want it to be. Pay it off early, I have to pay it off in 5 years but I want to pay it off in a year. The last month I did was 1,300 miles. That’s how many miles I had, the rider group at Hollywood Electrics who set up the rider group do competitions once a month. So I think honestly I have won the most miles as I don’t own a car, it’s
just my commuting and when I want to go out somewhere. We get to talk with people and go for a ride, usually in a canyon and end up at a destination which is fun, usually at a place where people can talk and have fun. The good thing about it it so you get to be around people who have like minds. So far I won 2 gift cards to Beach Moto for $100. It’s a motorcycle shop that is a little more high end and they have some good stuff there. So I bought some Alpine Star gloves, they were 80 something dollars. And then I bought a balaclava so you look like a ninja, I have a hard time saying that word, balaclava. Let’s see, the only downside that I had is that I snapped one drive belt as I was jumping it, I try to push the bike to the limits. It snapped and the other thing is that the BMS, the battery management system, glitched out. It basically lets the battery know how much charge to take in. If you leave it for a certain amount of time it goes to a sleep mode. It was covered by warranty. All I’ve got to do is pay what the government wants me to pay and I’ve got free riding. I’m thinking in the future, I think they will make more and more bikes that have a bigger range but I’m fine with mine. She’s my favourite person to have with me, my girlfriend Justine, we have adventures together. We go get food and lie down in the hammock and just hang out and sometimes we take her dog Whitey, she’s a chihuahua mixed dog mini pinscher, and we take her on the bike. Justine carries her on her side and when it’s time to get off the bike she doesn’t want to get off. I just want to be able to get on a bike and it not cost me any time or money. After riding electric it just made my gas bike feel like a piece of crap. Some people have no access to charging but here in California we have so many places. When I ride this I think about how is this acceleration even legal? How is this possible? Why is it legal to be able to accelerate that fast on the street. They are so fast, it just takes off. I haven’t had one thing come up on me that can keep up with me. I just leave them behind. A Corvette, I left him behind a block away. A Lamborghini, he slowly came up, he was still with me but not quite level. A Dodge Challenger, they are fast but by the time they get up to where they are really fast, by that time I am so far ahead they are just starting to catch up, it was just wild. I did him wrong 5 times, I even gave him a head start by half a block and I still got him back. It was funny, it kind of makes me laugh as it’s like a stealth sleeper, it’s so quiet, you pull up next to someone and they think it’s stalled and then you take off on them and you just go. You realise that all these vehicles make all this noise and they aren’t really going anywhere but I make n noise and I can go faster. You know what else, when I just saw that bicycle go past and I have always been riding bicycles, you have motorcycle freedom and bicycle freedom, it’s like you have the two combined. Your still on a motorcycle but you have the freedom of the silence of a bicycle. Two freedoms crossed together.
Justine Landrum 21
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Numbers 5, 6, 7
Private Individual Rider
I was seeing Markese before he got the bike, I was fully supportive and said he should go ahead and enjoy it. The main thing about it was I didn’t want him to get something where he would get stranded. I wanted him to be sure about buying it as he wants to switch bikes all the time, I think this is the bike he is going to stay with and if he gets another one it will probably be electric. It’s smooth, like he says, other bikes were smoking up and the smoke would go in my hemet so there is not a problem with that. Sometimes I’m not paying attention and he just takes off and I’m shocked. The other bikes I could hear what the bike was doing, but on this I get surprised as it’s silent and I don’t know what he’s going to do. I had never been on a motorcycle before I started dating Markese and the second time ever I told him to pull a wheelie. I’d seen him do it before and I knew I would be excited, I really like the rush, I’m an adrenaline junkie. I’m the kind of person that would jump out of a plane or swim with sharks, even though I don’t know how to swim, I’d float I guess. I like being able to talk together, it’s silent, the only thing is when we are going is just the wind but you don’t have to worry about that. I’d recommend electric motorcycles, I eventually hope to get one for myself, I will have to get my permit and my licence and have Markese teach me. The first time he tried I had a traumatising experience. We were talking and he was distracting me and I just pulled on the throttle and he was shouting ‘pull on the brake!’ but I went into a parked car. It was fine. I just kind of scraped the hand guards, those are replaceable.
Michael Finley 53
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 8
Private Individual Owner/Rider
The motorcycle was my first electric vehicle. I bought it in April 2017. I’d been wanting an electric vehicle probably since I was 16 or 17 years old. The air quality used to be worse than it is now as there weren’t so many restrictions in California then and we used to have smog alerts. I thought electricity had to be a better way to do things so when I found out you can ride an electric bike, I realized it is a better way to do things. I obtained a patent in about 1993 that would help cars drive further on a charge, I even had a contract with a company to produce it and put it on their vehicles. But California dropped a mandate in the early 90’s because of a push back from the car manufactures as they were heavily lobbying the government because they didn’t like the electric vehicle mandate. They didn’t want to be bound by it as they’d have to retool all their machinery and the after-market parts sales would drop as there is not so much maintenance on electric vehicles. It was going to hurt their ability to sell parts to vehicle owners. They didn’t like the electric vehicle mandate and said it wasn’t going to work even though it would. I test rode an electric motorcycle on a Tuesday in 2017 and by that Saturday I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to go and buy it. I just went down there and bought it and drove home on it. I started riding dirt bikes probably when I was 11 years old. I’d ridden on the street in my teens, 16 or 17 years old and I had a dedicated street bike, a Honda Shadow, for a while starting in 1992. Then I’d always maintained my motorcycle licence but didn’t own one for a long time. I felt it was time to get back on a motorcycle and especially on an electric one. And then in the same month after that I test rode the Tesla and bought that in May 2017. So in those two months I was fully equipped with two electric vehicles and I don’t ever want to go back to gas powered vehicles. I then bought the electric unicycle in late August 2018 so I could put it in a backpack while I’m riding my electric motorcycle or carry it in the back of my Tesla and while I’m charging either I can go ride it around town. Sometimes I even commute to work on it, which is 5.5 miles exactly. It’s a ‘Gotway’ and the model is ‘Tesla’. Tesla was a Serbian who invented alternating current. He invented a lot of our modern technology and put together the first alternating current hydro electric dam at Niagara Falls. He was way ahead of his time. In the 1920’s he described what cell phones were going to be. He had nothing to do with Tesla Motors, but they are now using some alternating current technology and they seemed to think that the name was cool. When you hear about cars and motorbikes having a coil, that’s a Tesla coil that he invented, which can increase either amperage or voltage. Electricity is the cleanest thing that we’ve got so far that we have right now to run a vehicle. There is no exhaust from my vehicles at all. Some people say we are polluting because of the industry that is generating the electricity to charge my vehicle but we don’t have a lot of plants that are polluting. We do have some nuclear but a lot of it is wind, solar, hydro and tidal. It’s hard to find coal burning power plants in California here and everyone who is driving gas powered cars are also using electricity in their homes as well, so it’s a misconception that electric vehicles are polluting because of the way they are being charged when they have literally zero exhaust. In the east there are some polluting coal-burning power plants. But how much are we hurting ourselves with our own car exhaust pollution as we are breathing it in and drinking it in our water?! I want to live in a cleaner environment.
As far as being an activist for clean air vehicles, I don’t know that there is much that is worth protesting. In the past I have attended California Air Resource Board (CARB) meetings to see what they were talking about and I go to electric vehicle shows to see what’s happening, but I’d rather promote what they are capable of. Electric cars like the Tesla are some of the fastest cars in the world right now as is the Zero motorbike. Even the unicycle can do 37mph. The public needs to know this. I do protest things like the Dakota Access oil pipeline and I stopped using my bank because of their sponsorship of the Dakota access pipeline. A lot of people, including me, said to our banks that if you are going to sponsor this sort of thing in the future we are going to stop using you, and I switched to a credit union. I personally think it’s more positive to start educating the public. If I pull up next to someone in my Tesla and they’re in a Mustang or Corvette or a gas powered sports bike and I outperform them they look at that and they say “How did that totally silent vehicle with no exhaust on it - how did they just out-do me?!” People will ask me questions: “How far does that go on a charge?” - “Is it convenient?” - “How fast will it go and do you like it?” - “What is that thing!?” I get a chance to talk to people and say how well they perform and how much of the future is here now. To me that is a much better way to communicate with people in a positive discussion to get more and more people excited about it. I share stuff on social media when I go on electric motorcycle rides and I put pictures on social media. I put videos on YouTube of me riding my unicycle around town and people are becoming familiar with this through social media. For me this is much more positive than protesting something. I can guarantee you that there are going to be more and more electric vehicles. If you look around at the performance and the reliability of these electric vehicles other companies are having to change their whole line up in order to keep up. Volvo announced that they will only have electric vehicles in the future. GM announced the same that they will have more and more of their vehicles electric in the future. And Tesla has shown that not only can they be as reliable but they can be better, so I think what’s going to happen is that you’re going to see a time within a very few years that every car and motorcycle you’re going to be able to buy is going to be electric. As it’s so reliable, these companies are going to see that if they don’t start to sell these types of vehicles that they are going to become dinosaurs just like the dinosaur fuel they are using. Tesla’s newest model is outselling all of its competition put together in the USA. The public loves these clean, green, high-performance vehicles. And Zero has been at this for years and I’ve been following them for years. Every year I have been doing extensive research about how they perform and Zero cannot be ignored anymore and they perform really well. So it came down to it that the Zero was absolutely the best option for me. Even Harley-Davidson is going to go electric and when you see them going electric you know this option’s time has come. More and more companies are going to go electric. I used to love the sound of a high performance gas engine but I hate it now as I can out-perform gas engines and with no noise or exhaust. I call them fart-mobiles or farto-cycles because of the noxious fumes they put out. I still enjoy looking at beautiful cars and motorbikes but they are dinosaurs. The future is electric right now and gas vehicles are dinosaurs.
I’m actually saving money having these vehicles, even if I charge up at home exclusively the cost or electricity per mile is about one fourth of the cost of gas driven vehicles. I’m saving money because I calculated that when I’m driving a Tesla I’m not spending anything on the cost of gasoline, oil, brake jobs, transmission service, radiator fluid and repairs. I realized if I just bought a mid-range sedan and factored in the extra expenses I would pay, it would be as much as I pay for a Tesla. But there are many stations all over the place where I can recharge for free or very low cost. With the electric motorcycle I can get anywhere faster than any car, especially here in California where motorcycles are allowed to split lanes. I use visual cues while I’m riding as people cannot hear me when I am splitting lanes - like extra lights, like on the wheels to attract people’s attention and I’ll turn on the hazard lights and flash my high beams too. I have a high beam strobe trigger and I use it often so people don’t turn in front of me. On any motorcycle you have to realize that people do not see you so your survival is in your own hands. I heard that people say loud pipes save lives, so how do riders still get killed and injured? So I use visual cues to get people’s attention and I try not to put myself in situations that will get me hurt. The initial cost of a Tesla is high, but not for the type of car. High end BMW’s and Mercedes are about the same price and then the BMW i8 is a gas electric hybrid that costs $150,000 and my car that costs much less can outperform it. My Tesla model starts at $70,000. The best Tesla they make right now does 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds and other cars that can do that cost millions of dollars like the McLaren and Bugattis. The 2020 Tesla Roadster to be released at the end of next year will be the fastest performing car ever made in the history of the world that will cost $200,000 compared to a multi-million dollar super car. It will accelerate to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, do over 250 mph top speed, and turn a quarter mile in 8.8 seconds. For less money people could be buying a Tesla that outperforms their current gas cars when you are recharging for a quarter of the price of gas, superior performance at a lower total ownership cost. The car is helping to pay for itself. You don’t need to change the brake pads for over 200,000 miles or more. You can drive all across the country as there are recharging stations everywhere. The motorcycles are similarly priced as similar sports bikes and dual sports as much or more. My bike came in at $20,000 but there are much more expensive bikes out there but does their performance specs come anywhere close?! They’re not out of the price range of competitive vehicles and the total cost of ownership is lower and the performance is better. Not only that, but I have more storage space in my car than a regular car as there is no engine. I have a trunk under the front hood and an even bigger trunk in the rear. I feel very in tune with nature when I ride off road on my electric motorcycle, as I can enjoy the sounds and the smells in ways I could not on a gasoline bike. On surface streets it is so quiet I can sometimes hear people’s conversations on the sidewalk but on the freeway all you can hear is the wind. I can hear cars around me so I have better awareness of what is around me, but pedestrians will not hear me or animals will not hear me. I’ve had people cross the street in front of me without looking and then turn around and see me all of a sudden, so I have to use reasonable caution and anticipate what is necessary to be safe. But I’m in love with electric vehicles and I am never going back!
Paul Scott 66
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 10
Private Individual Owner/Rider
I was raised in the south, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas. For the first half of the 70s, I studied photography and took random courses at San Antonio College. I hitchhiked out west a couple of summers and discovered Oregon and California. I moved to Eugene, Oregon arriving Halloween night of 1975. Eugene was a hippy mecca at the time, still is. I had no skills and no job prospects and ended up getting into the recycling industry. I enjoyed taking a societal liability, garbage, and educating people to keep the useful stuff separate, then creating jobs in segregating the materials, competing and shipping them to factory that use them to make new things. Pollution was less and a positive economic structure had been created. I worked with a group of people who ran various recycling companies in Oregon to form the Association of Oregon Recyclers, the first state association of its kind. I also served on city and county boards dealing with solid waste and recycling. This gave me a taste for public speaking and fighting special interests, the garbage companies that took offense we were diverting some of their business to a higher use. It was on those committees that I started to hone my political instincts and create messaging that sorta worked. During this time, I got married and started a family. It was clear the meagre pay of the industry was not going to suffice, and I longed to use my mind more than my back. After consulting with my wife, a teacher, and that she would support us for a while, I tried to get a photo business going. By a serendipitous fluke, I ended up working for a young four person computer animation company. I didn’t even know how to type, much less operate a computer that could produce sophisticated animations, but I loved the idea of what this company produced. They needed someone who could sell their animation skills in the world of TV. I dove in immediately and barely survived. Another fluke effort turned into a large scientific rendering for an important IBM corporate production. Eventually, I became president of the company and we expanded to about 15 people and won an Emmy. But running the company as a consensus group proved problematic. Also, I’d gone through a divorce that, while friendly, was nevertheless traumatic. When an offer came from California to work for a much bigger visual effects company named Click 3X, I jumped on it. They did mostly TV commercials and had hired me to help them become more of a player in the feature film world. Life in California was quite different from Eugene. It was crowded as hell, and this being before GPS, we only had a Thomas Guide to figure out where to go. I managed and eventually met a new love and got married again a month after 9/11. Four months later, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent a couple of significant operation and chemo a few months after that. My life of being a runner also stopped due to a disintegrating lower back. I was told that if the cancer came back there would be no way to stop it, and there was about a ten percent chance of that. Bucket list time! I’d always wanted to install a solar photovoltaic system so I could generate my own energy from sunlight, so when I left this earth I could at least leave a legacy of clean
energy that would work for decades. While researching the solar, I found a website that discussed electric vehicles, specifically, the Toyota RAV4 EV. When I learned I could actually buy one, I jumped at the chance. This all happened in late 2002 when the U.S. had already launched the war in Afghanistan and was beating the drum loudly for another war in Iraq. After getting into the EV world, I immediately learned of the huge political fight over the destruction of thousands of EV by the very companies that had made them. I was in recovery from the operations and chemo and this issue felt much more important than my visual effects work, so I resigned from that and took a job selling solar systems from the company that had installed mine. With my wife, I immersed myself into the politics of electric vehicles and the related clean energy world. About a dozen folks in San Francisco and Los Angeles began working on schemes to stop the car companies from literally destroying perfectly good cars that people wanted to buy. We were telling the press back in 2002 that the government didn’t need to go to war in Iraq for oil, because the way forward was renewable energy. In 1990 and before, California had a serious air pollution problem, so CARB (California Air Resources Board) passed a law that since the car companies had the technology to make viable electric cars, in 8 years time, 1% of all vehicles they sold in the State had to be electric. It affected the 6 largest car companies selling in California, so these companies told their engineers to build electric cars and they told their lobbyists to over turn the law. Both teams succeeded, the engineers build some great EV, and the lobbyists changed the law. The car companies didn’t want electric cars because they have zero maintenance and they aren’t profitable, and oil companies don’t like them because they don’t use their fuel. The Bush administration and much of Congress were being paid by oil companies to work against needed energy legislation that would have grown the nascent EV and renewable energy industries rapidly. This was like the recycling battles, but with global implications in the environment, health, and military sectors. In other words, a much bigger deal. We fought several battles against Ford, Toyota, and General Motors. We organized protests and tried to get the press to pay attention to the problem. Here was a war being fought for oil when we had the technology to switch to clean, solar and wind energy to power our transportation. How is this not evident to everyone? Mostly because the powers positioned against us controlled much of the media. The story was not getting out. GM made the EV1, the only EV built from the ground up, and arguably, the best of the lot. They were only leased and could not be purchased at the end of the lease. All were taken back, in some cases forcefully, and most had been crushed. They were perfectly good cars, powered in many cases on free American sunshine, all while there was a war being fought in the Middle East in which people were being killed over oil.
The final 78 EV1s were stored at a GM facility in Burbank, CA. All were slated to be crushed. We decided to stop them, so we organized a vigil at the site 24/7 and told the media we would not allow them to destroy the cars. We even raised over two million dollars, the residual cost of the 78 EV1s, and offered it to GM to buy the vehicles. After three weeks of trying to get the press to cover the story, the Washington Post ran a feature article on our effort. This story got the LA Times to cover us as well. GM had been trying to wait us out, but now that the story was breaking, they decided to act. A single truck showed up and word went out. Several of us drove to the site and blocked the truck from leaving. No press showed up, however, and the police threatened to arrest us if we didn’t move. Getting arrested with no story would be a waste, so we stepped aside and the truck took about 8 EV1s to Arizona to be crushed. We were upset that the press didn’t bother to cover this mendacious move by GM, so I called our contact at the NY Times and told him that the next time we called, there would be arrests. Other media were told the same thing. A week later, 12 trucks drove into the parking lot and we again called everyone who could make it to the site. Media did come this time, and there was a large contingent of Burbank police there as well. Sure enough, all the remaining EV1s were loaded up and as they began to leave, two of our group blocked them with one of our RAV4 EVs. The two actresses in the car were prepared to be arrested if need be, and they were. All 12 trucks drove into the desert and the last remaining EV1s were crushed. As sad as this was, Chris Paine was there to record the incident which became a core part of his documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which was released in 2006 after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Originally, our group were known as Don’tCrush.com. We had come together to save the cars from the crusher, but of the 5,000 or so EVs made during that time, only about 1,000 had been saved. These were the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Ranger EVs. We were far from done, however, so we then formed the organization ‘Plug In America’ which quickly became the world’s leading advocacy group for electric vehicles. The movie came out about the same time and had a successful theatrical release. Hundreds of thousands of Americans know knew about the lost opportunity we had to electrify transportation. Several of us who had been a part of ‘Who Killed’ then spent the next couple of years touring college campuses and other venues screening the film to talk about the issues in Q&A sessions. The film really opened a lot of eyes. Tesla’s Roadster debuted a couple years after that and all of a sudden electric cars had the attention of the automotive performance world. Because of their goal to electrify everything and green the grid, Tesla is the most important company on the planet in my mind right now. I had been writing a blog detailing the work being done by various companies in the EV space and earned a small, but important audience. Nissan heard about it and said they wanted to meet. While we had been concentrating on Toyota and Honda, it turned out that Nissan was secretly building an EV under the leadership of their well-regarded CEO, Carlos Ghosn.
Paul Scott 66
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 10
Private Individual Owner/Rider
After driving some test ‘mules’ that used an electric drivetrain they had developed, Nissan flew me to Yokohama to test drive their first production EV, the Leaf. Of the 50 or so bloggers and auto journalists invited, I was the first one they let drive that car on their test track. It drove quite well and I was very impressed by it. At that time I was selling solar for SolarCity, but I thought I could sell a lot of these electric cars, so I went to a Nissan dealer in Santa Monica and told the owner that I could help him become the number one dealer of the Leaf. After explaining my passion for the car, and telling him of my lunch with Mr. Ghosn, he hired me on the spot. We started deliveries in 2011, and by the end of the first year, I had become the top Leaf dealer in the world.
follow. The pleasure is up in the mountains, where the roads are twisty and longer range allows for great riding. importantly, the Zero can charge from a J-1772 plug which is the SAE standard for charging in the United States. You can get an app ‘Plug Share’ which shows you where all charging stations are. In 2010 there were practically no places to charge the new EVs, but by 2011, a few were being installed. Today, there are several thousand chargers in California which enables EVs to travel almost anywhere.
When my first Leaf was delivered, I used it for test drives since Nissan didn’t have enough to give dealers a car for test drives, so I ended up having the only car that could be used for test drives in the country. This really helped our sales a lot.
In 2014 I had some severe health problems related to my previous cancer surgery. After several more operations, I felt like my body was giving up and I didn’t know how much time I had left. I was so mad about what was going on in the world and wanted to do something about it, but I felt impotent, The problems seemed too big to solve. I decided to retire from selling the Leaf and write a novel. I took a class in writing, hired a writing consultant, and joined a writer’s group. After three years, I self published ‘Radical: With Billions of Lives At Stake, What Would You Do?’.
In 2012, I bought my first Zero motorcycle and traded up for new models as the power, range, and speed of charging kept improving. I am currently on my fourth Zero, a 2017 SR, and will get a new one soon as the 2019 models are about to arrive.
The book is indeed a radical story, and the First Amendment to our Constitution gave me great latitude, but being careful, I hired two attorneys to vet the book to make sure I wouldn’t get in trouble.
Because we have good riding weather in southern California, and we can legally split lanes, the Zero is arguably the best commuter vehicle on the planet. The world-infamous traffic we have here does not stop a motorcycle. And not having a clutch or shifter to deal with means all of my concentration is directed to the cars around me. Having gobs of power with a flick of my wrist is not only helpful, but exiting as hell. It’s super easy to transport yourself in a big city on a Zero.
The book follows a young man in the who is bullied until a tragedy occurs. He loses his girlfriend and after 9/11 happens, he joins the Army to revenge his girlfriend and his country being attacked. He wants to go to Afghanistan but is sent to Iraq instead and finds out it is a war for oil. He kills two enemy combatants and comes back with PTSD. He meets a lawyer who starts to educate him on climate change and the main figure comes to the realization that climate change will kill more people than Hitler ever did and there is no political solution because of Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing unlimited money in politics.
I love the power, you filter up through the cars to the front at lights and you are the fastest thing at that intersection, even faster than 1000cc sports bikes. At traffic lights when I’d see another biker, we’d nod helmets, and out of the corner of my eye I’m watching for the yellow light. When my light turns green, I’d open it up and just hang on, blowing the big sport bikes away. I once raced a 1000cc Susuki three times in a row, beating him handily every time. I often launch the bike at intersections, after making sure conditions are safe to do so, just to mess with people’s minds since they are used to hearing a loud roar when a powerful bike accelerates quickly. I’m already across the intersection before most car drivers begin to move, and there was no noise. I want them to know this new way of powering cars and motorcycles is superior to whatever they are driving, and hopefully they will look into getting an EV themselves. I push Zeros hard in L.A. I hate the loud motorcycles with a passion and want them to all go electric, so the more people see these super-quick Zeros beating everything on the road, the more likely it is that the big motorcycle companies will switch, too. Already we are seeing the likes of Harley Davidson developing their own electric bikes. The extent of my motorcycling when I was younger was a Honda Cub 50 and a Triumph Bonneville 650 that had (sadly) been chopped. After that bike fell apart, I only had cars until the Vectrix electric came out around 2009. It was a great bike, but used nickel metal hydride batteries which didn’t last as long as the new lithium ion batteries used in the Tesla. Once I got my first Zero, I knew this was the company to
He starts to assassinate politicians to try and make a difference, but realizes people don’t understand why he is doing this, so he writes a manifesto and puts it out on the airwaves. The book came out and 3 weeks later some disgruntled guy went to Washington D.C. with a rifle to try and shoot some high profile politicians. I was worried he had read my book and I’d get in trouble, but luckily, my book was not in his possession. While “Radical” did not stir the pot like I’d hoped, I still get opportunities to speak about solar and EVs and manage to convince people to make the switch all the time. It’s sad the transition is happening so slowly, but it is a transition that cannot be stopped.
Ron King 60
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 11
Private Individual Owner/Rider I was on a gas bike, a Honda Shadow just for about a year or so, maybe 15 years ago. I got rid of it after being on the freeway being buffeted around and it was a little nerve wracking so I got rid of it. But nowadays it is totally different and I love riding fast on the electric motorcycle. The helmet I have now is a much better design than the first one I had, it cuts through the air very nicely and on the Zero I have a windscreen which helps with the air when you’re riding fast and you can squat down behind it. You feel like a bullet as there is very little wind resistance - you are sliding right through the air. Plus with the Zero you feel like you are floating and flying. You have this feeling like you are just flying up the road, you feel so connected with the road with the tyres, very in touch with the environment and feel very confident, I have no problem with going fast. I was really into bicycles so when I was a little kid my friends and I, in Northern California, we saw a movie called ’On Any Sunday’, Steve McQueen was in it. We emulated the trials riders, very slow and very balanced riding so we would ride through the forest and through the creeks and over tree stumps and down steep embankments on bicycles. This is before mountain bikes. This was on ‘Stingrays’, we’d take the front sprockets off and take them to a machine shop and drill additional holes in them to try and make them lighter. There was a guy called Scott Fisher, a hippy guy before mountain bikes got famous, using ‘bomber’ bikes, with big balloon tyres and that’s how mountain bikes started. He was just two towns away and he was in his early twenties and I was in my early to mid teens and we were riding modified stingrays and it was emulating motorcycle riders using bicycles - that’s how I got into two wheel stuff. I was also into road bikes and got a taste for speed while hurtling down Mt. Tamalpais passing cars along the way. You aspire to ride a motorcycle but of course I was too young to ride one. My first motorcycle ride as a teenager was on a 50cc Honda street bike loaned by a friend. I remember spinning around in the dirt and feeling totally out of control. Then I didn’t ride motorcycles for 35 years. Finally, I think one of the things that really got me was the traffic. Traffic in L.A. is notorious and it’s horrible and I remember seeing motorcycle riders going through the traffic and I remember thinking ‘you know those guys don’t have to wait!’. They can get to where they want to go without getting stuck and also I wanted to have the sensation of the freedom of riding with power underneath me - cutting through traffic and experiencing the freedom of two wheel riding and the joy of it. When I put the gas bike aside I stopped thinking about gas bikes completely and when I started to think about motorcycles again I knew that there were electric scooters out there but not motorbikes. So I got on the internet and that was when I discovered electric motorcycles existed and, oh my gosh, I found a company that made a bike and it was electric and it was realistic. It was the second year they had been around and I followed them for 5 years and followed their specifications because I was a bit of a techie. And every year the specs would get better and better and every year I wanted one, but they were a little expensive, but in 2015 I came into some money and the first thing I wanted to do was get an electric motorcycle. When I felt like I had money to burn I went to buy the bike as I felt like the specs were really peaking in 2015 and I felt like this was the time to really go for it and I have been very happy ever since. I think that’s the case with electric motorcycle people, they tend to be a little on the techie side, the early adopters, they think about the power, the amount of range, how long does it take to charge. They went to know all about that stuff. I’m not as techie as many of the other riders but I knew enough about the specs that it was a sweet spot in 2015 and that the tech had matured by that point.
It’s interesting as I’m not using the bike as a daily commuter, I’m using it for ad-hoc meetings around town so I do use it for business. But when I first got it I rode it for pleasure and to learn to ride it better. I went up to ‘The Snake’, up Malibu canyon which is a big spot for gas bikes. They like to show off. So I went up there just to practice on twisty roads and increase my skill set as a rider. And here in L.A. there is a very supportive small community of electric motorcycle riders, so I got involved in that too. I’ve been interested in EV’s for a long time, in the 1970’s when I was in high school we had an oil crisis and we had long lines to get gas for your car and we had an oil embargo. I had a really good teacher in high school who pointed out that oil is a finite resource, there is only so much of it and at the time there was the issue of air pollution and that was becoming more well-known too. So it was a combination of air pollution issues and an embargo that made me realize that gas powered vehicles, have serious obstacles with them - they are causing harm to the environment and relying on limited resources. So I was very interested in solar and voltaic and I worked at Edison and their technology was getting better and better and they were getting good at converting sunlight into energy. I thought wouldn’t it be great to have a vehicle that you could power from sunlight so when electric cars first came out I was very interested, though they were very expensive. The notion of an electric motorcycle was better as it was cheaper than an electric car but still had the same behaviors of not using oil or gas. Everyone is now well aware of global warming but 30 or 40 years ago it wasn’t that well known yet. I felt like I wanted to have some sort of personal responsibility by getting into a vehicle that doesn’t have to be a problem. I don’t have an electric car as I cannot really afford it so I thought if I want to try and get into something the motorbike was a start as it is more affordable. That’s why I appreciate what Tesla is doing, to try and get the price down. By 2020 there will probably be more than double the electric cars than there are right now. Volvo will be all electric and pretty much all the major car manufacturers will be going electric. Chevy Volt is actually a really nice car and it’s affordable. I haven’t made the jump yet but I will.
I don’t listen to music when I ride a motorcycle but I love to hear music in a car. I don’t do that on a bike as I don’t think it’s is very safe, and of course a motorcycle has got no air conditioning. Your air conditioning is to put your visor up, that’s about all you get. I haven’t researched lithium mining so I’m not sure what the environmental impact is for battery manufacturing, but there are always downsides to the gathering of energy. One of our electric motorcycle group riders is totally into recycling energy and downloads solar to his motorcycle battery. There is still the manufacturing of the battery and the motorcycle plastic bodywork and I’m sure there are toxic elements but you are never going to be able to manufacture materials without some environmental impact, but it’s a lot less than gas and oil powered vehicles all things considered. And another one of the disadvantages with gas is you have leaks and more maintenance and more moving parts - with electric there is very little maintenance. Tyres, maybe a new drive belt, only the things that wear out. It’s much safer to use electric as you’re away from traffic, it’s so much faster. I’m just really glad that it seems as electric vehicles are doing so well, both cars and motorcycles, big trucks, electric semi’s, something you’d never conceive, that Tesla built, trucks are a big industry in America and they contribute so much to global warming, so I’m really looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to more electric car manufacturers releasing vehicles. I’m encouraged by that and it’s becoming less of a novelty and more of a feasible choice. Gas is actually going to become the novelty eventually but of course you have the oil industry to contend with. But oil is finite and eventually it’s going to be gone, hopefully before the sun blows up and takes us with it! L.A. has gotten worse for traffic and people talk about it all the time. People design their lives around traffic, they say they won’t even go to a place because of traffic but if you like motorcycling you can get there in half the time and it will be safer and ok.
I describe the ride on the electric motorcycle as being like on a flying carpet. The vehicle is so responsive because the torque is so strong, you can see ahead on the road as you sit high up and you can say to yourself ‘I want to be in that spot’ and with a very simple twist of the power you can be there instantly, it’s like flying. You can zip over there and it’s very safe. The car drivers probably think you’re crazy and if they want to keep their distance it’s better. They cannot hear me so I treat them as though I am invisible, as if they cannot see me or hear me.
A similar thing happened with drones as with electric vehicles. I was watching the tech develop over the years and when the tech first came out they just brought out a drone with a camera with a very rigid attachment and no control. So if the drone wobbled around in the air the image wobbled and you’d have to press record before it took off and turned it off when it landed. I got into it when they developed a very sophisticated gimbal for the camera, so there is no wobble and amazingly it shoots 4K. It went from a hobbyist’s toy to a very sophisticated tool for the professional.
I’m very much more aware of my own presence on a motorcycle. I took a motorcycle rider class when I rode a gas bike and one of my teachers was very experienced and one phrase he said was ‘keep your head on a swivel’ which totally makes sense. You need to have situational awareness and you need to know what is happening 360 degrees all around you. You are then much more safe. In a car you might doze off if you’re just looking straight ahead but on a bike I am always totally alert and my adrenaline is definitely very high. I am much more engaged, physically and mentally and I love that feeling.
So I initially learned how to fly the drone and then I did a lot of photography and video in nature. The flight restrictions are pretty well regulated and you cannot fly near an airport and not over people but you can fly near national forests so you have an opportunity to get amazing drone footage. Now I’m integrating the drone footage with the film making I’m doing so now I can get some very high quality imagery that even 10 years ago it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. The types of images you can get are breathtaking and I’m super happy being able to fly and film with a drone for my projects. The cost to get incredible shots is very reasonable these days.
The downsides of a motorcycle, whether it be electric or not, is they are a bit more dangerous than a car for the very reason that I said I feel invisible. Cars cannot see you sometimes and they will turn in front of you as they don’t know you are there. And the electric motorcycle requires charging which takes longer than filling up a gas tank. But that isn’t an issue as I can ride around all day and I can charge it up at night but if someone has to do a long commute they might have to charge up at work and I’ve read that a lot in the blogs online - about there being people being very careful with energy.
Electric scooters blew up in southern California about a year ago meaning that BIRD and LIME and one other company started to push these scooters out into the community and people got into it. And again, sort of like drones, sort of like EV’s, it seemed like a novelty at first but now people are using the scooters for transportation and they are counting on it. You can use these electric scooters to go from point A to point B and use an app on your phone in order to use them. You don’t have to maintain them, you just have to use it.
(left) Sales Director Fleet/Authority
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA â€¢ Location Number 12
(middle) South West Sales Director
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA â€¢ Location Number 12
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee
Greg Powell 68
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 13
Private Individual Electric Motorcycle Builder/Owner/Rider/Racer Back in about 2012 Preston Petty and I were discussing dirt bike motorcycles of the future. We had read about Zero Motorcycles and what they were doing up in Santa Cruz, CA. I’ve known Preston since the early 70’s and worked for him back in the day at his plastic factory up in Oregon. Preston is an innovator - the guy who invented the plastic motorcycle fender back in the late 60’s when all the dirt bikes had metal fenders. In 2013 we were talking about a new Zero electric motorcycle that had just come out and wondered how it could compete on a dirt track. So we bought a 2013 Zero MX from Hollywood Electrics and immediately started to modify it for flat track racing. We had a lot of success and Preston won quite a few races out at the Perris flat track races in the 70+ class. There’s quite a few videos of him on You Tube .Recently I’ve been racing another electric motorcycle from Alta Motors. So now we’ve got two electric motorcycles here today. They both belong to my company – Enerlon. We’re an electrical contractor specialising in building automation systems. Devices that communicate with other devices on networks connected to the internet is called IOT - ‘Internet of Things’. We’re involved with leading edge technologies and we think electric motorcycles are also very leading edge. We’ve been racing the electrics since about 2013 and before that I raced gas motorcycles. The electric drive train is cutting edge but it’s also incredible performance. The torque is instantaneous and the acceleration is phenomenal. It’s also programmable to allow changes to motor behaviour that match different track conditions. Sometime it’s so fast we really have to exercise a lot of throttle control as the rear wheel tends to spin quite easily.
and suspension from KTM. I don’t ride on the street, there’s cars out there - too dangerous. I save my racing for the track. Our 2013 Zero motor, batteries, and electronics were recently moved to a new custom frame from Trackmaster Racing fabricated by Tri-C Engineering out here in So Cal. It was kind of an experiment to see if we could do it and it handles very well. Preston did the design and we call it the ePetty. We’re not really interested in making or own motors or batteries My good friend and fellow Dirt Digger – Bad Andy is racing it for the first time this weekend. In the electric motorcycle industry today It’s only Zero, Alta, and KTM that I know of. However, the electric bicycle industry is making some huge leaps forward so who knows what that is going to bring about. We look forward to seeing more electric players come out and compete with us. Flat track competition is the only racing I do right now. I’ve raced desert, motocross, and enduros since the early 70’s, but there is no other adrenaline rush like dirt track racing. Especially on a quiet, super fast, electric bike. It’s kind of cool not to hear the noise of my motor while I’m racing. I just hear the sound of the chain whining while feeling the sound of the speed itself. I often find myself laughing and yelling at people to get out of my way while I’m racing. Because it’s fairly silent, the guys on the gas bikes don’t even know how close I am until I pass them - they just can’t hear me coming!
The major electric motorcycle players we see out here in California have been Zero and Alta - they are the two major brands. Alta recently lost some funding from Harley-Davidson and has ceased operations but we don’t know the whole story yet. I read a comment from one of the principles that it may not be over. Alta might come back again with different owners and different investors, we just don’t know at this time but are hoping for a comeback. Why do I race electric motorcycles? It’s a little of both here today, promotion for my company and a hell of a lot of fun for me too. I think the Alta is a more competition motorcycle out of the box and the Zero is more of a dual sport motorcycle. The basic modifications we’ve done on the Alta were suspension and wheels/tires. We had the suspension lowered and modified by Davey Durrelle, a flat track specialist and also put on 19 inch front and rear wheels with flat track tires. The motor and drive is stock. I think that’s one thing we were looking forward to is access to the software that will allow us to customize adjustments to motor behaviour. However that’s not yet been made available. We hope eventually they will offer it to the racers if they stay in business. But as it sits, the Alta is quite competitive right now. Especially the way it accelerates off the start line and jumps out ahead quicker than the gas bikes do Plus the acceleration down the straight away is just amazing. I think Alta is better than Zero as far as being a competition motorcycle – handling and components, are much higher quality such as brakes, suspension, wheels, they use alot of parts like brakes
Trevor Doniak 33
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 13
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee
My job during the day, my title is ‘Lead Test Rider’ for research and development for Zero Motorcycles so I work directly with the factory. It’s really my dream job come true, I honestly have to pinch myself, asking myself is this a dream. This is what I’m saying man, it fell into my lap. I was working at Sears and a friend called me and said this motorcycle place opened up and they’re hiring. And now I’ve been with them for almost 10 years.
is the future. It is environmentally friendly and people really love that as we only have this planet to live on and we can no longer deteriorate it. People have to understand this and I think the technology is going to evolve really fast. We need to feed it.
I do still ride a gas bike. I have a 2013 Kawasaki 450 and I enjoy riding that on motocross tracks. Electric will consume a lot of energy on a motocross track on the bike because the dirt can be really deep. I’d rather be test riding an electric bike just because there are no vibrations and no noise and it’s honestly more enjoyable on an electric motorcycle, it’s like a magic carpet ride. When I started with Zero the product was more of a glorified mountain bike and I thought this was cool, but it didn’t really seem as though it would take off as it wasn’t durable enough and I would go out and break certain components and I’d come back and say they need to be better, be beefier and I was told I was riding them too hard. So at that point they really started to grow their research and development. I’d have to say in 2010 and 2011 we started to produce our S and DS bike that were street bikes and the mountain bike look started to recede. Pretty much when I started to test ride they started to test ride the bikes to make them more durable. Honestly I think electric is the future, you see car manufacturers and they are saying they will not even produce gas cars in the future and to see how technology is evolving, there is no doubt in my mind that it will be huge and it
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee
I work for Zero, I am a power train sales technician. That’s working with third parties and converting products to EV - electric vehicles. So right now we do sell our power trains to third party customers, we offer our power train package. People come to us who might already have internal combustion and they want us to convert it to electric. All kinds of vehicles - everything and I can’t really go into details. So let’s say, if a bicycle manufacturer comes up to us and wants to make it electric we work with them to make it electric.
For the most part my day consists of commuting to work on the Zero and then there might be some tech work that needs doing on the bike or parts changing. I’d be riding anywhere between 60 - 80 miles per ride. I have a really good route through the mountains and I really try and exert the bikes when I go out and ride. There’s different firmware that we’re testing for new products for different battery algorithms and everyday we’re testing new things and giving information back to the engineering team. I mean, I love working with motorcycles, I’ve been riding and working with bikes since I was 4 years old, it’s ingrained in me and it is my life, I really don’t like to do an thing else. In our department mostly everyone is a pretty competent rider so if I’m out then we can all test ride the motorcycle pretty well but it is a dream job come true. Like I’ve said I’ve grown up racing my entire life. When I was 16 I got a Supercross licence and raced different AMA Nationals so as far as experience goes I think I have the most experience racing motorcycles so because I’m a test rider I’m really good at figuring out what needs doing to make it handle and feel better. We focus on tyre pressures and if you’re a very competent rider you can feel it taking effect, if the tyre is falling over or sliding into a corner. Suspension is a big thing and we’ll go out and evaluate that. Different power maps, electric has so much torque and it spins up so easily, we are experimenting with different maps to make the bike easier to control.
Kyle Hernandez 32
I also help with development for Zero internally with the power train for future products and sometimes test riding when they need it. It’ll be ten years in January so it’s the same as Trevor. I’m super passionate about motorcycles and I raced motocross in my teenage years, but was never fast enough to make money from it. In January 2009 I saw that Zero was doing a big hiring in Santa Cruz. I thought that they were cool and wanted to see what they were all about so I worked on the battery assembly line and then transferred as a technician. It’s only a matter of time before everyone adopts electric, it’s going that way.
(Kyle Hernandez, below)
I was more passionate about the motorcycle side and as I saw the product develop over the years, higher performance and more robust I became a believer that there is much more that you can do with an electric motor than an internal combustion engine. I just feel that electric motorcycles, that in the next 2 to 3 years, you’re going to see a lot of the big manufacturers getting involved. You can’t argue the numbers the bike makes, the horsepower and the torque the bike makes, the numbers don’t lie. I just think that it’s really hard for people as everyone that rides is very passionate about it. The biggest thing is not giving EV’s a chance and not riding them. You’d see people at first looking at the bike hesitantly and I’d say then that 90% of everyone that rode the bikes would come back with a big grin. There is more infrastructure now for fast charging and luckily we have a lot of charge stations in California. When the States buys more charging stations up and installs them it will make it that much more accessible for people to buy. I love racing motorcycles, thats why I’m here and I want to promote the product and prove that electric is competitive to gas vehicles. Because if you’re beating them what can they say? And I love testing parts and putting them through their paces, all great companies go racing and things trickle down to production from racing.
Tyler Bojarsky 29
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Store Employee
I’m mainly a service manager for electric motorcycles. That’s pretty much the daily ins and outs, for service for electric motorcycles and that could also include customer requests for customisation for speed or aesthetics. LED lights because it looks cool or clip-on racing handlebars or rear sets, because it’s more desired for a race position.
with them, not that they couldn’t, but there is no place where they can call in and ask to swap them or work on then. The depth we work in is very specific to this shop. It’s not to say other people cannot do that but there are no other businesses saying they have a named brand that they can say they are an electric motorcycle mechanic for.
It’s interesting seeing the diversity of motorcycle riders and what makes who happy and why.
We can say we are the only one that provides a specific all around service for Zero bikes. I can say that Harlan, who has a better understanding of the components, and myself who has a better understanding of physical removal because I work with the bikes more, are the only two people working privately on Zero electric motorcycles. As far as internal work on components, to my understanding right now, no other private contractor works for a dealership of an electric motorcycle manufacturer.
A friend of my mine who was the previous manager (of where I am working now) was trying to focus solely on suspension for motorcycles and he started his own business. So that started to take over and he wanted to pursue that as his sole goal. So he asked me if I wanted to take over his position, I had been doing low voltage wiring for security cameras and pretty much any low volt wiring, data networking, and I was riding motorcycles in the weekend when I wasn’t doing that and I pretty much wanted to do something with motorcycles full time - so that’s how I got on it. I had been servicing motorcycles in my own garage, in my own time, flipping bikes, reselling bikes and maintenance. More or less anything to do with motorcycles. I got involved from a very young age, I rode bicycles at a high level, trick bicycles, BMX’s. I did that for about 10 years. And if a friend’s bike broke they would bring them to me and I would fix them. That’s how I got the experience from repairing 2 wheeled bikes and then when I was 13 my Mom bought me my first motorbike, it was a Yamaha TTR225. I was a pretty big kid so I needed something stand-over height. I really wanted a YZ250 race bike but it was way too expensive.
There is a ton of companies making electric motorcycles. Lots of Chinese and Taiwanese and techie people are trying to create these concept bikes, many of which don’t make it to production. The main players are Zero, Energica and it was Alta bu they just went under the table. Harley has been trying to get into it since 2014 and Honda has bought a couple of bikes from Zero and they are trying to reverse engineer how they make it happen. Everyone wants to figure out how they work and what they do. The big manufacturers have realised that the public isn’t accepting yet of electric motorcycles so they haven’t put their products into the market yet as they are worried it will flop. When the consumer accepts it then you will see some really remarkable stuff. The marketing behind an electric motorcycle is a very niche area. It’s a very small market.
Being a young teenager I need to get my speed fix and once I got the taste for what I needed, it didn’t take much for me to want more. From a very young age I was one of those kids at 3 years old playing with blocks and I’d make my own suspension bridge and I’d arrange bricks in a certain way to allow it to hold itself up. Nobody taught me that I had seen it, like the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge.
The reason behind that I believe is what is the essence of a motorcycle. It is the vibration, the noise, the smell of petrol, the wind through your hair and maybe there is a little leak somewhere. People are choosing to ride a motorcycle because of those experiences, not because of ease of maintenance. It’s more accessible than to a techie crowd who want a more reserved general feel compared to a gas bike.
I became a fanatic for Lego and I had every set whenever it came out. I’d put different pieces together from one project and put them into another project and I’d make little cities, and planes, ships. Every day I’d have my own agenda of things I’d try and make. As I got older I made a Boeing 737 that I was proud of and I’d gotten parts for it from a kit that was for a Lego space shuttle which had speciality parts. It was about 6 feet long and 3 and a half feet wide.
Until there is a larger demographic of a person who want a less abrasive feel on two wheels, then that is when things will take off. The public isn’t there yet in what they really want from an electric motorcycle.
I was never employed as a gas bike mechanic. Only ever as a self proprietor. A garage mechanic. I’d say there are probably less than 10 electric motorcycle mechanics in the world. There are no dedicated electric motorcycle shops. We are the only one in California and the entire USA. The components were are working with today, no other mechanics can work
I prefer electric if I’m doing short errands, general day to day monotonous style riding - if you know you’re doing point to point that is generally a very boring ride. That’s typically when I will appreciate the electric motorcycle compared to a gas bike. My commute is so short that by the time I have warmed up a gas bike to go 5 miles or so and heat up all your internals, it feels like a waste of a heat cycle. With electric it’s just less of an ordeal to get going but in retrospect I enjoy the ordeal of gas, that’s why I ride. The process of riding a gas motorcycle, putting on the gear, the smell of it, the start of it, warming it up, clicking it in gear, feeling the clack, letting the clutch out and upshifting through the
gears and hearing the chain on the sprockets and the brakes working on the downshifting - that’s what gets me off. Doing a full-on track launch. Revving it up to 13,000rpm in every single gear behind the screen, not losing 1/100th of a second. Popping up behind the screen, sitting up, the wind hitting you and the noise and the feeling. The tyres on the road. There are certain characteristics of an electric bike and that is some of the beauty for the person that doesn’t necessarily appreciate the attributes I enjoy on a gas bike. I’m a very mechanical person and I would compare it to a person that want’s to drive a 70’s muscle car compared to someone who wants to buy a 2017 Honda Accord. The ones that have the manual transmission on an electric motorcycle like Energica, you physically hear gears and hear the chain, it’s a much more mechanical, purer sensation of movement. You hear the whine and stuff clicking, you feel the mechanisation going on. That’s the Energica. The Zero is much more refined and it’s very linear to the rider. I think there is very strong market for electric motorcycles in the future. As our tech industries are seemingly taking over people’s interests I believe it is only a matter of time before they become regularly seen. Obviously you have your environmental benefits where you are not giving off emissions and dumping oil and not using as much cleaners, brake cleaners, aerosols to get rid of oil residue, they have much less residual impact on the environment around them than their gas counterparts. More or less I’d say the heart of the bike is the battery. It provides all the energy for the bike to control, it’s distributing it to the controller and once the controller has it, it distributes it to the motor. The controller and the bikes computer is monitoring the input and it knows what it can put down to the ground, it finds the balance of traction and acceleration. You have your battery, the controller, the motor and the wheels. It’s a pretty short path from the battery to the motor. Obviously you’d have the charger to charge the battery and various other small electrical components that control the 12 volt system on the bike. Simple things like your dash that reads you your ride information but other than that those are pretty much all the things that make your electric motorcycle move. On a gas bike there are hundreds of parts that make you move, in the engine alone there must be 500 parts at least. I mean literally, I’m not even joking, I can do anything to a motorcycle, I can completely strip down every single nut and bolt and obviously get it to run right. My enjoyment comes from customisation and being creative in respect to the decor of the motorcycle. Mainly most of my work is brake pads and tyres and servicing electric components that have to be checked over periodically just like on airplanes and other safety first vehicles.
Eric Barkelow 55
MAP PART A - LOS ANGELES AREA • Location Number 14
Private Individual Owner/Rider
I always loved slot cars when I was a child and always wanted a vehicle with that much acceleration off the line where it would fly off the track. I never cared for the smell of exhaust. Diesel or petrol, it’s never been something I enjoyed. I always wanted an alternative but it was never available and I’m not enough of a scientist to make one myself. The EV1 that GM made - I went for a test drive and wanted it. I’d been taking an assignment for a public speaking class and made it about electric vehicles because the EV1 had been produced but nobody knew it existed and I wanted it but couldn’t get it. It’s about efficiency and easy simplicity. The word KISS comes to mind. ‘Keep it simple stupid’ because if you keep it simple you won’t have as many problems later. It can also look good and be fast too. l was a truck driver for a number of years and I learnt how to drive safely. We, my wife and I, bought a Nissan Leaf in 2011 and it was the first 4 door car we had ever bought in our entire lives. I could have bought a Prius but I wanted to have a completely electric powered car. It was a gamble and we had no way of knowing. I didn’t know of the carbon environment but I love wildlife and the clean air. When I first moved to Pasadena I couldn’t see the mountains because of the smog and when you live in those conditions you want to do something to change it. Electric vehicles are coming and it’s so exciting right now. Back in 2012 I had a Kawasaki Drifter 1500cc motorcycle. I called it a Volkswagen with 2 wheels. Even though it looked good and made a statement it was not safe because of the number of people using cell phones in cars as there was no law back then for using them. So I quit riding motorcycles. I test rode a Zero motorcycle back in 2010 but it just wasn’t going to cut it because they had a chain drive running against a plastic guard that made a horrific sound and the beauty of the bike was its silence, so I told them to redesign it with shaft or belt drive. It was also $10,000 for a range of 20 miles I couldn’t do that as I had a mountain to climb and my commute was 18 miles. Also my work wouldn’t let me recharge it. Then later in 2013 I could take advantage of the ‘cash for carbon’ offer from the government where they gave you $2000 plus the cost of my Kawasaki motorcycle. That meant I only had to be out of pocket a couple of grand. The range was enough to get me to work and back without having to charge. I only needed a commuter bike and I could enjoy the ride there and back and being a driver for work meant I didn’t want to use a car to commute. I had been driving the Nissan Leaf and then my wife took it over and then in 2013 we agreed to buy a Tesla Model S. I want it to be a legacy car and I want to keep it for the rest of my life and pass it down through the generations. It gets better over time as it has downloadable upgrades. There are just so many advantages of using a rechargeable battery. There are a lot of States that are powered by renewable energy. I love value, I’m not about
the value of money, money is just a tool. If I can buy something that is useful in my life that’s valuable. The electric vehicle makes my life better as I enjoy it and it’s almost free, it doesn’t get much happier than that. One of the downsides of getting the Tesla is because I stopped riding the electric motorcycle. If you’ve got a Tesla and a motorbike which one are you gong to take? Picture this - in 2011 I turned up to work in a Nissan Leaf and everyone turned up in pickups. Do you know what that did to my credibility! So when I turned up in a Tesla do you know what that did for me? The charging infrastructure was also being put in for the public and that was a big deal. I love to ride the mountain roads with my electric motorcycle, for one it’s the nature. I only have the sound of the wind going past my ears and there are times I have taken off my helmet because of the feeling it gives me and it’s worth the risk. The amount of control I have over the vehicle is another reason, its reaction time is infinitely faster than a gas powered motorcycle and I can decide how much power I want to take out of it and put back into it. It’s faster than using a car and reacting with one pedal driving (in an automatic car). You can adjust how much regenerative braking you have to some degree and I love that. Its about control and safety. Every girlfriend I have ever put on the back of a motorcycle has burned her leg on the exhaust pipe. That just doesn’t happen with electric. I love the fact that the bike reacts as fast as I do to new dangers. I can feather through curves if I came into a corner a little slow and can give it more throttle if I want to a better degree. Im not into making oil changes as I was never into that so electric is far easier for me as I don’t like to do maintenance. I want my vehicles to work for me rather than me work for them. As long as you have a place to charge it’s convenient. If you don’t have a place I don’t recommend them but it’s not that hard to over come right now. In the past 5 years Zero has increased the battery capacity by 5 kilowatt hours, I find that stunning. Tesla have done the same so they go further on less energy. It is going to make the grid cleaner so we can store more power. If you can store the energy that is being made you can save an exponential amount of electricity that will be a lot better than out current system. Third world countries will be able to install solar powered vehicles and use maintenance free vehicles and it will raise them out of a very hard life. So that’s my end goal, so that the energy deficient will be able to utilise this technology and utilise it to suit their needs. There is a doctor riding around Africa using electric so where there is a will to do it, it will happen. There was a pretty incredible industrial revolution and now there is going to be a pretty incredible electrical revolution. People will miss the roar of a gas powered engine and yes they used to attract women but with electric you also gain
efficiency and safety. Guys buy trucks not to haul loads but to get women. Most of the pickups you see around here have never been used for what they were designed for and most of them don’t drive over 5000 miles a year. But it’s not about the rumble of the engine, just test drive a Tesla and even though it’s silent you’ll see how fast it is. Teenagers want the ‘loud’ though and I get the excitement of the drag race as the noise is more interesting than the actual race. The reason that California is the leader in this, electric vehicles, is because we can see the air. It’s because we are compromised by the smog that’s in the air. California has ‘been there’, ‘done that’ and ‘doesn’t want to continue there!’ There as a guy in China that vacuumed the air and after 2 or 3 weeks made a brick from it. That’s why people what to make a change and make a difference. Even in the house we are making it very efficient and more and more people are adopting this change in attitude. Other people worry about how the economy will keep on moving as one thing gas does is keep money moving. It’s going to put a lot of people out of work - the people who have made a living from gas and gas powered vehicles. But all the new gas driven stuff is so hard to work on now anyway and you have to plug it in to see what is wrong with it. And alot of people don’t want to work on them as it takes so long. It’s true that electric motorcycles don’t have the range and without the investment from people who believe in it, it’s going to go away. You can buy a good gas bike cheaply and ride them all around the country and if it’s an economic thing you’re going to choose a gas bike. What it easier about electric is it’s easier to climb up a curb safely because you have more control of the amount of torque you want. You can also get into trouble with it as it has a different amount of power than you are used to. But it’s a reliable transport that you can plug in at home and if you come home at 3am your neighbours don’t hate you. It’s a huge advantage for me as I live in a canyon, like my Kawasaki used to wake everybody up. I did have a friend that said it’s almost like a kick starter campaign for electric motorcycles as it’s new technology but Zero has been in business for over 13 years so it’s more than a kick-starter campaign and I am very thankful to them for giving me a motorcycle that works. Before they weren’t powerful enough but now they feel like I felt when I had a Suzuki Bandit 1200 which would whisper to me “that I can go faster!” and now I don’t have to keep a commercial licence anymore for work that I have retired I can listen to that whisper from the Zero as often as I like. For me my life now is about promoting electric vehicles, promoting captive conservation and wilful conservation, particularly of wild cats as I think more can be done for many species of animals that are threatened.
Amy Hunter 52
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 1
Gas/Electric Motorcycle Store Employee I learned how to ride when I was 5. My Dad taught me, there was 4 of us kids. Always 2 bikes and a lot of arguing. My Dad wanted 2 sons so I was my Dad’s makeshift son. 1 boy, 3 girls. My older sister rides, cross country. She went through a divorce and there is a certain amount of healing that goes on inside your helmet. I was the tom boy but I’m definitely the girliest now. My Dad put us all on a bike with minimal explanation, it was a different world back then. My Dad was very different, there wasn’t a lot of explanation, you just turned the throttle and went - the first time I went up a tree. If you are going on the bike you are responsible for it, like checking the oil and the tyres and definitely I took to it better than my other sisters and I used to think I was a lot better than I was. It always felt like I was doing something phenomenal and that I was doing some crazy speed but I never kept up with anyone. I thought I was a bad ass but I wouldn’t have won any races. My perception of bad ass has changed alot since then. The first street bike that I ever rode was a Honda Ascot, it was my sister’s and she didn’t ride as much as I did so I would always steal it from her. I think that it was being an awkward child, I was super awkward, I was a tom boy and when I went back to school people would want to know what I was doing so I would tell them stories about being on a motorcycle. It was the perception that people had that I was a bad ass. It was just how everyone responded and they still respond that way now. I was first introduced to Zero when I was working at a BMW dealership and I told them no, I wouldn’t ride an electric bike, over and over. I grew up on 2 strokes and I grew up on the smell of it in the morning and the sound of it and the changing of gears. So when I thought of it, I would think of tyres spinning and how was I going to get the smell of 2 stroke on an electric? It felt like it would be a pseudo experience. So the day finally came when I said I would give it a go. I grabbed my helmet and the key where I work and while I was going round one way a uniformed policeman was coming round the other way and we both threw our legs over at the same time, and I said so are we going to ride around together like CHIPs? He gave me a serious straight face and wagged his finger at me so I told him off for not having a sense of humour. Like I wasn’t good enough to ride with him or funny enough and when I took off I had a middle finger attitude. I thought that was funny and he didn’t and I could hear him yelling at me as I rode down the street. He was yelling ‘Hey I’m talking to you!’ and I had a sensor overload as we were doing 40mph and I wasn’t sure if was really hearing him. I suddenly woke up and could heard the leaves crunching under my tyres and I stopped my resentment to him and started giggling that I was having fun and I realised it wasn’t the decrepit Toys R Us I though it was going to be. Then he said ‘follow me’, and I realised that if I was going to be riding with someone like CHIPs that I didn’t have to worry about getting pulled over or arrested so we rode side by side and sometimes he chased me and I chased him all around town. After that I started leading motorcycle rides, taking people out on events. I am one of the few people at work that can take any bike from work or
the van and use it. I was employed by Zero, an electric motorcycle manufacturer and I had their research and development suped-up bike, with a chain kit and suped-up batteries that made it faster. I am super committed to the whole electric concept, all the change that has to happen, going green is super important to me. They have prohibited 2 strokes now and my daughter’s future matters to me. I sought after employment with Zero for a long time and I wanted to learn more, make a difference and be a part of a movement, it wasn’t just a job. There is the environment that matters, the lack of needing to do maintenance that matters but it’s also the way of riding electric, I ride ‘derelic’ style and hooligan riding. Women ride emotionally and for the experience and men ride for a false sense of pride. The air of women riding is of welcome and experience, with men it’s an extension of their personality and ego. Women talk about camaraderie and the experience it provides them.
Shante Ross-Robinson 30
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 1
Private Individual Owner/Rider
I’ve pretty much been involved with motorbikes my whole life, thanks to my Mom. I started, well since I was little, I’ve been on a motorbike, on the tank in front of my Mom, my uncle and my aunt. I did dirt biking when I was little, l crashed a lot and didn’t want to get back on. I always wanted a street bike and when my son was older my Mom taught me how to learn to ride a street bike and it’s been history since then. I’ve got a busy life and a busy household and two boys, not including my husband and I’m also a nurse, paediatrics, so sometimes I just need to get away from it all. I love it because it allows me time for myself and to clear my head. To have an escape to find peace. Life is extremely hectic and especially with being at work, there are a lot of cases I see on a regular basis that is very emotionally draining. It’s a total feeling of taking a deep breath, being able to get on the bike and just feel the motions of the bike with going through the twisties of the Redwoods and going along the coast and being able to feel free in nature. Probably I’ve bee riding electric for about a year. My Mom worked for Zero and it started by doing a ride in the Scotts Valley 4th of July parade. The things that I like about electric is the way how the bike rides. With the throttle, of not having that jump between shifting gears, it’s just one consistent roll of the throttle. If they came out with a different style of bike, then I’d buy one. If they had more of a sports bike style then I would definitely get that. So I have a Ninja 300 and the way how you can hug corners on a sports bikes is totally different to an upright bike. The way to think about it, to understand it, when you are on a sports bike you are hugging the bike - when yo are leaning into the corners. But in corners on an upright bike you are sitting up straight on corners and you have to do the corner by using a lower half body manoeuvre. For me to be on an upright and comfortable in corners I have to put all my weight on the inside foot that I’m taking the turn on and shift my upper body weight counter to the turn. The environment is one of the other reasons I enjoy it, emissions, it doesn’t put out any to the air and we can stop hurting the earth so much. The trees and the oceans can only put out so much oxygen to clean the air. I think that if the electric companies create different models of bikes then you can get a lot more people to ride. But if that doesn’t happen I don’t see many riders changing to it. Every rider has their own style and comfort of riding. I really don’t know many people who own electric bikes but I know a lot of people who have ridden them. I ride with Bay Area Moto girls. That’s for the entire Bay area - San Francisco, Hayward, Oakland, San Jose. There are 40 to 50 members, we do hooligan riding and one of our riders is a stunt rider, Robyn Stunts and she has 150,000 followers on Instagram. It’s only for girls and it doesn’t matter what riding stage you’re in. It’s a huge eclectic group. I don’t think that many of them have actually ridden or demoed an electric. I’m a nurse all day and a Mom and when I feel sexiest it is on a bike. I think
there is an assumtive position of strength that it was always for men but I tell my husband there is something about taking that away from men and owning it. I tell him I an not a rucksack, I am a suitcase. And I need my own damn bike, I am not an accessory. I saw my father pass away, I was 2 and I became very withdrawn, depressed - it was hard to make friends for my whole childhood. I had suicidial thoughts, it was my father passing and my mother’s lack of ability to deal with it. So when my Mom taught me how to ride a bike it totally changed everything, even though I crashed a lot. You know that whole thing of sight fixation, that when you stare at it you go at it. Like at the outhouse - I went through it and the cliff - I went off it! I flipped a quad on top of me and was pinned. I would scream a lot to my Mom get it off me and sell it! Two years ago I did a full compound fracture to my wrist but still wanted to carry on and it was the best weekend of my life at ‘Babes Ride Out’. It’s a woman’s only event and they have multiple events but there is one they have every year that’s down south in Hungry Valley that is a dirt bike event. We stay the weekend and ride dirt bikes, hundreds of women. I do my own maintenance and don’t like people wrenching my bike. The electric is fun to change it up, to change from the sports bike to the electric. So with riding today it’s fun to use the type of power it has, it has a good consistent power. But I’m just not comfortable in an upright position.
Andrew Davidge 27
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 2
Electric Bicycle Company Owner
I’m the founder and lead design of Vintage Electric. Why do I build electric bicycles? I think it’s simplicity, that is a big reason and the ability to build vehicles that are still fun and inspire people to get on them and also they are good for the environment. I always wanted to design vehicles ever since I was a little kid and I didn’t ever think it was going to be this type of vehicle but oh man when we designed the first one I realised it was what a lot of people would love to get around town on. I’d built go karts and race cars and off road trucks and all that kind off stuff and motorcycles. I’d just use stuff around the house for mini bikes to the first gas powered bike that was kind of like a Vintage Electric. We’d get bike parts and fit chainsaw motors to them, that kind of thing. Electric really hadn’t struck me to begin with, I did some research and bought the parts and built it and realised that this is the way to travel. It was simple, it has the speed and it was clean. I don’t think it had to do with the future, we wanted to build the best vehicle to get around the city but also is clean, the ease of electricity with the power and convenience, but also the look. Design and aesthetics are so powerful in getting someone to go on something. It’s beautiful and can inspire them to move over to the green revolution and what it can do for their day to day lives that will do it. If it’s ugly and doesn’t ride well then it’s not going to sell. I love all kinds of motorcycles, from the very first one to the 1000cc Ducatis that are racing GPs but we wanted to make it timeless and classic and we were inspired by the first motorcycles, that were really bicycles with an engine strapped to them. We wanted something that everyone can relate to, from a 16 year old to a 65 year old. We talk about it a lot at work, it’s not because it’s vintage, but timeless. If you look at a classic car a 3 year old is just as enamoured with it as a 70 year old. I think there are two paths to it, the one path that is moving driverless cars from point A to point B. Or the second path is designing a vehicle that is a true adventure whenever you are riding one. I think that with a lot of the green cars that are coming out a lot are autonomous and you aren’t really experiencing it and it’s a disappointment because we need to have vehicles that are inspirational and aspirational. We want to create a green vehicle that gives you that sense of adventure. The battery tech…for me if I am throwing a leg over a motorcycle I want more range. On an electric bicycle you aren’t limited as there are so many places you can ride a bicycle, it’s like having a cheat key to your city - you can ride anywhere. If you’re on a Zero in San Francisco you are stuck in all that same bad traffic, the same as you would be on a gas bike but with a Vintage Electric you can ride on all the beautiful bike paths that exist with no cars in sight. You can lane split and go in the bicycle lane and on dirt trails that allow electric bicycles, on fire roads, anywhere you can ride a bicycle you can ride a Vintage Electric. You can lock it up to a tree, lock it up to anywhere, it’s all the power you need out of a motorcycle in the city with all the utility of a bicycle. On the ‘Cafe’ model you can remove the battery, park your bike anywhere and bring it up to you apartment and charge it on your bedside table, anywhere you
have a household outlet you have the ability to recharge. I think that Vintage Electric will always push the envelope of what an electric bike will be and we are always watching and listening to what type of vehicle people truly needs to use around their city and we are open to build whatever type of vehicle that is. We say we are not an electric bike company, we say we are a transportation company. I don’t think gas will stop soon because people are buying cars right now that they are going to keep 20 or 30 years but what excites us is that we want to build vehicles that can eliminate most vehicles around the city. During the week you can commute on a clean awesome mode of transportation and keep your car for the weekend. I think that most cars sold in the next 10 years will be electric. 10 years from now they are all going to be electric. I have too many ideas, but I think this is a dream job, I have a small amazing team that gets to design and build the vehicles that we and our customers dream about. There are no incentives from the government to help us with this company, it’s purely out of passion. On our bikes there is a battery which feeds the controller which is the brains of the system, it feeds the rear hub motor and this is an important difference because most electric bicycles are mid-drive. But we stick with hub-driven bikes as we love the simplicity of them, their maintenance free nature and we love the amount of power we can put through them. Most other mid-drives that are coning out from large manufactures, are only allowed to put out 250w as all the power is going through the standard chain running gear but on our bikes we can put out 750w as there is no stress going through the standard drive chain. What comes from the hub motor is power and torque - completely silent and maintenance free. And where a hub motor is bad is for a light full suspension mountain bike but for a city commuter bike we believe that hub motors are the best. I think the main selling point is quality, we have a saying that planned obsolescence is bullshit. We want to be able to have this bike found in a barn in 100 years and put a new battery in it and use it for another 10 years. We develop complete upgrade kits for our past models so that customers can bring the bicycles up to speed and use them for more years to come, on a bicycle that they’ve already had so many good memories with. I think it’s really speed, quality and styling that sets us apart, I won’t say speed as that sounds dangerous so instead ‘performance’. The range is 75 miles and I think the range can always improve but we’ve got to the point that our customers don’t come back and say ‘I think I need more range out of this bike’. We’ve doubled what customers have had in the past and they are no longer coming back asking for more range. What excites me about our bikes is the ability not to have to charge it for 2 weeks and be able to use it every day. In the future there will be Graphene batteries that are lighter and more power dense. I see batteries becoming structural components for chassis in vehicles of the future. To take over gas powered vehicles they will need to be able to
charge in 10 minutes or have a 1000 mile range, or both. People can rarely drive more than 500 miles in a day but if they have to then that is when batteries will really start to take over in a car and I think for motorcycles that would be 400 miles in a day, for them to take over. The Vintage Electric bicycles can go 20 miles per hour in California using throttle only. They can go 28 miles per hour utilising ‘pedal assist’ and we have an off road option for private property only for 36 mph. On throttle with street legal you can pretty much go at 20 mph everywhere, up hills and into a head wind. On flat ground in private property mode you can pretty much cruise at 36mph but also 20mph up any grade. It’s up more than a 23% grade that it starts to struggle. Depending on which battery it takes between 2 to 4 hours to charge. It costs 20 cents for a full charge and it will do 75 miles. Today we went up a road for 10 miles that climbed 3000 feet in elevation. My fastest time up that hill is 15 minutes and we today did it in about 25 minutes. I think that in order for people to get on electric bikes there has to be an awareness and an infrastructure that supports it. Traffic had to get so bad that there is no other solution - it is happening in some areas and they are heavily investing in bicycle infrastructure where you can feel safe and people are using them more. It becomes the fastest way. We have customers that have lost 70 pounds in weight riding them and have lost a leg for various reasons and it’s the first time they have been able to get out on a bicycle. There is no excuse not to use an electric bicycle so you just have to get it into your routine. There are a lot of companies popping up building electric bikes but we try to stay on the edge of that because we cannot compete so instead we specialise in doing what we do very well. We want to build cool vintage bikes that you feel good about and when you pull up to a coffee shop that 10 people will come out and ask you about it. What matters is the person that it resonates with as we know that not everyone will be attracted to it. It’s not to say I don’t want to appeal to a lot more people but I think that is just down to getting in front of a lot more eyeballs and getting people to appreciate our bikes and to use them. It’s getting more people interested in calling us as we will talk to you all day. Right now our main customer is 45 to 75 year olds who love vintage and timeless aesthetics but are also early adopters of new technology. I don’t really see it as men or women as both ride our bikes, it’s just the mindset you have, some have it, some don’t. I think people around here are just interested in new tech and innovation, it’s a future that is ingrained in Silicone Valley. We have a lot of customers that are in the middle of nowhere, it’s not where you are located, it’s about having something new and exciting in your life. Old, die-hard motorcycle fans, like an old Indian rider recently, wanted one of our bikes because of the aesthetics of it. We love cars and motorcycles and an appreciation of anything that looks good and goes fast and so do our customers. The one thing that separates us from our rivals is that our customers are like family, we will pick up the phone and talk to them about their family, when we see you are spending your energy and are passionate about our ideas you become part of our family.
Andrew Davidge 27 Electric Bicycle Company Owner
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA â€¢ Location Number 2
Ryan Finney 37
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 3
Private Individual Owner/Rider
I bought my first Alta a little more than a year ago. I chose it for how quiet they are. That’s the only reason I bought it, not to piss my neighbours off. It wasn’t a problem me riding motocross before as I am a very respectful neighbour and I was riding with stock mufflers but with electric bikes it is that much quieter. And obviously also if something is better for the environment I am all for it, but literally I bought this just strictly for how quiet they are and they are full size which is good. This is my second Alta and I bought it today because I want my friends to ride with me and this new bike is updated. I have my own track and access to other tracks that are private. I also use it when I go camping too, it’s great for campgrounds as nobody is getting pissed off with you for being a disturbance. You can charge it up with a generator and off you go. With the different electronic control map, if you want to hit really hard it’s like dropping the clutch on a 450cc motocrosser off the starting gate, if you want it to feel that way. It’s just like dropping the clutch in 2nd gear and Boom! you’re gone, If you want it. The company ran out of money, apparently they were doing well too and were starting to sell bikes, opening dealarships and winning races. I’m going to buy quite a few spares just in case they don’t come back and if I can get 5 years out of this bike it will be worth the 13K I just paid.
Tim Seward 37
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 4
Electric Moped Company Owner
I generally have been into gas powered mopeds, 2 strokes since I was a kid and about 8 years ago I started to customize 2 stroke mopeds but they are just really loud and they get really smelly. I don’t mind smelling of 2 stroke oil or gas but my co-workers might mention it and also I’d have to work on the motors as they’d break down so I thought about making them electric. I wanted to make it as fast as some customised 2 stroke mopeds and some have been built to do 60 or 70 miles an hour. Some people want to go that speed but it takes quite a a lot of modifications and a lot of skill and I wanted to make sure that these were up to speed with other builder’s modifications. My 2 models here can keep up with the higher power 2 stroke mopeds. In general I was looking to have my mopeds keep up with the performance builds that people are building these days around the world. The CTY model is supposed to ride and feel more like a stock mooed so pretty much everything about it is the same as a moped you could buy in the 1960’s and the 70s and the RCR rides like a higher performing system 2 stroke build. I say 2 stroke because it is generally the engine that came with mopeds and with it you can customise it pretty easily, with expansion chambers and different jetting. But with a 4 stroke you have to do a lot more than that to gain more horsepower. That’s why I am comparing it to that category of bike. The the bigger story behind it is that I’m incredibly into vintage vehicles and that even though I don’t like to buy new things, I like to buy used things that might have been handed down over time. I believe that when building an electric moped, that it should be a timeless design and also make sure it will last for a really long time. I wanted it to be electric so it would be really sustainable and not use fossil fuel and it just makes really good send to be electric if you’re using it around town, so you’re not spending money on fuel and essentiaally for just a few cents you’re getting miles and miles of very cheap transport. But in genral I think we have to move forward with other forms of sustainable transportation and currently now we aren’t, so I am trying to make a small mark in that process. It takes everyone to move forwards and this is my small contribution to this movement. I’ve sold just under 300 pre-orders and every day we have a sale or two and it’s growing. I’d say for me it has gown significantly fast because I have to build so many and I plan to assemble several thousand more. I plan to build another model in the future that is more cost effective and more obtainable as a lot of people really like the styling of this bike, so if more people want to buy one it is really more effective. If people can throw away their gas guzzlers and get to work on an electric motorbike or electric bicycle it is better for everyone and the environment. I definitely get a handful of people trying to purchase this bike and it’s just a little bit out of reach for them so my next step is so that they can afford it. Right now they are between $2000 and $3500 USD. I think in general that everybody will own some electric vehicle at some point and I think more and more are going to have electric vehicles and I think many are experiencing electric with the ‘ride share’ scooter movement. They are experiencing how fun and exciting they
can be, even if they are low powered and I think people will also become more familiar with how to fix them, modify them and how to make them their own - so the future is really exciting. The future is electric as they are even producing electric surfboards now. There is this mural that inspired me in San Fransisco and it’s of this girl who is working on an old electric looking scooter that looks post apocalyptic in a desert setting. It shows this young person possibly in the future working on their electric bike and repairing it and it just showed a skillset that people will take on as it’s not really that hard to work on an electric bike compared to a gas bike.
Bri Sidwell 19
Friend of Electric Moped Company Owner
My first ride was in June in Moab, Utah - off-road. We were filming the first official campaign video for these two electric mopeds. The company needed a rider and I was open to it but I found it was very safe, that was my biggest fear. I had tried to ride motocross but you definitely feel more secure on these bikes. I met my boyfriend Tim through Steve as they were in high school together. He came over and they were making plans for the video. I have ridden both of them and I didn’t realise I could have so much fun, you don’t even realise how fast you are going because you are so thrilled and entertained by it. The silence, it just makes it even better, the biggest thing about these electric mopeds to me is that you can always tell that it is a moped but these are less distracting. I feel that people have a lot of issues with motorised vehicles but you can be fine riding these anywhere as they won’t bother anyone. It’s definitely given me a new hobby as well. Also I would definitely recommed this for people my age as it’s hard to save up for a car and for college and afford to pay rent. With these mopeds you can charge up and not worry about gas prices. As a student I really appreciate that. I am studying marketing and I’m also a PA for commercials. It was really fun here on the beach, both mopeds handle really well on the sand, especially the water parts. It was safe and when you turn the tyres don’t dig into the sand as it’s pretty light weight. I’ve ridden it in Utah, Nevada, San Fransisco, in the sierras and at Mammoth Hot Springs. I don’t really need to carry anything for my work, so don’t need to use a car and instead using one of these mopeds saves money commuting and that is really important. I don’t mind recharging the battery in my garage and it’s just fun. Now I cannot picture myself doing anything but riding these mopeds. It’s a very safe feeling and you can control the speed very easily. It’s a great date night vehicle to go with your boyfriend, we can go through the park on mopeds and take some food with us. You can use it in parks and pretty much anywhere bicycles are allowed in bike lanes, you can park it in the bike rack on the sidewalk so you don’t have to pay for motorcycle parking as often there’s no space.
Steve Griggs 27
Friend of Electric Moped Company Owner
It’s a funny little kind of conception. I got lucky as a friend of mine was moving out of their apartment and they had a little Puch Maxi moped and I inherited from them and became obsessed with it. Customising it. I have known Tim for 10 years and he has the same obsession so he made me realise more about 2 stroke culture and skateboarding. It feels pretty similar compared to the adrenaline rush but a lot less dangerous. It’s a great way to have a lot of fun and get out and do stuff with it. I’ve always been into creating and building things, so if it breaks I can fix it and they’re very simple. It’s down to Tim who is pretty hard core, he had given me some prototypes to try in the past and gave me an insight into this idea. He put together a working prototype and then asked for my involvement as well so when he asked me to join the company I couldn’t have been more excited to be a part of it. It’s been an interesting path. It was 2 years ago I saw his first prototype and I thought it was so fast and powerful. Seeing it now it’s pretty amazing, I think it’s absolutely a great way of promoting green tech and using electric is a big step. How you charge it is the other half to that step, it’s a really exciting proposition. I think it’s a great business idea and if we don’t do it somebody else is going to. With Tesla becoming so popular it’s very obvious that all other types of transportation are going to go electric as well, so if we can spearhead this it helps to influence. We want to be a big part of this technology. I think it’s going to evolve, I see us having more bikes and more models and opening the market to any type of electronic bike riding. Whether it’s very casual or you want to ride it on the beach, have more of a street style, if you are living in the country and need to get into town and also do some dirt riding. You really start to get all these different types of riding so we want to have all of these types of options for everyone who wants to have an e-bike. It’s definitely not easy to start up but we have been lucky as people have given us great feedback and we have gotten good press online. It has lead to an easier creation as we have a lot of support. We are getting people behind us and we have got investment money from people who are interested in the product and want to be consumers. A big factor is that the mopeds are quiet, they are sleek, extremely approachable and they aren’t intimidating. They’re not like a large motorcycle, they’re like a bicycle and they’re extremely aesthetically pleasing look at. Whilst riding them you are so much more able to talk with people and if they ask ‘what is it’?, you can hear them and stop and have a conversation with them on the side of the street. It invites a lot more conversation.
Joe Boucher 38
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 6
Law Enforcement Personnel
I’ve been a police officer for 13 years and have been riding motorbikes since I was 21. I had dirt bikes as a kid and didn’t really buy my own or take riding classes until I was 21 or 22. It was kind of fun, it’s dangerous sometimes and not as safe as a car but on a bike it’s as close to flying in a plane as you can get if you’re not a pilot, you’re uninhibited and just out there. When you’re in a helmet and your gear you just see wide open road and see space. That’s the part I love about it and obviously the performance of the bike, some have more performance than others.
bike because it doesn’t have the range on the highway. That’s most of the reason but I think that maybe as far as Motor Divisions go in law enforcement, it goes back to tradition. Many Police Motor Divisions prefer the full dress Harley as it has been used by American Police for over 100 years. The Harley riding style is comfortable but I prefer the sports bike feel which the Police BMW RT has over the Harley. The BMW is a touring bike but has more get up and go. A Harley is also a lot lower to the ground over the BMW but the BMW glides better.
he said he actually liked it so I called them and talked to that old Sergeant and he said he was totally against them but now they ride them all the time. They use them all the time as you just charge them up and they don’t need gas.
I’m what we call a traffic officer so am I’m involved with accidents. We are commonly called ‘Motors’ - the Motor division. I’ve been doing this for 2 years, it’s my second stint at it. We do it, rotate out of it and go back into it again and give somebody else a chance to do it. You have to take a test for it and go before a panel, usually the Chief and the Commander and they ask questions about vehicle traffic laws to test your knowledge on it. We have to study the Collision Investigation Manual (CIM) and you’ll get tested on that as they want to weed out the people who haven’t studied it as much.
My dream bike for personal use is a BMW GS1200 Adventure, I had never been on a BMW until I got to this position I work and the first day I rode our Police BMW there is something about it, it’s that boxer engine, I love it. I test rode a 2018 BMW GS and I said I just have to get one of these. I’m sure there are better bikes out there but it’s all about you and I want to get into long distance riding so what better bike to do it on. And they look cool.
It’s weird not having a clutch, it’s just throttle and that’s it. Sometimes I grab for a clutch and sometimes my foot goes for a gear change. It’s nice you don’t have to shift but I miss that aspect of shifting on the BMW - that’s the whole sport feeling like in a sports car. There’s something about the electric noise, gas motors with a good exhaust sounds great but I do like the Zero, for me it sounds cool as it has a whine. It’s like a wind-up. I don’t hear it as much whilst I’m riding but like if I creep up on co-workers they think it sounds cool. It’s awesome when it takes off, you don’t so much hear it, rather it’s the rush of air. It’s amazing how fast you can go from 0 to 30 or 40 mph, it’s scary sometimes. The Beemer out there is 800 pounds with all the kit on it but the Zero is 460 and that makes a big difference but it’s funny also as I can make slower slow speed turns on the Beemer as the Zero is a little taller as it’s an enduro. I also did a lot of slow speed training on the BMW so I’m more used to it. The electric motorcycle is for identical work to the BMW.
My knack is more traffic related stuff, I do fine with the other stuff, but I enjoy this more. I’ve always been around cars, I love cars and I grew up with a racing family. What I love about collisions is the puzzle, you get clues so you can work out what happened as people sometimes don’t always tell you the truth and you have to look at the law enforcement side of it to make sure people are safe out there. It frustrates me that people drive so badly and put other people at risk. I think it’s to do with how people are growing in the age of technology now, it’s just so distracting. People need to be held accountable for their actions whilst they are driving. I don’t want to punish people but they need to be held accountable. Their fines are not for us but for the State. I think technology is really distracting, not just cellphones but all the stuff on vehicle dashboards and complacency, people just don’t pay attention anymore. Another big one is that people assume other people are paying attention. People don’t stop at stop signs and say it’s because they didn’t see any other cars. It’s a lot of laziness and people just don’t care anymore about being good drivers. Carmel Police have one electric motorcycle. I got a call from the authority manager from Zero as we had tested one of their older bikes for 2012, it was a demo and one of us tested it and we liked it but it just didn’t have enough range. Kevin from Zero contacted us again a year ago and I wasn’t sure about it as I have a Police BMW to ride, but I was open to it so Zero invited me to see their assembly line. It’s incredible to see how quickly they make a bike there, in 250 minutes. From powder coating the frame to full assembly. I then did a test ride and I started out in ‘eco mode’ and they warned me about the torque as it has instant power. I though it wasn’t bad and then they put me in ‘sport mode’ and I almost flung myself off that bike. I haven’t been on a lot of bikes that I’ve been almost scared to go on but the Zero is one of them and I wasn’t ready about how much instant torque it had. I love how quiet it is and it’s more enduro style so I can do area checks in the park. (It’s light weight too so I can take it places off road the BMW could never go and if I drop it, it’s easy to pick back up). The only downside, and Kevin even knows this, is that it doesn’t replace the gas
For work I use the Zero for traffic enforcement, it has ‘Code 3 lighting’, so emergency lighting. I use it for stop area checks in parks, it’s minimal impact and it doesn’t tear up the ground that much but I can’t ride it on the beach as it will probably sink into the sand. I’ll be on it all day long, 12 plus hours, in sport mode, goosing everywhere, hitting the throttle as it’s addictive and at the end of the day I had 60% battery left. It doesn’t have great range all out but in town it’s good and it has regenerative braking so power goes back into the battery. We use them for special events, car shows, concours events, we have small 5K races every year and I’ll lead the pack and traffic work. The electric motorcycle has always been a great tool for law enforcement as the motorcycle is hard to see and it is hard to hear you - that’s another thing, I do sometimes scare people as they don’t hear me coming up on them, but I don’t mean to. I’ve always thought, as long as battery technology keeps advancing we’re going to be at that point where everything is going to be electric. We are also looking at a hybrid patrol car. Around town it’s electric and on the highway when you need power it goes to gas. The goal is to be green and at some point as a world, as a people, fossil fuels aren’t going to last for forever and it’s getting there - it’s going to happen and hopefully soon. Once the battery technology is getting there I think all police motorbikes will be electric. What kind of hinders electric cars is all the power it needs, the lighting, the computer also needs a battery system which has to keep up with that. Tesla has the trucks now so I think that battery longevity will open up new doors. People love the Zero here in town, they think it’s great for the green aspect and how quiet it is, until I pull them over! They also like the fact Carmel city is environmentally conscious to reduce the greenhouse gases. As far as other police departments go, like Monterey, they are not super impressed by electric motorcycles as they have had problems all the time with them, so don’t ride them. I had learned about the Zero other than when we test rode one years ago because Ceres Police department in California did a YouTube video, a promo video and they had a salty old Sergeant come in as part of the motor division. He got two electric bikes lent to him and they did an interview and he was one of a Harley Patrol Riders and he didn’t want to ride it as he had that old school mentality. But
It’s going to be an interesting future and it all depends on the battery. Look at what Tesla has done with their batteries. Now you can plug them into your solar power and can run your house on their batteries.
Our goal for the Zero was we were looking to buy a new motorcycle and to buy a new BMW but the Police version is $30,000 out of the door so my Chief and I came up with the idea to look at a Zero which can be bought for $23,000 as a fully kitted out Police model. The California State gives $10,000 towards the purchase of that if you give up a petrol motorcycle. We have an old Police Harley here so we will sell it and take the $10,000 grant money which means we got the Zero almost for free. We have a programme called STOP, all the traffic officers get together every second Thursday of the month and we hit each others towns and we do nothing but traffic enforcement. We have 8 guys on bikes doing stops and it does freak everyone out but it needs doing as we get waves of people being out of control on the roads. But I cannot do it on the Zero as it doesn’t have the range yet so we will be keeping the BMW for another 5 years. I usually switch between the Zero and the BMW, it just boils down to what I want to ride for the day and it’s nice to have that option. Our goal is to get our staffing levels up and get in somebody else in the same position to do more traffic enforcement. I’m the only one here to do traffic enfacement as our jurisdiction is only one square mile. We have the Carmel mission here, the church, the first mission ever built in California. The beach is popular too and the golf too. We don’t have a load here but Clint Eastwood draws them in as he had some restaurants. He used to be here all the time in the 80’s. Playing piano and drinking arm in arm with people, that’s just the kind of guy he is, and the sand, you won’t find the sand here anywhere else unless on a tropical island, it’s very soft, light sand.
Duane Harp 58
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 7
Private Individual Owner/Rider
I’ve always been interested in both bicycles and motorcyles so I’ve probably had road bikes all the time around. For bicycles I’ve had a Klein and a Holdworth. I just did the Klein up, it’s from 1984 and it’s pretty much all Campy Super Record. I put in some really tall gears so I can go up some really tall hills as I don’t want to wipe out my knees at my age. As far as motorcycles go I was always really into 2 strokes and I still follow motorcycles on Facebook. I like the vintages from the 70’s and 80’s. Kawasaki 500 and 750 triples and also the Suzuki RGV’s. I like the smell of the mix of oil and gas I think it’s good for me. So this electric bicycle for me was a way to get closer back to having a motorcycle without having one, I got rid of my last motorcycle as my brother had two bad accidents and it made my wife tell me that she didn’t want make to get another one as when you get older you just don’t recover as fast. And these are just as dangerous because people really don’t see you in the bike lane, they don’t see you and will drift on over. Bicycles are just as dangerous but I feel just as comfortable as with a motorcycle. I probably feel safer with this than a regular bicycle as you have a lot of weight because of the battery but at least you regenerative braking so it’s like having 3 brakes. It’s a drag brake. I was up in Scotts Valley at an auto sports and I saw one of these and said ‘when I retire I will buy one’, so last year I retired and bought one and since then I have been customising it. I like customising the bike, at the time they had colour options, they don’t now so I just wanted to change it up a little. Like black wheels with black spokes and the front headlight to a flat glass lens instead of curved plastic. I haven’t dropped the seat down as I like to peddle still also. I thought of getting other makes of electric bicycle but I liked the fact is was a local start up company and also I liked the look of it too as it is classic. My only concern was what happens if the battery goes out but there is a company in Las Vegas that will rebuild it. I just take it to the grocery store and to my Mums who is 91 and I check up on her. I also work at a winery called Travieso so I use it to travel there and also a community garden and use it to bring back my vegetables in a bag and talk to the other gardeners. Everyone likes it, they like the look of the old vintage styling of the old Indian and Harleys. The 2 stroke mopeds you need a licence for and a helmet and you’re not supposed to ride in the bicycle lane but this one you can and also you can restrict it to 47mph downhill and on the flats 37mph but on average in the flat I get up to 35mph easily an if the battery goes down I go down to 32mph. The ideal for riding it where it is really comfortable is 22 or 24mph, in that range it just feels really natural especially since I just switched to the Big Apple tyres. On the average day I ride about 12 miles and on some days I will get up to 25 miles but I do get worried about how much battery I have left, there is no warning about the level although the later ones do have a warning. There are no downsides to it at all, it’s just a lot of fun going through the back roads up to the
Calero reservoir, just enjoying the back counties and realising that you have to make it back home and if you don’t you have to peddle. When I first got it I just blasted everywhere but now I keep it at 12 - 14 mph and peddle with it just for the heck of it and a bit for exercise. I ride this 4 days a week and my road bike 3 days a week. You don’t have to go at 35mph it’s fun sometimes just going along at 12mph.
(left) MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 8
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee What I really like is that I would like people to understand that we are sharing the same motorcycle passion as they are. We are the same motorcycle guys as all of you. I don’t want Energica to be identified as an electric vehicle manufacturer. We are a motorcycle manufacturer and that is it. We are a sportsbike manufacturer so our bikes go from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, they have a lot of torque and we have 3 models. Our line up is according to the Italian tradition of sports bike. Being electric is not the issue, starting from scratch we take the new technology but our heritage comes from 45 years ago with CRP with 3D printing with hire machines in services. We work for Red Bull, Toyota, Renault and we are also a US subsidiary for all the NASCAR teams. This helps to fund our Energica bike development which is easy thanks to our parent company and thanks to the performance of this material called Windform we can reach further in applications. Thanks to their passion for motorcycling, to the founder, we started in 2009 with a 125cc motorcycle which ran in a race in Italy and then we decided to take a greener approach and heard about a new electric bike race series so we made a bike that won the championship and created the first commercial product in 2016. It was listed on the stock market and made public. This is our path. Now most of our big dream is to win the e-GP bike series next year. GP selected Energica as the single manufacturer, a reliable supplier with a fair completion. In this way you will see the skills of the riders so it will be a nice race. We have been racing on this project for 2 years, it is the best ever opportunity. We are also creating a bike with Samsung, it is a bike that includes a lot of technology that up to now is not available on any other motorcycle. It has a rear and front camera that can identify dangers and on current motorcycles this kind of thing doesn’t exist. The mirrors and camera can tell you of warnings, it’s a safety system we have taken from the automotive industry and when you go home you can upload your trip and see your video. Your bike doesn’t need a key and your watch can turn the bike on. This bike also really beautiful and it is not just hight tech, we believe that electric is the future but of course we are here to use it on the road and enjoy this with our customers and we invite people to be in contact with us and stay in contact wit us. When you ride an electric bike there is vibration so it is not a silent bike, it has the noise of a chain that sounds like a supercharger and it is good for the passion as it is good to hear something and the straight cut gears are good for the torque. You don’t have a gear shift, you have one gear and also two more, a reverse and a slow gear for wheeling the bike forwards. We are selling to everybody who likes technology and this doesn’t mean just software. This isn’t a bike just for those working in construction or in the Hollywood industry, it is for all sports bike riders, but not a young guy with a first bike, it is for experienced riders. I think that if we try to convince people to try an electric bike because it is good for the environment it is good but not enough, it is also a bike that is quick and beautiful so we invite people to be curious and to try it out. And then the biggest
question people ask after trying it is where can they buy it as soon as possible because they all want to buy one. The first time some other riders look at our bikes they try to intimidate us as we have no exhaust pipe, and they don’t think we can do anything but when they see what it can do they chase us and ask us ‘what the hell is that bike!?’ and Ducati riders will pay $10k more. Our bike comes already with a fast charger and it is cheaper than a Zero. We believe our EVO model is a good starting point. It is a fast growing technology so we are able to give the best price to our customer. For me it is nice to see that every electric vehicle manufacturer has its own identity. With Alta the product was really well done, it was dirt bike but they have a very nice product for dirt riders. But our product is sports bikes and Zero is more for commuting, that is easy to ride in the city. We are all in a niche but we all have a strong unique identity.
(right) MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 8
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee
Your typical sports bike guy on a BMW S1000RR or a Ducati Panigale or a Suzuki GSXR1000, you’ll know this being a British guy as they are sports bike crazy there in the UK, they have the largest sports bike displacement engines in the world, larger than Germany. 15% of the population owns a motorbike in the UK and in the USA it’s only 2.6%. Because of the freedom mantra from Harley-Davidson and the Henry Fonda movies you think the United States is motorcycle mad but ownership is lower then anywhere else in the western world. Every motorcycle company comes at it from a national perspective. In Italy we know Energica is a DNA that crosses over from cars to motorbikes, like Lamborgini and Ferrari to the bikes like Bennelli, Ducati and these brands are predicated like nobody has been able to replicate. Oil is a dead dinosaur power source. When you have electric come up you have the same national DNA as in what the large electric companies are starting to do. When you see Energica it is exactly the same DNA as all the same Italian companies but coming through as the first Italian electric motorcycle manufacturer. It’s certainly the only street high performance electric motorcycle in the world and it’s Italian. The reality is that it is homologated for street use and it is genuinely made for street use. It remains to be seen what will happen with all the other manufacturers as many are not certified as street motorcycles and will they stay in business as you have to have a very canny business plan. There are challenges especially for the smaller players and that acceptance of electric is both top down and grass roots and it is not really accepted in the middle.
population rides motorcycles so the equations are obvious and motorcycles are different from cars. The experience is different in a visceral way that is emotional and not practical. There were only 475,000 motorcycles sold last year in the USA and less than 2000 were electric. The bottom line is that electric motorcycles have all of the challenges of electric cars and then some. Zero is the pioneer along with Lightning and all the rest have set the parameters of what is possible. The analogy is that you can say it is only 1% but it is the only 1% that is growing. Last year the car industry grew but the only part that grew was electric. ICE is stagnant. This is being driven by Tesla and Chevrolet with the Volt and Porsche have said that all they will make in the future will be electric. There is a growing acceptance whether it is the from the government or by the public that electric will continue to grow. The conversation around climate change is that there is a concern that it is more serious than people believe but you also don’t need climate change to sell electric motorcycles because it is because of the ride. What matters is torque up to 150mph, nobody else can deliver that, we are the only ones. Frankly we don’t need to sell 100,000 motorcycles to be profitable, we don’t even need to sell 50,000 bikes to make a profit. We are very comfortable.
20% of all Fiat cars are electric passenger vehicles. Why? The government put in incentives for electric and penalties for ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles. It’s a massive debate that is on right now and it boils down to whether you believe in global warming or not, it really comes down to that. What’s more important than the planet?
Energica is a market phenomena in its own right, it’s not a fluke. It is profitable and it has its own internal logic in other words. We’ve got the technology that nobody else has, we have the performance that nobody else has - it’s objective. There are bikes that go faster on the track but you cannot fast charge them on the road and you cannot ride them at top speed on the road as they will overheat and have issues, which is what happens with race bikes. It’s a very different thing to have one offs motorcycles and then produce one that is homologated and that is sold in many countries which can charge up from 0% to 85% in 20 minutes. It is a game changer and you don’t have to buy anything extra to fast charge like with Zero.
There are certain measures that you have to take. The reason for this is that Norway from a very early stage has been pushing electric and with electric in Norway you don’t pay vehicle tax. And even though petrol is self sufficient the price is more than twice of what it is in the US. They get you on vehicle tax and gas tax. The penetration of charging stations is very important for the amount of electric vehicles that go on the road.
Volkswagen made a deal with the US government as part of an agreement with what they did wrong with their diesels and the plan is to introduce 200,000 Level 2 chargers over several years and invest quarter of a million dollars every year in the USA. It’s so Volkswagen avoid being banned selling their cars in the USA. Shell is doing an initiative to introduce electric vehicles. Their oil is powering the power stations that are making electric vehicles.
It’s a huge new area of electric vehicle development and which is something that will grow so when it comes to the motorcycle we are a very small piece of the pie. In the US electric vehicle sales are less than 1%. In 2017 out of 17.5 million vehicles sold in the US only 0.5 million cars were electric so that is 1%. There are very good reasons for this, the distances are vast and we don’t have many charging stations. The result of all of this is that the challenge of EV is magnified. The level of motorcycle industry lags behind cars for years, economies of scale and production etc.
We have a saying at Energica that ‘The future is electric’. This has been said by more than one person as the reality is that the market is growing and it will continue to grow. But it doesn’t have to take over our lives as it allows in transportation far more variations as you can use it indoors, you can use it where noise is an issue. It is a quantum leap and so much more flexible from ICE which is essentially a poisonous form of transport.
The automotive industry has much larger financial resources. Only 2% of the
Electric vehicles removes the issue of omissions and does it in a far more practical way than hydrogen which you have to freeze and it’s flammable. Electric is the only form of transport in the future. Hydrogen is more a matter of waiting to see
what shakes out. The challenges of infrastructure are too great right now. As far as Energica works is we have the monopoly as we give the best experience of an electric bike on the street, we will always have a technological advantage as we have been here since the beginning. If you think about it, if another company does this they will face challenges to get people to accept their product. There is more than enough room for everybody. There is room for very type of bike. Zero is appropriate for special forces in Afghanistan but Energica isn’t as it isn’t in our DNA. We have a niche that only we can fit - our bikes are high technology, high performance and more torque than anyone can give you, as you would expect from an Italian motorcycle company. We do have a higher weight but it has performance that nobody can match. We’ll be leap frogging Zero in the future. The depth of what is going on in this business, in electric vehicles is insane because of the technology, the political ramifications and environmental cost. Many people resist electric vehicles on a green basis but our angle is that the riding expedience justifies it on its own. The future is electric because it is insanely exciting to ride. I care about I can go to 0-60 in 2.7 seconds. I could go faster than that but it is restricted for safety. We don’t like to to talk too much about speed because safety is important but we are bringing in a 2nd generation of electric vehicle that will be leaps ahead. This is all we do so we can put 100% of our effort into this but the existing bike manufacturers have their own range out. Harley-Davidson have 38 models and are about to release just one electric motorcycle. If I were to say is what we are trying to do is reflect in the marketing is what we are already doing in our product, we are the mouse that roared, a small company that is part of a much larger one. CRP, that has been at the pinnacle of CNC manufacturing that has patented its own manufacturing called Wind form, it already has an auto sport background in NASCAR so it’s not a big step to go to. Electric vehicles are a kind of Burkenstock - kind of boring, very practical, green but not sexy. But if you’re a sport bike rider and like to go fast, sexy and speed go together so now you don’t have to give that up as you get both of them together with Energica. Now the situation has changed, there is now an electric bike that is faster than anything they have ever experienced, there is now no more compromise, it is the Tesla of motorcycles. Tesla sold cars to people who want to go crazy fast and who are not concerned about the environment so much. In a sense we are being pre-emptive so we can gain market share so we can gain awareness and have the brand awareness to contest the battle field if you will. We recognise we are a niche player but we want to be bigger than we are. We are not in businesses to make money. You only make money to be in business, if you have a passion and you have a goal you have to make money in order to maintain it. If you only do this for the sake of money what would be the point, you make money in order to pursue your dream.
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 9
Electric Motorcycle Company Owner
I’ve been a motorcyclist since I was 12 years old. Initially I was in the computer software business and later became involved in the commercial finance industry. Twelve years ago I became interested in the potential of electric drive systems in motorcycles and built the first lithium battery sport bike. We started with a Yamaha R1 race bike with a blown engine and fitted it with lithium batteries and an AC motor. The R1 was already set up as a track bike and seemed like a good foundation for a prototype. After building the initial prototype we came to the conclusion that it was far better to design the chassis to fit the components rather than attempt to fit components into a chassis designed for a gas engine. My first experience with electric vehicles was in 1997 when a group of friends were involved with building an electric Porsche for a race series. At the time I was racing open wheel road race cars on the west coast and they asked me if I was available to drive the electric Porsche they were building. Later I worked with the team to assist in developing the car to make it as competitive as possible. I became very interested in electric drive systems and became convinced that electric vehicles could be built to successfully compete with gas vehicles. In 1997 most people did not believe that it was possible. We achieved some good results with the electric Porsche but it became obvious that a motorcycle could be better platform than a car for electric vehicles. Motorcycles are smaller, have less frontal area, and require less energy for the same performance compared to a car which is much larger and heavier. This was even more of an issue at the time as twelve years ago lithium batteries were approximately 3 times larger and heavier than current lithium batteries. the stage of development with batteries then. The first prototype had a top speed of 100mph and could exceed 65 miles on a charge and had acceleration similar to a Suzuki SV650. We were encouraged enough to begin designing a 2nd bike. Tesla was also just starting in a facility three blocks from our shop and we convinced the CTO to provide a motor to us from an EV1s which was we used for our second bike. We took our second bike to Bonneville and achieved a top speed of 176mph and broke a record that had stood for almost 30 years. In 2010 we competed in the initial electric road race series held with the AMA and we won the North American championship. That bike was fast enough to lap the second place bike in some of the races. At the end of 2010 we took everything that we had learned from our 2nd bike and began work on our 3rd bike. which we later named the ‘LS-218’ based on the top speed of 218mph achieved during the time trials at Bonneville. This was a huge achievement for our team to build the first electric motorcycle capable of a top speed over 200 mph. When we built the first R1 I set the goal to build electric motorcycles with superior performance to internal combustion motorcycles. At the time many people thought that an electric motorcycle couldn’t be anything more than a glorified electric golf cart. The 218 mph run at the Bonneville speed
trials was a big step in achieving that goal. We became convinced that electric motorcycles could be a good business and further that the world needed electric motorcycles. My first ride on the electric R1 prototype was an epiphany. Experiencing the acceleration with no noise, no vibration, and so much torque was an ‘Ah-Ha’ moment - I thought this feels like the future and is a better way to ride motorcycles. We began to develop our first production bikes which could be ridden on the track and fast charged all day and never get hot. If we could build electric motorcycles that could be used like internal combustion bikes and provide superior performance and rider experience we would then have a product. We began our project in 2006 and we delivered our first customer bike in 2015. Our achievement with the LS-218 is a motorcycle that a person could comfortably ride to work on a daily basis, win Pikes Peak first over all, and set a speed record at Bonneville over 200mph. Internally our mantra has been ‘As good as, is not good enough’. It had to be better, you have to give people a reason to change. Put somebody on a motorcycle and let the experience of riding convince them. We are continuing to challenge ourselves as the technology continues getting better and better. We have the technology to build a bike that is the same size as a 1000cc sports bike make 400HP. Our biggest goal is to see as many people on electric motorcycles as possible. We are currently delivering our LS-218. Next year we will launch our Lightning Strike and our Lightning Spark. The Strike is our equivalent to a Tesla Model 3 that can compete not just in performance but also in price. The next big challenge is producing electric motorcycles with great performance that people can afford. For electric motorcycles to achieve high volume sales the value must be as compelling as the performance. Producing a niche product is not good enough. It has to be a bike that can impress any motorcyclist as a great ride. bikes. Electric motorcycles have as much potential for improvement as internal combustion bikes did in 1910. There are batteries being developed in laboratories right now that have much more than 10 times the energy density as the best batteries that are being sold currently.
Jackie Vasquez 51
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 10
Private Individual Owner/Rider
When I was younger I did cycling more for the sports aspect, triathlons, mountain biking and the death ride in the Sierras which is a series of 5 mountain passes and there is some extreme elevation gain, it’s over 100 miles. Mountain biking started here in California so I really got into it. I use the Vintage Electric bicycle as a utilitarian thing and I try to do most of my travel to appointments, to work and to jiu-jitsu on a bicycle. I also have a dutch style bike with bags for grocery shopping, which is good for errands when you have to carry stuff and a Schwinn cruiser which I use down town as bike theft is rampant as it doesn’t have any fancy parts and attracts less attention. Because I am not getting any younger and Google where I work does this initiative to get an electric bike I decided to get this vintage electric bike. The dealership is close to me and the bike isn’t cheap but Eddie the salesman told me that Google does this benefit, that if you enrolled you can get $750 off. It wasn’t cheap so it was a bit of a decision but now I love it and it is really fun to ride. I also have a carbon fibre Specialized beautiful cycle cross bike which I also use for commuting so I have 4 bikes and I use it for commuting and also for going into the hills. Commuting to work is a great way to travel as there is a river, there are turtles, egrets and herons on a cycle path so you don’t feel as though you are in Silicon Valley on your way to work. This is a beautiful bike, a lot of bikes are aesthetically ugly, sort of like Toyota Prius are ugly. It’s quiet, fast, the charge lasts for the round trip and I charge it every night. It is fun to ride, fast and I am careful in the trail with walkers. I do 23 or 24mph, it takes me an hour on the Specialized bike and this takes 35 to 40 minutes. You are still pedalling as it is pedal assist so I am not working as hard as a regular bike - you go a lot faster so I get to work on time. I am not a bike racer as it’s just not me anymore. I still wear a change of clothes and I do get a little sweaty as I do want to get a little bit of exercise in and I also get exercise with jiu-jitsu. It’s pretty new, I bought it 3 or 4 weeks ago. It has 5 levels of assist and I am actually a little afraid so I keep it on level 2. I risk being accused of being a bit lazy but when it is raining or cold it means I can commute regardless of weather. I have to give Google credit as they are really trying to get people out of their cars. They have a whole room to store your bike in whilst at work and I can leave my toiletries there and a change of clothes. I can have a shower and they have towels and there is also a laundry if your stuff is wet with dryers. They call them self-powered commuters. I think it’s becoming a little more mainstream that a lot more people are commuting on e-bikes. The traffic is insane here in San Jose so this was the main factor and it puts me in a great mood as I am exercising and it is also really easy to get sucked into this thing. I think that part of me still wants to use traditional bicycles like running down to the farmers market for exercise but this thing is pretty fun. The awesome thing about it is when you come to a 4 way stop to get up to speed at the intersection when cars are waiting for you as the start off the stop is really quick.
If you are riding your bike everywhere in an urban environment it’s good to be able to start up quick and the brakes are really good. I don’t know how much of an overall impact it is and I’ll be candid but I do hope that recycling and reducing consumption and being less impactful on the environment makes a difference. But if I am doing it by myself I don’t know how much affect I am making but I like to think it does make a difference and not using our old car and spending on maintenance and gas does mount up. There is also a light rail system that goes up to Google’s door which they pay for you to use and I can also use a scooter called Lime and Bird. They are controversial as people wreck them, leave them around and drive them crazy on the sidewalks and not on the road where they are supposed to and they don’t wear helmets. But I think they are fun and I enjoy using them. My husband actually uses them more than me to go and get food a half mile away. The is bike is just fast enough that is convinces me to use it everyday for commuting because it’s just fun. And aesthetically it’s not a Prius, it’s a beautiful bike.
Eric Wight 36
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 3
Gas/Electric Motorcycle Store Dealer Principal At the time they were called BRD which was the original branding they were using and my head employee had seen a small scale prototype at a nearby motorcycle show and said it was fantastic and that these guys are really onto something. They are a start up in San Francisco and close by so I wanted to see them and support them, just a few blocks away. We wanted to learn more about it as it was an electric motorcycle that was something we should find out more about. They weren’t in production yet, this was back in 2011, but they are interested in talking with a dealer to essentially start building their dealer network. We were officially their first dealer in the world and we were able to better help them understand the dealer side of business. Frankly they were pretty inexperienced with the retail side of distribution and the mechanics of actually supplying a product to a dealer network. So at the beginning we were providing some consultation services and establishing them though initially they didn’t have a bike for us to sell until late 2015 and even then it was very limited production. It was a tough deal for us as a dealer as you cannot invest a lot of time if you only sell one. You cannot pay alot of bills with that. We sold out first one in the December of 2015, then literally we didn’t sell any at all until August 2016 so they had gotten one out to satisfy demand from investors but then we sold 12 from August 2016 through December. So they picked up a little bit there in the end of 2016. And to be perfectly candid too we were kind of Alta’s ‘go-to’ dealer and they hadn’t built up any other dealer network then. Nobody had picked up proof of product as there had been no expansion of other dealers so we were a able to transact sales outside of our area as there was nobody else. In 2017 we were able to get a little more supply and they got some more dealers involved and in 2017 we were able to sell 14 through all of the calendar year. Overall sales have never been communicated by Alta but my expectation would be under a 1000 total units in the entirety of their production run but that’s a ball park estimate on my behalf. In 2018 we have sold about 20 of them. A lot of motorcycle industry people buy them, aftermarket suppliers who are higher up in those industries and people have bought them from a development standpoint. We sold a couple to Fox Shocks down in Santa Cruz and we sold at least one to a company who was working on, building military motorcycle conversions for military uses. A lot of people were interested in the product for potential uses, this new electric performance orientated motorcycle and what that could mean outside of purely recreational uses and also we had a lot of people, I would say, were successful in the tech industry who were attracted to the Alta’s. I think that there was some overlap in the spheres - Alta being in San Francisco and being in the USA adventure capital. I think that Alta were putting themselves in front of VC groups (Venture capitalists - folks that end up funding alot of start up operations), so there is some natural cross pollination of
these groups and the groups aren’t as concerned about the value proposition as it was just a $15,000 motorcycle and that price point wasn’t overwhelming for some of the folks in tech - it wasn’t much for someone with a disposable income. They were very excited about the product as it is a very fun compelling machine with great performance. I don’t know honestly why Harley-Davidson pulled the plug on it, I don’t know how much they are involved with it and what caused the death blow. I think that every electric company hasn’t been establishing any reasonable sales volume. They are still a niche item and it all ultimately boils down to mileage range. The same for the Zeros. It’s the limiting factor and this was the factor about how many Alta were able to sell and the price point. You have, depending on who you talk to, you have 40 - 70 miles of range if you baby them but they aren’t meant to be babied as they weren’t designed for that. It all boils down to range. Certainly what happened with Harley surprised us, particularly because it looks like their future electric products, that their battery packs, looked very similar to Alta products so it does look like they collaborated in some respect and then for whatever reason they decided it wasn’t t worth moving ahead with. I’m not beyond the conspiracy beliefs and I don’t know that Harley-Davidson went into it with ill-will or malicious intent but maybe they thought if they put some money in here they can get a peep behind the curtain. And Alta were always going to need to get some decent sales volumes and not burn cash. They were never going to achieve their sales targets in a short period of time. It’s like Tesla didn’t make any money until they started to make sedans, after their sports roadster. If you use this comparison then Alta weren’t going to make any money until they started to make bikes other than their off road bikes so their sales were limited. If they had appealed to a larger market with a road going bike they might have sold more. It’s a tough one. What I appreciated initially was that Alta pitched me on the dirt bike as the ultimate application for electric motorcycles as it is more efficient because it is on and off and not just using energy to drone down the motorway. They showed that there is potential for it, at the hard enduro competitions they did, Red Bull Straight Rhythm, through really rugged terrain but with an Alta and a lack of a clutch and lack of stalling they showed that electric can really work in those applications. They competed against internal combustion competitors and won. They built their bikes to establish themselves and then they have to build something that appeals to a wide market like a sedan. In the USA it’s the cruiser market and electric is a really tough application as you cannot travel any distance. It’s a weird deal, we’ve had one communication with Alta since they finished up, one official communication about a month ago. It was October 17. I’m not hopeful for them unfortunately, I think maybe they will be able to sell their intellectual property but I will be very surprised if anyone would want to start up their motorcycle product again. There is not a direct line of a cash flow business plan that they can show to anybody. Nobody would want to take on an extra expense
of another motorcycle company but they have built up a brand awareness, but who cares as so many come and go. I mean who remembers Brammo. Right now I really appreciate what BMW electric scooters are doing as they have a 100 mile range. People make fun of it a lot as it isn’t sexy but it works and I can use it for commuting, I couldn’t use an Alta as it wasn’t made for droning along a motorway but the BMW does everything better than a gas bike. My mechanic tells everybody that his next bike will be the BMW C Evolution scooter as he is so impressed by it. I don’t know what Altas long term future would be because BMW can use their developments for the car side and transfer it to the motorbike side. It’s a more realistic path because going it alone right now is too hard. It’s like Zero, are they really building their brand reputation over the established names. For me in 5 to 7 years from now, if battery density continues to improve, the automotive manufacturers will begin to adopt electric power so what will Teslas long term advantage be as they don’t have the resources. Like Harley-Davidson as they have lots more resources than the smaller companies do. I’m wondering what their Live Wire will look like as it’s like a traditional bike, it could be compelling and I give them credit for moving in that direction and I hope they can get 100 miles of range. The biggest rejectors of electric right now are the people who have not had time to test them and live with them. They don’t understand how different their life can be just not relying on a gas powered machine. Why do all that shifting and keeping it in the power band and taking detours to go and get gas everyday or twice a week. But to me also it’s the lack of noise, it’s an enjoyable experience, to not be fighting the noise and that I was put off by the noise of other’s exhausts as it seems so unnecessary and old fashioned. I keep telling people that electric will change the industry and that young people now won’t have the expectations of using a gas bike, they won’t have that previous experience. Electricity makes transport enjoyable, for kids it’s what they can relate to, like a video game, it’s what the have been doing all their lives. It’s a product that younger people get and I think electric is going to do that but I just think we have to be patient because we are years away from it. But at least all these companies like Brammo and Alta are converting people which is what is needed to do, for people to open their minds to the possibility. Popular demand will dictate change. Nobody wants to live in a polluted environment. There’s a lot of head winds for companies that are trying to push alternative energies. Nothing beats 2 wheel transport in major metros. Maybe Harley-Davidson getting involved will signal change, and also BMW. Alta bikes are just so pure, they go back to what the basics of motorbike should be. They just work better and they are more fun. I want more people to get excited about it now. Sometimes you just cannot force it.
Hugo Eccles 49
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 11
Gas/Electric Motorcycle Designer
I’m an industrial designer by training so I went to the Royal College of Art and did that and then worked as an industrial designer for the past 25 years. Pretty much in parallel to that I have been riding motorcycles and they have always been separate to my work which is odd but I have an American wife and we came over to here in 2014. We had both lived in the States before and we both met in New York. I used to work with Terence Conran. It was my wife Jessica who said “there are these two things you love, design and motorcycles, have you ever thought about designing motorcycles” and actually, embarrassingly, no, it never occurred to me.
as it’s classic. So literally you can’t ride a bike in London now. So that’s happening and Madrid has just passed some law banning all petrol vehicles from the centre of town unless there are very strict exceptions. Paris is following suit and most major cities have congestion zones. Motorcycles used to not be exempt but if you have a bike that is 12 years old it’s unusable and so many people are commuting. So on that level it is pushing people to electric - so there is that and there are lots of car companies beginning to make statements about electric, like Volvo, everything that they build in the future is electric. It’s getting really close.
So before we left London in late 2013 I’d quit my design consultant job and was essentially on leave and sitting at home so I spoke to a friend of mine who runs ‘Untitled Motorcycles’ in London and said “I’m thinking of setting up a motorcycles design business in San Francisco so can I work with you as an intern because I’m a qualified designer and I know how to build things and I’ve been motorcycling for 20 years” and he said yes.
There’s also hydrogen I guess, I don’t know but I think there might be some questions about electric, whether its ‘scalable’ - whether there is enough lithium rare earths, rare compounds in the world to build enough batteries to make every vehicle in the world electric to support an fully electric eco system. I am sure the battery technology is going to change.
We started to work together at the tail end off 2013. He said why don’t you set up a sister company in San Francisco called Untitled Motorcycles and it seemed like a good idea as I could hit the ground running. I didn’t have to think of a name, design a logo, build a website and all that nonsense. It started off as mostly just private clients commissioning work, it’s always to commission, predominately clients and then factory brands have started to drift in and become more of the business. So I have done stuff with Ducati and I have something penned in with Triumph and a Yamaha yard built - they essentially commission custom builders to take one of their bikes and get a designer to custom build it. This actually started this whole wave of companies collaborating with customisers on a corproate level. BMW did this with the R9T. Moto Guzzi also. They were nice and they invited 4 different customisers, me and then Revival cycles in Texas who are quite well now and a guy in Chicago called Craig Rodsmith and they were all very highly regard ed to it was very satisfying to work with that lot, to work with Moto Guzzi. My introduction to electric was 2014 when I got to visit Mission motorcycles in San Francisco and ride their ‘Mission R’ who just kind of blew my mind really for just a number of reasons. It’s a very beautiful bike, just objectively, it’s a very interesting thing as a lot of electric motorcycles looked like they lacked finesse but the Mission R was very sophisticated from a design perspective. It just had a beautifully designed frame, bodywork was nicely resolved and essentially a lot of design had been involved with it. All the other electric motorcycles looked like design projects but also like engineering mules. The Mission R looked like a proper production bike and just the experience of riding it was incredible. It was an incredibly fast bike, it reminded me of years and years ago, of the Fireblade and holy shit, you’re on a quiet stretch of road and say to yourself you realise in one second that this is almost too much as it was so fast. That’s kind of what these bikes are like now. As the battery tech develops the weight of the electric motorcycles is dropping and they are already pretty reasonable, about 450 lbs which is not bad. I like to work on bikes and strip as much weight off them as possible. It’s a bit like owning a greyhound as you’ve sort of got to watch it as they will just go. The power to weight ratio is equivalent to a hyper sports bike. I think on a very fractal level, not yet in the States but in Europe and Asia alot of major cities are restricting or banning petrol engined vehicles in city centres. London has just pased this law where any motorcycle from 1980 to 2007 is banned. Pre 1980’s is OK
Electric is very torquey, it’s got a big amount of power which is very beneficial for lots of things. Like diesel trains are really electric as they have electric motors and the diesel is used to make energy to power the electric motors. And those giant earth movers are electric too, with electric wheels, as the diesel is needed to provide the power to the electric motor. Electric is simple - you don’t need gearing and it’s enormously powerful so I think that gasoline is dying. Gasoline is causing autism in children, asthma rates are rising, there is a ton of stuff, lots of things that are negative about petrol or oil based stuff. It’s not a very nice industry is it. Petroleum and fumes are something like the highest cause of cancer, not cigarettes but living in Zone 1 in London which is terrible. In 1956 they passed the ‘Clean Air Act’ because of all the pea soup smog where you literally couldn’t see your hand at the end of your arm. It’s worse now, the quality of air is worse because of all the nitrogen in the air and hydro carbons and it’s going to get worse after Brexit as we won’t have the same EU stringent standards. I think that’s why electricity is definitely the near future, there might be some kind of other tech in the future but gas is dated. I’m sure once there were steamed power motorcycles and that once their riders were shaking their fists at gas vehicles. I’m sure electric will be adopted and after about 6 months people will forget what all the fuss was about with adopting electric. Electric isn’t any worse than gas, they are really cheap to run and at the moment they are a little more expense to buy but prices will drop. I’m designing a Zero SR for a private client that is really interesting which has similar challenges to…well, what is really interesting about designing an electric motorcycle is, I’m an industrial designer and when I am designing stuff for certain brands, I see that there are 2 things to designing. One is to design a bike to look like a gas bike. Curtiss is one company who have purposely designed something to look like an electric bike but with Lightning and Energica they look like a gas sports bike. So one, you are mimicking gas bikes and certain attributes like petrol tanks and stuff like that. The other way of approaching it is to work out a whole new design language for electric. How would you go about designing an electric bike if gas bikes had never existed? Gas bikes are dictated about how you lay it out because of the tank needing to be above the engine for traditionally gravity pulling fuel down to the carbs. And the exhaust at the front for cooling and the exhaust positioned away from legs because of
risk of injury but you don’t have this with electric. There is no petrol tank and you don’t have to suck air into it. It’s a real interesting design challenge as there are none of the traditional gas bike design cues. No exhaust, no clutch, no carbs or fuel injection and no petrol tank. I mean really if you have the 2 wheels, the motor and the battery all you have to do is strap on the seat and handlebars so it’s a very interesting challenge. I think that Curtiss is investing because they are intentionally trying to make something electric, their motorcycle is a little stylised for my taste but that is what I am wrestling with at the moment. What is the sign language of ‘electric’ and it is different from gas as it doesn’t have those constraints. You can put a tank on top of the battery but it isn’t doing anything, you could put stuff in the tank but it’s an empty space and also it’s the design vocabulary of a petrol bike, like air inlets and scoops and velocity stacks and beautifully designed carb bodies and sexy welded titanium exhausts and cylinders with really intricate cooling fins and all of that you don’t need with an electric bike. So it’s kinda like what do you repack it with and there is also the sound, it’s visceral and again is absent in an electric bike so how do you inject this kind of idea of excitement and also with a little hint of danger. When you get on a big bike and rev it, it is a little bit visceral, it is exciting as it is dangerous but with electric nothing happens. Maybe the display comes on. But it’s either on or off, silently. So how do you create this difference between active and inactive and how does the bike change? How do you manifest that? It’s a real challenge because literally you have a square metal box the size of a suitcase and the motor which is the size of a cake tin and wheels and a belt for drive as it’s lower maintenance and quieter and apart from a frame and a swing arm and some forks to make everything stick together and you’re pretty much done. Just strap some foam on for a seat and then you can go but it’s not very exciting is it, so I’m trying to bring it back so this is what I am trying to do with this confidential project. What is this new vocabulary, it’s not just mimicking what has gone before, it has to have a purpose and a reason. I’m not an automative designer although I have worked with Ford and Peugeot. The interesting thing about designing a motorbike compared to a car is that you don’t design a motorbike from the outside in like with a car. In a car everthing is a hemisphere with zones of convenience. But as an industrial designer I was designing the cars from the inside outwards, but I am more interested in motorcycles as I just like the mechanics. It really is about the rider, I started riding motorcycles when I was 19, I borrowed a bike from a friend and was just smitten. It was like one of those dreams when you are a kid when you are flying around the house. Its existentially just you, it’s a very personal space, the machine is the same length as you and width as you, it holds you off the ground and you’re flying around these environments. If you try to explain this to people who don’t ride they think it’s very noisy but actually you’re in a very quiet sphere your head is in, you’re concentrating on the job at hand and it’s like a zen out of body experience as you’re not really aware of what your body is doing. So I think electric is like what you get on a petrol bike but maybe more exaggerated as there are less things between you and the experience. There are sounds but it’s the whine of the motor and the wind.
Marc Fenigstein 39
MAP PART B - SAN FRANCISCO AREA • Location Number 12
Electric Motorcycle Company Owner
We are really proud of what we’ve built but unfortunately there is a lot about this year I cannot comment on because of confidentiality agreements. It is particularly important that we respect confidentiality agreements whilst we establish a new buy up agreement. So forgive me for talking around it and I’ll try to talk about what was going well and how we find ourselves in our current position. Taking things all the way back to 2009 when I first met my co-founders Jeff and Derek we collectively identified that this lightweight vehicle space, everything smaller than a passenger car, is a massive growth space and it was growing at a time when passenger cars were stagnating. In a lot of ways motorcycle production was more ripe for disruption than automotive cars. We are close enough to the market as motorcycle professionals and understood what the best needed to be in its category and that is the definition of what is most ripe for disruption. We identified off-road motorcycles as a beachhead for profiling a functional fit, the off-road use case is for going slower off-road than on-road so you use less energy and require a smaller battery. At the same time off-road use is very sensitive to control and consistency of torque and that is what electric does a lot better than combustion and we also identified that we would be production limited as a small company so who would be most productive to put our technology into off-road. If we could win over the most doubtful person about electric then it tells everyone that electric must be the real deal. It was really ideal for an number of attributes, time was of the essence and when you think of your what you are providing with an off-road vehicle it is really the most brutal aspect of motorcycling, so it created the perfect situation for proving our technology and a proven race brand. We did raise nearly 60 million dollars in funding over the course of our 10 year history and we were attracting a lot of investing and towards the end of 2017 we had raised our most amount of capital together - 20 million dollars. We had queued up the ‘R’ version of our drive train that has put us into the realm we had originally tired to achieve and we had been able to take down our prices from 17 to 12 and also 10.5 thousand dollars. So all these things were converging and we were able to stabilise our supply chain and begin seeking to branch out, so our ‘Red Shift’ was really the first move and the second was to start partnering to diversify our revenues. And as a leader of electric technology we decided to partner with Harley-Davidson in early 2018 and there are press releases all about this. At this point I have to think carefully about what I can share. I will say that the partnership with Harley-Davidson, with engineering and design teams (I was the Chief Product Officer and I was responsible for all our future profits and future production development) that partnership was successful and mutually satisfactory. So that I can say about the year as a whole was that it was a lesson that sometimes having the best project and the best technology isn’t everything in the dynamics of a competitive market and in fundraising and it was a very frustrating year because 2018 was better than 2017. We got our drivetrain into
production and our prices into a lower range and we saw our sales just multiplying and we’ve seen this grow 50% quarter on quarter. We were 6 months behind dealer demand and people wee universally excited about what we were doing and it felt like things were going great but we found ourselves unfortunately in the position in the 3rd quarter of the year, that we were unable to continue operating and the only option was to stop down the company. It is a scary gamble but it is the best option to us, we should know the outcome of that process before the end of the year and we hope to restart the company better than ever but ultimately we are are scared that we will not be able to restart the company and the assets will have to be sold off to the highest bidder. I can’t speculate in motivations or intent about what happened with Harley-Davidson and I feel like our partnership came with good intent and good will, that is all I can say. I believe that both parties entered into the partnership in good faith. I’d like to state that for the record as I realise I cannot comment on that. What I can say is that Alta is not involved in the LiveWire project in anyway and that is a separate project that predates Alta. The outcome right now is unknown but will be known within the next few weeks. Both parties have been very careful to respect confidentially and we have maintained separation. If we aren’t able to restart Alta I do think it will be a real tragedy for the world of transportation and the advancement of electric technology. Our battery technology was the most advanced and dense in lightweight vehicles in the world so far and we were the leaders in battery technology for all weight sensitive vehicles. As a company we were going to continue pushing that forward and if we don’t emerge it will be a 3 - 5 year set back for electric vehicle adoption. In the transportation industry wide sense I won’t buy into conspiracy and electric is a growth sector. If you allocate dollars into a known growth space where you know it’s going and you’re locked into battle you know you will catch up at a later date. I would point out the dynamic between Tesla and GM right now. GM has invested millions of dollars into battery technology and is similar to Teslas investment. That’s a conscious decision to let a start up make a lot of risks and then make a large investment and then surpass what the start up was able to do. And let them catch up to the scale of the OEM’s - to use their technology to catch up and that is the general dynamic so we are going to see a big catch up soon in light weight vehicles. It is hard to say right now what will happen, me and my co-workers have put nearly a decade into this and there is still an opportunity to keep it moving on the trajectory we had in 2018, that is all I am hoping for. But if that doesn’t work it doesn’t change my belief in what is possible. Electric growth is accelerating thanks to transport as a growth service and as a growing technology. The loss of our battery is a big blow but it doesn’t change the future, it just changes the
timeline. Others will pick up the torch as it is not just beneficial for the environment which we all care about but also we now know how joyful, exciting and how rewarding riding an electric vehicle can be and I want every rider on the planet to benefit from them. For younger generation of adults, whether they are riding or thinking about it, it is 2018 - it should be an electric motorcycle! There is a mindset about the propulsion technology, if we are able to restart one of the critical parts of the 2nd stage it was to demonstrate that this technology is much broader than off-road performance so we are extremely interested in street motorbikes from small scale from 125cc - 200cc all the way up to the full-size motorcycle that in western markets are on the decline. But what we have learned from the ‘Red Shift’ is that everything is accessible for large vehicles. We put a performance lead bike and you would never put a beginner on a similar gas powered bike but because we put so much tech into accessibility in control and drive it means you can ride one from never having ridden one before so there is this opportunity to getting the younger generation into the fold. There is two versions of future transportation, one is autonomous - almost like teleporting and also there is a version which is why the journey is the reason and you are fully engaged in this. It is dependent on our DNA and I do not think this goes away so I want to preserve this and with them all the rewards that come with it and I want people to experience this for as long as possible.
Elton Mantle 66
(middle) MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 1
DC Electric Motor Engineer
I started with Prestolite Electric Incorporated back in 1985 and stayed with them until 1988 at which time the plant closed in Syracuse and I went to the UK to set up Prestolite there. These were DC (direct current) traction high current motors from 5 inch diameter to 9 inch diameter. These were for motors for fork lift trucks, hydraulic pumps for lifts, golf cart motors and electric RTV’s but the majority was the material handling sector, handling for electric buses. There is a variety of applications for these electric DC motors but mostly mobile motors. I’ve always stayed with DC, it’s direct current, if you were to look at an AC sign wave it would be 180 degrees and then 180 degrees to give you a 360 degree one cycle of that motor. DC is strictly flat, you’ve got a constant sine wave, there are variations in DC, step DC or flat DC. DC is instant torque right from the get go. When you apply the voltage everything that motor is capable of is instant. Your power factor is when your power is applied. Jeff is varying the voltage in his case as DC can run at various voltages. If you’re at 12 volts you might have 2000 rpm but if you have 24 volts on the same motor it would give you 4000 rpm. So it’s linear. Jeff is relying on more voltage to give him more rpm to have the ability to vary the current to reach maximum power basically. He’s doing two things there, he’s increasing his voltage to give him maximum current, for rpm and power. Current and amperage is the same thing. If you take ‘Ohm’s law’, if you look that up with Google, if you increase voltage you drop current so heat isn’t building up in the motor. If you get the current up you get the temperature to rise. Ohms is nothing more than resistance in simple terms. The formula of volts equals amps, times resistance is what makes the power. It increases proportionally. We get to do things we don’t get to do in the field, in the field of manufacturing you are always within the specification of what the manufacture wants. But with an electric motorcycle we can let our minds run wild - how can we get more from the same thing. It’s a fine line, if you drop resistance too low you would have a low power factor in take-off but you would have a high top end. You have to operate with the limits of the motor. We get to play with things like air gaps which is the space gap between the armature and field poles shield of the motor. There is a comfortable space of about 25,000 thousandth’s of an inch of air gap per diameter. If you want to make it go faster you can machine the shield down to have a larger air gap so you would go from 25,000 thousandths to 50,000 thousandths of an inch. Thats ‘.050’. I’ve always been working with fork lifts but years ago we built our own electric motorcycle, it was a 1967 BSA and we machined out the housing and connected the motor directly to the transmission of the motorcycle and put batteries underneath the tank and they were lead acid batteries. The trick I see now is the controller and the batteries that are really going to control the future. You’re drawing so much out of a battery, can the battery do it? There is just not enough power in a battery for going any distance, it’s like a bolt of lightning, you’re asking it to do everything instantly. The weak point is the front drive chain sprocket off the end of the motor, as there is so
much torque and you can strip the teeth off, on take-off and the chain gets ruined too but the motor isn’t destroyed. Weight is critical so to take 10 pounds off can give you a tenth of a second more. We actually buy what is know as blanks for the sprockets - whatever the gearing Jeff wants to run he buys blanks and we bore shaft size and broach the key. We face it down to recut the angles of the teeth so he can run a different chain. We match everything after he buys a standard blank sprocket. I’m staying in the game to do the fun now, to experiment now and develop things for Jeff’s electric motorcycle. I’ll come to the end at some point but I still have the enthusiasm to play. I still enjoy coming to work everyday and there is always something new. Nothing is the same between two motors. That’s why I enjoy doing it. But with Jeff we go outside the normal design. How we can increase resistance in the motor to give higher speeds and yet not lose torque. It’s multiple answers - it’s air gaps to resistance to conductor sizes used to the number of electric circuits in an armature. You can play in that area to try and optimise everything. As simple as it is, it just comes down to those factors to play with. You don’t say no to anything, you test it and try it and find the results - what armature numbers can drop the number of electric circuits. But other factors come in so you can play with it to get the optimum, it’s not just you do one thing and it happens. I don’t look at electric as being greener or not greener, it’s just a different form of energy, you still have to charge the battery that gives off acid and I wouldn’t call that cleaner. You might not be burning a gallon of fuel but you are using energy in some shape or form to make it work. Coal power stations or nuclear. Whatever you build or design you have all that power to use from the millisecond you use it. That’s what is nice about the electric, in an electric motor right from zero hitting it with power you have all of your power instantaneously but with gas (petrol) you’re waiting for it to build up, like with a turbo. I think we are limited in the electric arena as we are flawed by technology because of batteries as they are not even close to being as developed as they could be. That’s the failure at the moment, you can only have so many charges to get the power you want and you then begin to break down the battery as it depletes. It’s very expensive to dig rare earths out of the ground and one of the biggest costs of solar is that if you don’t use a good rare earth the life expectancy is less. Some people would argue that electric cars are the answer to the ozone and a cleaner environment but if everyone has them they’d need a lot more power plants so you go from a few thousand electric cars to 18 million a year, the same as how many gas powered cars are made every year. You would then need more power stations to give you the range as batteries aren’t there yet and you’d have to charge more frequently as they do not have the range and I cannot see how that is greener. I think it’s a combination, if you can have two power sources, hybrid is going to be the comprise and they should really use better technology in gas engines. We could get into the politics of it all day long. The Mobil oil company doesn’t want you to be using electric when they are making 45 billion dollars a quarter, and that’s just the profit sales side of it. Why would they want to have electric cars as the way to get around. Someday we’ll get there and if you want my opinion nuclear is the answer, it’s cleaner
and safer, although we have had a couple of bad disasters. They say if you have a nuclear pellet the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil it would power a car for your entire life. That wouldn’t be good as you’d have one model of car for 60 years. So if you ask me that would be the solution but you probably wouldn’t want a pellet of plutonium that size as it’s weapon grade and if anyone wanted to make a nuclear bomb they’d be robbing all the pellets out of everybody’s cars, I can’t see why you would go that way. Really it comes down to cost, instead of going to more epensive technology like AC and the controllers it comes down to investment. We are dealing in pocket cash to build these electric motorcycles but with AC it’s costing tens off thousands of dollars. It’s a different tech but it has potential to give you great results on the competitive side if you have the mind to challenge it. Electric is a different form of power and supply. Electric is unique by itself and gives you the potential to set records against fuels that have been around for forever. If you look at a clean type of energy nuclear works and usually the by-product is steam. You’re giving off water and how much cleaner can you get than that?! But you’d need the technology to do that I think it could be done but you’d have to encapsulate it so that radiation cannot escape and a system to sort out the steam and then you could run forever. Really the sizes of electric DC motor are down to power and it limits the amount to horsepower it can put out. Let’s talk about the 7 and a half inch motor - it’s a 12 horsepower motor at 36 volts. Then you take the 9 inch motor and run 36 volts through it which would be closer to 18 or 20 horsepower. The 11 inch diameter motor is going to increase to 30 or 32 horsepower and then you take the 15 inch and you may be closer to 48 horsepower. That’s the number you fall into, to put them into comparison for the standard use they were intended for. With Jeff as an example he is increasing voltage and controlling current so that eventually you reach a point where you cannot go further. He’s already done that with a 7 inch motor, running it with 300 volts and 2000 amps. The 11 inch motor he wants to run at 400 volts and produce 4000 amps. The 9 inch motor he ran with 300 volts and 3000 amps and produced 683 ft lbs of torque to the rear wheel. I don’t even know how he stays on the bike at that power. Normally the 9 inch motor would produce 40 ft lbs of torque at 36 volts. It’s the same idea as turbos, superchargers and nitros - is what you are doing with voltage and amperage. Bigger batteries to give more cranking amps is what does it and the controller allows you to adjust the volt factor. It’s all this that we play with, sooner or later we’ll come up with something that is just neat and something you think you cannot do. This technology on DC motors hasn’t changed since the 1880’s, other than cost saving and controllers have gotten more efficient. It’s always going to exist and there are still advantages to it. Manufacturing is about cost cutting without losing integrity of the product, that’s my opinion. Motor manufacturing every year tries to introduce cost cutting to make the motor cost less but be able to still charge for it and make a profit. The carbon footprint of an electric motorcycle is probably the same as a gas motorcycle. Look at wind power, they produce 2 megawatts of power but they fail mechanically after 20 years and you can’t even write them off with a 25 year life span, so you are actually losing money.
Jeff Disinger 54
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 2
Electric Motorcycle Builder/Drag Racer My interest in racing started early ‘70s with dirt bikes, got into the cars at 15 but racing motocross for Team Honda in 1978 was when I started, right up to 1980. I went pro in 79. It was local, I used to sweep floors for parts at a local dealership which wasn’t for big money but it got me noticed. Winning, I was never not a top 3 finisher. Young and dumb. As I got older I bought a car and bikes went to the side. I invested in race cars. 30 or 40 grand by the time I was 18. A never ending battle with blowing and fixing. I raced as a kid on the streets here for money, it kept me alive. Back in 1976, then you’re taking between 200 and 800 bucks on a Saturday night. It never was a ton of money. That was back when the cops didn’t bother you much but people did crash and people got killed but then you didn’t hear about it because there was no social media. It was all word of mouth. I got the idea for an electric motorcycle in 1978, I wasn’t even 16 years old and working at a boatyard motor shop and we did a lot of European cars. There was an old English bike sitting there and an electric motor nearby and it was a chocolate mixed with peanut butter Reeses pieces moment. Putting the two together, I knew what I wanted to do but the technology wasn’t there. Fast forward 30 years and I finally did it. That’s when I bought the Predator as it came to be known. It was a Pro-Stock deal bike chassis, cut it all up and put an electric motor in. I broke all the records on it. It has been cut up more times than a Californian house wife. It was just nuts. Any builder would just cringe at how many times I scabbed on that plank. I broke the 144 volt lead acid cell record. That was 15 years ago. 12.78 seconds it ran the quarter mile and for a bike that weighed almost 800 pounds, I mean, it was quite phenomenal at that point. But that’s when I went to my first ever electric race at the NEDRA event. I call it NURDRA. I met Shawn Lawless, he became a sponsor upon meeting him, his bike was called Agnes (All go and now show), that was scary as hell and ran a 9.90 in the quarter. I told him that if I could put his motor and battery in my bike and I’d go faster and he let me do it. He said that I needed 2 motors but I only needed one. Dennis Berube who was the fastest man in the world was standing there and he agreed with me that I only needed 1 motor. He liked me as he realised I didn’t fit in with the electric world nerdy guys. He was a drag racer which is why we got on to begin with. I drag raced the stroked Kawasaki H2 750 2 stroke. It was a big bore and I raced them a whole bunch of times, I stepped out to race cars and got back into it again with my Harleys. The FXR was the first one and that was running down in the 10 second range. That one was completely stripped down, turned it into a monster bike, teared everything of it, air shifted it, nitros and wheelie bar. It was a stock 80 cube motor, changed compression and head and carb and pipes and ignition. Then there was the Pro-Street Sporty, a 96 cube.That was a 9 second bike, street legal. That was my killer. I accidentally put it down at 100mph in a parking lot, just got done taking first place, a nice sunny day out, I got hurt pretty good
and my wife then talked me out of racing for a year and a half. My boy was 2 and a half. So after a couple of years being miserable and going back to cars then came the divorce and I was at a National NHRA event, I ran into a bunch of old guys I knew and they said you gotta get back to bikes. Funny you should say that I said as I was going to come back with a bike but it was going to be electric. Why electric? It was the non denominational - electric, when you tell people you are racing they ask what is it. I say it’s a bike. It’s not a Harley or a Kawi or a Suzuki - I wanted to say it was a bike I had built. It wanted to build electric because I knew nothing about it, I couldn’t even wire in a 12 volt circuit. I cannot explain the draw. It was a pre-determined destiny. I was retarded with electric. I knew nothing about it, I couldn’t do it. I was told that technology doesn’t exist but I don’t like to be told I cannot do it and I like to prove that I can, to myself and everybody else. It’s pretty common knowledge that electric have crazy torque from zero from a DC motor. You know that it should do this if you have any kind of mechanical aptitude. But when I first ran a 15.40 on the first pass at 89 mph it was a kick in the dick. But in the same day I dropped 2 seconds by warming the batteries and changing gearing. With electrics, they are complete the opposite from gas. Electric don’t respond to obvious gas gearing ratios. The ratio has to be a certain amount versus ampage and voltage and gearing. It’s those 3 combinations - your timing and brush compounds. A 2000 amp controller brand new is 5 grand but I bought mine used for 2 grand. There are good parts and there are great parts and I keep growing up to expensive parts. I can solve all of these growing pains for large companies because I know what you can a cannot do and it takes a lot of time to figure that out. But I have gone through a coupe of divorces which means I have to take care of my family and bills so I have been limited as I am privately funded. I have to ‘sell this in order to do that’ but I am lucky as I am not going backwards. It goes back to NASCAR, HRA and the Moto GP series - “you qualify on Saturday, you win on Sunday and you sell on Monday” and that is one of the oldest sayings for selling cars but why isn’t it for the bikes. It kinda of is but Harley have bowed out and electric are spluttering. There has never been a factory backed electric and this is a chance for a large company to be the first. If a large company had brains, that if you can prove that you can do this, then they will sell a load. You need muscle if you’re going to go fight. Are you going to bring a skinny dude to a fight? No, you’re going to bring a big muscly guy. So what do you do and how are you going to win? We do Pikes Peak and the Isle of Man. I call the shots, my finger prints are on every single successful world record. I make electric looks cool lets put it that way. I’m the only one with the matching
helmet and suit and bike and mine doesn’t look electric. I’ve yet to have a conversation with anybody at that level. I’m too busy developing what I have but I have virtually exhausted all my finances. I have a very big gun with no bullets. The analogy is the battery. I get a big battery and the shots are going to be heard all the way around the world. The batteries I need are custom high end lithium poly with big technology cells. Bottom line is that my building skills are getting more sophisticated, I can buy cheap ones but they are not as safe. The kind of power we are dealing with is that it is the nitros of electric racing. Derek Barger is the man that makes them. High Technology Systems, HTS. He’s out off Denver, Colorado. In the electric racing world a lot of guys build battery packs but they are all mediocre, they are ok, but you put an HTS pack in place of one of their packs and it would flip itself over. To see one of his battery packs is a work of art and they are safe and the attention to detail is insane. The quality of cells, connections, points of resistance, cables and the battery management system is the secret. Battery cells are still the weakness so the challenge is to find a manufacturer who will build cells up to your specs. It’s always going to be the battery tech as the limiting factor. Manganese cobalt and lithium. They are putting so much tariff on shipping. Most of them are made in China and Korea. It’s hard to ship these things, they are volatile. That’s what is taking the planes down. They have cheap, cheap, cheap labour. And I would dare say that Europe is where the vast majority of materials are coming from. I am not a tree hugger. Politically speaking I am an outdoor hick, I love the outdoors, I don’t throw rubbish and I love the environment but at the end of the day it’s whatever makes my ass go fast. It’s all about torque and horsepower is just a number. All the factories are putting out a carbon foot print. With electric cars you are not saving anything, it’s minimal, it’s not what people think as gas cars are so efficient now. People love noise, they’re addicted to it, there is nothing like it, it’s a fucking bomb going off and there is nothing cooler than that. But with electric you have never heard a tyre grab for traction so much as my bike, it will make you flat-out shit yourself. It’s an ominous howl, it’s almost impossible to describe. It’s a deep throated howl, the more voltage and amperage I put to it, it just starts to awaken the beast. If I had a substantial amount of more power, well, the sound gets much more violent, it’s like a jet engine going by. It’s pretty fucked up as there is nothing to compare it to as there is nothing to compare it to any sound that you have ever heard. I’ve got guys that run at the same time as me but those guys just walk away with jaws dropping and wide eyes. It’s hard to understand that something relatively that quiet can move that fast and that is what is going to sell. Speed, speed always sells. Any of the horsepower guys out there know, at the end of the day, somebody that has that much torque knows.
Jeff Disinger 54
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 2
Electric Motorcycle Builder/Drag Racer You don’t miss shifting or having exhaust or any of the other experiences. Your sense becomes much more in-tune. You hear nature, your tyres, the chain - you become a better driver. You cannot understand until you have experienced it. It’s the same thing with all the fledgling people who are building shit, at the end of the day they should let me in as it is what I do. I go fast, I’m the fastest idiot you will ever meet. Everybody is trying to play it safe, they are worried about safety and liability. I don’t care about that and most guys riding bikes don’t care either. Marketing, the people have very little credibility. GP racing is way bigger than drag racing and that is where the money is. People in sports bike racing realms at the end of the day say the heavy weights are what everybody wants to watch so drag racing is where it is at. You have to have this in your arsenal. That is what will sell bikes. If you don’t have the big dog in your arsenal you have no credibility. Then you come out with an intermediate one which everybody can afford. Yamaha, KTM and Mugen all have bikes out there and they have for a couple or three years. They are racing them and finding out all the weaknesses. They are coming out hard but Harley is falling on its face. They have the brand moniker and all the clout in the world. The Harley LiveWire looks goofy as fuck and the power is mediocre and the battery is sub-par scooter level. They have nobody bad-ass on their bike and the typical public perception is of a beer drinking, tattooed bearded guy. That is kind of demeaning because the Harley market could be anybody now and the LiveWire should open the market up even more. There are probably as many females riding Harley’s as guys now. I’m there in front of them, I fit their programme to a T. They already have all these fast ones, they control the NHRA and all the rules so it makes perfect sense to bring out an electric drag bike. But I will embarrass every time. I need them as much as they need me. I can help them with product recognition. I fit here and here there is so much I can do. I am going to be the first one on a Pro-Stock electric bike with suspension and no wheelie bars to kick their ass and run 6 seconds. It’s just money. I could do it in 6 months and they wouldn’t even know what had hit them. What’s going to happen is that electric will be jut another model. It’s going to bring a different clientele to the moniker. The geeks will like this technology, a different breed of customer will be coming in but existing gas bike riders are laughing as they are slow. The LiveWire isn’t a horrible ugly bike, it is only that they went horribly wrong with performance. It’s going to bomb miserably, Harley’s marketing sucks, their people suck, everything they do is half-assed and it’s going to drop-off a cliff like a rock. It’s not a contender. Dark ages, build a fighter, it is what it is. I don’t think they’ll ever get it, they are spending a lot of money to be laughed at, nobody is going to say “I’ve got to have that bike!” I’d say that Lightning is the only bike that has something there. But can you buy them yet and they’re ungodly expensive. It’s a good looking bike but it’s not realistic. You’re going to sell a dozen and then what?! And so many prototypes are coming out that I don’t think are even real. Zero, Alta, Brammo, the Inertia, they fell on their face. All these companies that makes these claims are broke,
they don’t know how to hit the market.
and they will crush an AC motor with half the voltage.
These companies don’t get it, they need a big brother, they need a gorilla in a cage. I’m heavily invested in the electric thing and I’m the guy to beat, period. Why would I go backwards, I have all this to offer a company. It’s never going to shut gas down, this is just something new. If you want t be taken seriously you have to have the monster in the cage.
AC create an enormous amount of heat too so they have to be cooled. If I’m going to build an AC bike it is going to be 10 times the cost. It’s where it is going, AC - permanent magnet motors. They have brushless DC motors and permanent magnet motors and there are various versions of both. AC is smaller and they spin up faster, they spin infinitely without brushes coming apart. A DC motor will not spin as fast as AC safely.
Gas is going to be here for another 40 years, there is an abundance out there of it and hybrid is always going to be the solution. But until somebody comes up with a better battery source and able to charge in 15 minutes, that’s where you need to be. The technology is coming, people are going to learn - look at the past 2 generations of kids that have grown up with radio controlled cars as they can understand the technology and they are asking what kind of batteries I am using. They know how to plug in a battery and balance it and programme a controller. It’s going to take a bit for the technology to catch up but right now they need me, I’m the guy that did it, I’m not plug-in and play. I’m using 120 year old technology. I have got the eight mile and right now I am working on the quarter mile. All the records I have are in my class, I have broken all the records in my class. The fastest motorcycle in the world is jet powered and ran a 281 mph quarter mile at 5.2 seconds. Then a supercharged nitros motorcycle made a 5.6 second pass for the quarter. My fastest quarter is a 7.84. I do 0 - 60 feet in 1.14 seconds. I’m going to beat the world record but it all boils down to the battery. I have applied to break the eighth, quarter and one mile world records to Guinness and they have approved it. This is for the electric motorcycle record, technically it could be any type of electric motorcycle but you have aerodynamics to consider which is why special bodywork, extended swing arms and racing tires are used. I’ve already broken the world record for the eighth mile which I did in 4.88 seconds at 132 mph on 30 September 2018. Initially I had to explain to Guinness what is fast and what isn’t as they didn’t understand the numbers involved and had to research it. Originally they came back to me with a sub 4 second time but I had to explain that the world record for a fuel bike is Larry McBride at 3.749 seconds at 202 mph. My bike could be right there with him but it’s all down to batteries and money. But these guys have been doing this for twenty something years and I’ve been doing it for a couple.
Big oil, it still holds true all the oil mongers buried electric as there wasn’t enough money to be made. That’s what it’s all about, money and people in control. Electric came out first but the technology got dropped. Electric is a preference, it should be nothing more than an option. Gas shouldn’t become a dinosaur, but eventually it is going to get phased out. In 40 years time it will become a thing of the past but it doesn’t mean that electric cannot be viable either. It all comes down to power density and gas powered vehicles overtake electric powered vehicles hugely. The efficiency of gas engines are betting better and better. It’s down to manufacturing companies and how they can make money. I don’t thing anybody cares about what sort of technology it is, you still have tyres that are going to wear down and brakes but you have ‘regen’ (regenerative braking) with electric to put power back into the battery. You’ve got to be able to accept new options and ideas, environmentally it’s sound pollution. Why are lawn movers electric? So people aren’t going to bitch about it. But it’s bad ass to hear a blown V8 - but you know what is more bad ass!? To see my electric bike winning. Stop saying it’s going to shut down gas, just accept electric for what it is. All it is about is torque and speed and that is what is going to change the minds of the non-believers. Even if you don’t like it you are going to smile. It’s more reliable and it’s going to be faster. Its new technology. I’ve figured it out.
With the new packs that are available today they have twice the power with half the number of cells. They need to be half the weight with twice the amount of power. It’s all down to money and horribly frustrating that I cannot just go out and buy the batteries right now.
With electric you’re still stripping the world of rare earths and precious metals. There is still a price to pay. It’s just different and something new. Because of Elon Musk there is credibility. He built reliable electric transportation and it’s very fast. The first thing anybody says about a Tesla is that it’s fast - there’s a certain bunch of geeks, that crowd of tree huggers who want to play their part, but who gives a damn about the environment if they are buying a $130,000 car. This argument is going to go on and on but who cares. I like it being quiet but I like the sound of my supercharged Mustang as well. It’s just the nature of humans, why can’t we have both. You don’t have to like electric bikes but guess what, I’m going to kick your ass. There’s a ‘Y2K’ that Jay Leno has. It’s a helicopter starter motor, it’s a jet engined motorcycle. I’d like to run a bike on one of those.
People use AC motors because they are so simple, they are all plug in and programmable. With DC motors there are not many people with the mechanical aptitude and finness to do that. Brushed motors are DC to no brushes with AC. Brushes are the weak point for sure but they create maximum torque from zero
We’re kind of stuck right now. There is nobody for what we are doing. There’s only a handful of companies that build DC motors anymore and it’s become obsolete and the AC people are going to find there is a huge market for it. Scrap went so high a few years ago that they junked all the old DC motors but there are
Jeff Disinger 54
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 2
Electric Motorcycle Builder/Drag Racer still some in Europe. And people like Elton, all the DC builders, there are not many left. Maybe a handful. Electric fork lift trucks are still there but they are all switching to AC, they’re not concerned about how to have to fix shit. Now there are the next generation of about ten people who know about DC still and all the tricks. The last generation there were about 40 people and before that thousands. The downside of scrapping all of those GE motors is that they are hard to find and I generally don’t tell people about the GE motors as it’s kind of my secret. There are many others but they are inferior to my set up. These engineers had it figured out. Guys were more intelligent back then and labour was cheaper in machine shops and people took more pride in quality. Quality is a thing of the past. That’s what it comes down to, pride in your craftsmanship and nobody cares anymore. Nobody has the patience or pride in their work and it takes a lot of time to do it right. It’s brush compound and the types of components. I want to restore motors and make them do something. But I’m just a guy doing it on the cheap, I think that there are going to be DIY kits that people are going to be doing for themselves, converting their own vehicles. A lot of them have that mentality that they know it all or they want to learn it, to master the technology. There is a fine line between guys that are doing what I am doing and guys that want to go cruise around town. The whole electric thing is spluttering, you think it would be taking off, I just don’t get it until you see me and once it goes, and it is fast, I’ve got the entire package. I’ve got two bikes and that’s all that exists in the world. DC is cheap, let’s go that route, it’s not going to be AC which is more expensive so let’s get this done so I can have a budget and go out and tour. Companies like Harley have to wake up and realise I have credibility and I do it properly. It’s just a matter of talking to the right guy. It’s new and fledgling and if you really look into the factories it’s not different to gas, the footprint is pretty equal. The efficiency of engines is incredibly different to what it was years ago. It’s just a new toy. The believability factor is ‘put up or shut up’. I’ve got a double punch, I have two bikes. Selling it with green as being the reason is a mask, it’s got nothing to do with the environment, it’s just new technology. You have to race to get credibility, to get the sponsors in and then you have the money to go build it. In 6 months I could build a team of people to build a car or bike that would change everyone’s opinion and make jaws hit the ground ground. But I just don’t have the money. AC motors are never going to do what we’re doing.
Tony Audette 27
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Design Engineer
I don’t think that the battery development has plateaued yet, every year massive advancements keep being achieved to create a better battery when you’re able to make the systems more efficient, how the motor and controllers interact with the battery, and you’re no longer developing that technology but refining it. I think that is when people start to expand what can be done with making it more widely accepted. It’s like smartphones, every year they keep getting better and better and that’s to do with the technology inside of it but when it gets to the point when they peak with development then they will refine it. It’s like the difference between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s. It’s the same phone but they’ve made it just a little bit better by refining the technology already inside of it. The same can be said for the evolution of car/gas engines - they got as efficient as they could go and then turbos were added to make them even more efficient, to get every bit of energy out of them. I think once the physicists have hit a plateau with the technology giving the engineers a chance to fully catch up they will be able to come along and make it more efficient and apply it to different things. Once you start to hit that plateau and the engineers are able to come in and develop efficient charging systems, supporting infrastructure, aftermarket upgrades and over the air upgrades, it’s not just the batteries we are using, it’s all the supporting devices that are upholding it. Any supporting elements that people don’t really think about that need to happen before EV’s are widely accepted. We have a technology partner that specs out the battery controller and motors and they do the electrical side of it and I put it together to make it safe, that it will last forever and so that it handles well, the mechanical engineering of it. I design all the components so that they work together. It depends on the part, how easy it is, some are easy and some are much more difficult, our bikes are not designed like a standard motorcycles with a frame that cradles everything, for us we have made each component structural so it does not require a typical motorcycle frame. Our electric isn’t made from an existing motorcycle frame and it’s not designed to look like a gas motorcycle, what we are trying to do is start from a blank slate, and make it our own thing, its own natural pure design. We’re not designing to support an engine, we are designing a frame to hold the dead weight of batteries. The battery pack itself is actually a structural part of the motorcycle, where most bikes support the engine this bike without the battery won’t be able to fully support itself. I think electric will definitely take over but I don’t think gas in my life-time gas will ever go out unless something drastic happens in the political scheme of things. I think it’s a new novelty and not enough research has been done about it yet, the adverse effects to the environment with mining for the battery’s materials and disposal of the batteries themselves after their lifecycle is done. We’ve had 100 years to research about gas but we haven’t done that for batteries yet. We need
to figure out how to dispose of the batters effectively – it may be just as bad as burning dead dinosaurs if we are not cautious about it. It’s a totally different experience to ride an electric motorcycle - there’s more of a fun factor to it, there’s a lot more felt torque, it’s instant on, there’s not as much lag as a gas bike, and the weirdest thing about riding electric is the lack of sound so unless you look at your speedometer you don’t really realize how fast you’re going. What we’ve done on this one, because there is no transmission on these bikes, the ‘gear shifting’ is done by software so we’ve been able to replace the clutch lever with the rear brake. So you can move the foot pegs to wherever is more comfortable for you, so it’s really opened up the personalization of what is best on the motorcycle for you. With the Curtiss electric motorcycle getting the geometry of the bike right is much more feasible because there are no constraints saying a part has to go in a certain area. If you take your time making the geometry right the bike is going to handle very well the first time and you won’t have a ton of vibration that effects it. We’ve been working on different ways to improve the bikes performance, with the girder front suspension we have been able to make it work similar to conventional motorcycle forks. We’ve constructed the links to make it act linear and have been able to build in mechanical damping to the suspension itself so the shock is not doing all the work, so you have consistent damping and a more stable ride. The biggest thing that we’ve been able to do is put the swingarm pivot axis the same axis as the output shaft, so when the suspension goes over a bump a tensioner is never needed as it is never expanding the drive chain over time. There is no power lag as the chain is not pulling on itself. It’s making it more efficient and if its designed correctly it’s making it more enjoyable too. With electric bikes you can size the weight down and it can still have an astronomical amount of torque but it just won’t go far. Everyone gets upset about the range of electric motorcycles not being enough, but if you do 300 miles you are probably ready to get off the road for a few hours anyway. Electric motorcycles aren’t motorcycles, they’re ‘tech’. Because the basic physics are the same but you’re not working around an engine, you’re basically working around a big electric computer. Eventually if the gear head mechanics want to stay in business they’ll have to learn electric programming. People will need to be able to work on bikes locally so all dealerships and mechanics will have learn how to trouble shoot with other forms of technology, to use a computer to see where the code is messed up. There’s no fuel and air anymore.
(Tony’s job title is ‘Design Engineer’ and here points to cooling fins on the Curtiss ‘Zeus’ concept electric motorcycle ‘heat sinks’ for the controllers [which control the power that is distributed to the motor and control how it is charged, basically the brains of the motorcycle] that takes its design cues directly from the cooling fins of this U.S. Air force P40 War Hawk engine cylinder that was built in 1938 for the fighter aircraft, built by Curtiss-Wright)
Jason Reddick 39
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Technician
I’ve been with this company since I was in my twenties, for 12 years, I’ve put more time into here than most people have in their first and second marriages combined. I would actually say it’s luck to be perfectly honest, how I came to work here. I had gotten out of the military in 2003 and I was riding a lot of motorcycles and by chance I met a guy and was working on his car. He offered me a job and he owned a motorcycle dealership, I ended up working there whilst I was studying at college for business and I was dropping off resumes to motorcycle businesses, so when I graduated I was ready to work. I applied to Confederate Motorcycles and Matt offered me a job in 2007. No job was advertised, it was pure chance, whilst I was at the dealership a friend who was working for Harley-Davidson told me that Confederate was moving to Birmingham. I had no idea who they were so did some research online and liked what they were doing. It’s the look of the Confederate that is a lot more industrial. It’s not polished or shiny, it’s about being more visceral. Confederate Motorcycles is a small batch production of gas powered bikes they’re not for everybody, because of the way it makes them feel when they see it. Most of the people that buy them aren’t movie stars, they are just well off guys that like toys that excite them. They’re a tool to make you feel cool. It’s important how you feel when you ride them around. When you see one for the first time do you think how it will look in your garage or how you will feel while riding it?! You’re not riding it around wide open, you don’t have to, to get the experience of what it is but you have the option of using all that power if you want to. If I’m ever given a choice between form and function I will always go for function as that’s the look that Confederate goes for. I find tools to be more beautiful than say, paintings. It’s just the utility of something. If something doesn’t work I’ll reject it, there is no appeal to me if it doesn’t have a purpose. I find an intrinsic value in function. I have no desire to purchase a painting off a wall as it doesn’t do anything. There is nothing superfluous about a Confederate motorcycle, there is nothing extra. But I learned to love Honda Goldwings that have a lot of extras as I was used to dirt bikes. When I was first working at the dealership I sneered at them a little bit but when working on them I’d have to take them for a test ride and realised that it worked very well. Form can be driven by function and just because I didn’t like the look doesn’t mean that it cannot function well. It’s a point when you mature in your tastes a little bit. I was about 24 at the time. I’m not a fan of people who pack on the extras and I’d like a Goldwing that comes as standard with no extras and not even a radio. I appreciate the fairing is to allow you to cruise long distances at high speed and it is there for a reason. Confederate aren’t meant for highways and long distance, they are meant to turn up the intensity level to 11. If you look at them, they are cool for one because it’s an air cooled V-twin so it has fewer parts. It has more of an agricultural sound to it, so just standing next to it your ears are assailed with more input compared to a Honda Goldwing when you’re not even sure if it is running. You’ll find that on
every piece with the Confederate, everything is minimal, from the dry clutch to the muffling system which has caused problems getting it into certain countries because of noise regulations. It has the best sound of any motorcycle ever made, they sound glorious. What’s a misconception that people are having about electric is that it is going to be quiet. But when it is spinning up they get very loud as the power increases so their note and tone increases. When people hear them they will be able to tell exactly what motorcycle it is going past as each one has its own identity. I think electric is going to sound good, there will be an audio input to it and they will ride around with their own distinct characters. I think electric is going to be huge, it’s going to be a game changer. It’s probably just because it’s something new, people in the world are changing their tastes, people naturally move away from what their parents enjoyed. Kids don’t give a shit about Harley-Davidsons and how loud they are, now they are more concerned about video games and being online. As soon as people are interested you will see the demand explode just like when Harley-Davidson became popular. The industry will balloon within a decade when the millennials get interested in electric. It’s a huge problem getting younger people interested in motorcycling these days, it’s probably just because of capitalism, people aren’t interested in motorcycles like they used to be, they’re interested in other products. Electric bicycles are the way to get millennials interested. ‘Electric assist’ is being used on mountain bikes and I think this technology will eclipse dirt bikes. Electric mountain bikes can be used for people who aren’t as strong as a regular rider and eventually when you match dirt bikes with electric assist then you have something that is capable of something. I think that motorbikes are a bit basic for millennials, maybe they are too simple and there is not enough there to challenge them. It takes an iPad to be complicated enough to make millennials feel challenged for even a few seconds. It will come back around eventually, trying to guess what will happen is the thing of science fiction for now. If you look at iPhones now and how our parents were watching Star Trek, they were thinking it was impossible to talk with something to someone else without being attached to a cable - but look at us now. Have you seen the show Black Mirror, all the cars in it are electric and you don’t even notice this fact, you just take it for granted. Just watch more TV and you will see where we are going. When people say it would be cool if more cars are electric - then they get made, so that is how demand happens. Millennials will become interested in motorcycles after they’ve become electric and then the industry will bubble large and explode again.
I haven’t done any research on whether electric is greener, if I had to put next months rent cheque on it I’d say it’s about even with gas. There are consequences for making anything. It’s like believing that perpetual motion is possible. As soon as you get rid of all gas burning engines and we only have electric everything, somebody is going to say we have too many used batteries piling up so a new problem will come around. You just have to choose the solution that is less damaging and the cost palatable. It was mixed emotions when Confederate ended the gas bikes, most people around the world wouldn’t look at Confederate and start to say negative things. If you look up the word it means ‘your partner in crime’. So accepting we are leaving a name because people mostly in the USA don’t like the way it sounds is tough to accept as a business person. It may not have been the best name to choose in the beginning, for me it was more about being a bit more brazen, in every way, at least being brazen about who you are as a person and not caring about what others think, there’s a freedom to that. But Curtiss is a good name too, I wasn’t familiar with him at all but I did some research on my own and I think Glenn was the kind of guy I would gave been happy to hang out with. You could say he would have been brazen. It doesn’t really matter what we make, there doesn’t even need to be a name on the door - what’s the purpose in it? If we didn’t need brand recognition we wouldn’t have a name on our motorcycles. If anything the name is only so people can find out where we are. Curtiss Motorcycles are definitely not designed for the same customers as Confederate Motorcycles, they’re from two different generations. A Generation-X guy wants the Confederate but a Millennial wants the Curtiss electric Motorcycle, those two are looking for a different product. As far as purely business is concerned, I am fine with going electric. The product is going to meet more demand than we have today with gas bikes. It’s simply good business. It’s like when I found out that 2 strokes were going to become illegal in the USA, but you still see them around today. Going electric is just a step forward, I don’t have any tear jerking sentimentally, put it like that. It doesn’t matter what we make, as it will be cool and people will like it and it will sell. I accept that electric is definitely the future, it is happening whether you like it or not. Get on it early or wait and face an uphill battle when all your competitors have gone way over the horizon. I remember when the CEO first brought up electric and said it was the future, it is nothing to be resisted. It’s what is here and what is happening. It’s like going outside and finding that it’s raining and then going back inside and pining about it or going outside with an umbrella, opening it up and pressing on.
Jason Reddick 39
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Technician
I’m excited by electric, to me I can get on a single cylinder dirt bike and be enthralled by the experience of it and then I can go and ride a scooter or a V-twin or a 4 cylinder sports bike and electric will have its own experience too. I cannot wait to ride my first really high performance electric motorcycle, you are really going to be thrilled when they put out high power. Gas bikes are going to disappear very quickly when electric bikes are made for regular use. For some people once the market floods with electric their choices will become less and they won’t know any different not to buy different. A 5 year old today, when they go to buy their first motorcycle, they won’t have an option as electric will be the only one on offer. Eventually it will come down to when there is no other choice. When that crossover point happens is going to be interesting too see. I say that when you see a regular electric racing season for electric, that is when it is going to happen and you already see it on the Isle of Man and now there is also a Formula E. They’re growing quickly. The fact that electric racing is growing faster than Formula 1 is staggering. I would say that electric has not made my job easier just because there are less moving parts. At the end of the day you still have to build a motorcycle and it’s not like I’m putting kindergarten lego blocks together. I am learning how to install and programme the bike parts and it’s a whole new world, I would say it’s more challenging now as it’s all new technology. A lot of the things I have learned over the years still apply but now the power plant has changed. Say a guy buys an electric bike, where is he going to get it maintained? At his local bike shop. It’s like when fuel injection on bikes was a new thing and the older gentleman in dealerships had only worked on carburettors. That was an interesting crossover and now it is hard to find bikes with a carburettor and hard to find people who can work on them. So the questions you are asking me now apply to what is happening right now. It’s just a new technology that you learn and move on with, it’s the same thing. It’s not that we’re getting rid of motorcycles, we are just at a crossroads. At some point gas will be forgotten just like carburettors were when fuel injection took over. There is no preference for me, they are just something different. With electric you still have noise, it’s not going to be this silent thing that will steal up on you, you will still hear it coming as the motors still use bearings like gas engines do and I think that if every vehicle on the road was electric people would have a better quality of life as it would be quieter. It would make everybody a lot happier if the world was quieter. That’s why I go out in the woods on vacations, it’s quieter.
Matt Chambers 64
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Company Owner
I really love the idea of a mini OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), that’s what we’ve always been. I love motorcycles, cars, clothes. My story starts in 1959, my grandmother lived in Arkansas above a fire station and I loved to visit her, she was my favourite person. I would go to a library nearby to her and it had a book about car and motorcycle insignia, small images and a brief story about each company. I loved that book and I was 5. It’s what inspired me.
The energy is much more refined than gas, it’s much more powerful. The very first electric Curtiss motorcycle is much better than the last Confederate gas motorcycle. Where we will be to supply to the customers will be amazing, it will be nice how it is going to touch all the bases. It’s much more modern and there are so few distractions, so it’s almost like a futuristic flying machine that you would associate with alien technology that is 1000 years ahead of ours.
I practiced law for 13 years and I was able to invest time into my interest about substance of the brand, integrity and design, how the machine feels. I’ve always been fascinated by that, it’s a true passion.
The big turning point was my realisation that we can deliver a lot more power out of electric with a lot fewer moving parts, less weight, much better packaging, much cleaner more beautiful proportions and simpler aesthetics. Delivering a much more likeable, approachable, intuitive riding experience, and amidst all of those things you have a lot more power and then in the mix you have a zero carbon footprint - assuming that the power you charge it with is clean. The Curtiss will never have any carbon emissions so if you feed it right you have no emissions.
I won the biggest personal injury case ever against a Sheriff’s department, it was $8,000,000 in South Louisiana. At the same time I had this big harvest one of my partners wanted to buy out my law firm so I decided to get into the motorcycle business, which I would say is the most interesting business. I get to make toys for grown ups and you can’t get much better than that. A person that buys a Curtiss is compelled to buy by desire and yearning, it’s something that is self defining and gives you a compass and a bit of an understanding of your own nature. A motorcycle most expresses how you see yourself in the world. The thing with Confederate (Matt’s gas engined motorcycle company before Curtiss Electric motorcycles) is, it’s a very philosophical, ideological abstract brand. It’s luxury and expensive but crude. It’s something you have that is primitive, that is very raw and guttural. It’s like a Mercedes AMG Gelandewagen, it’s the German jeep, like the American Willis jeep from WW2 - I’m saying it’s like a luxury vehicle but it’s utilitarian, it gets better with age. My Volvo rides smoother for a quarter of the money but the Gelandewagen has an elemental form to it as it is much more characterful. They are almost the opposite of refinement. The engineering is refined but it’s almost like something out of the 1960’s, like a Torque Flight 426 Dual Quad Hemi Barracuda. It’s super cool but a bit oxymoronic. It certainly has this definitive abstract way of stating what a rebellion is. It’s to see the world in a better way. Live so free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. Albert Camus. He wrote the book The Rebel which is the start of the Confederate brand, to create a device that was a work of art that screams what is rebellion. If I get confused I go to see what the Confederate motorcycle looks like. It was time to stop being an apprentice and step up to the plate and be the master that I know I could be. Glenn Curtiss was a zen rebel. I believe in old souls, people who are born who have been around the block a few times, Glenn Curtiss was somebody who made very creative good decisions who came up with the best solutions and made money for his partners, he didn’t think about stuff, he did stuff. The Confederate (motorcycle) years was when there was a whole lot of growing and thinking, like a 20 year apprenticeship. The Curtiss years are about doing. We know what we want and are about doing it.
It’s virtually indescribable, (with electric) there are almost no moving parts, there is no friction. We made our gas motorcycles as robust as possible as it is to make them but you cannot out-run the silence of it and with all the vibration there is going to be fatigue but with electric there is none of that and when the battery fatigues bring it back in and we will replace it. There is no reason why the bike would not be running in 1000 years. It’s a mystical sacred thing that can stay with your family for a 1000 years and you can still use it. It will be at the centre of your family life, relative to your patriarchy that gets passed down. It’s like getting on the same horse your forefather rode and experiencing what they felt. I love the idea of a preservation in history, something you can feel that your great great grandfather felt through a mechanism of a device that he had 300 years ago, it’s like a priceless thing. Glenn Curtiss invented the American v-twin so our vision is that the man who made the most iconic motorcycle is now going to invent the golden age design aesthetic geometry of the new electric power train. I rode an electric motorcycle for the first time in 2011, I didn’t like the motorcycle but I loved the power train. There is a vital period that isn’t really understood, the speed between 30 and 70 mph on an electric motorcycle which is the speed you want to deploy and within that range it’s exceedingly dynamic. There is no vibration so no fatigue and there is a very sexy sound to it and it’s not at all abrasive and it’s not an intuitive noise - which is a positive. Electric has so few moving parts, and when we determined to go into the 2 wheel market we already believed there was going to be a lot of investment to the battery. We see the future as having a building with a battery half the size of it and solar that feeds it and it powers everything. So we are aiming to design batteries that go further, to go 200 miles and more in the future. If you are in a huge hurry you’ll take the tin can.
We are going to introduce the world to Curtiss on 2/20/2020. That will be our two year anniversary and we have over 100 expressions of interest already. I believe that the whole market for electric motorcycles will be 100 million units in 2020. That market will grow 40% a year, that’s from my own research. It’s perfect for me because we are right sized, we do about £3,000,000 of sales every year. We can build 5 electric motorcycles in the time it takes to build one gas motorcycle, it’s far easier, so in 10 years we will be a billion dollar outfit. This goes to the point of the conversation that the future is going to be battery electric. We are super stoked about the business opportunity, we feel kind of like Tesla was a couple of years ago. We have a really desirable product and what is holding it back is desire. The first time I rode the electric power train I was immediately sold on the way it rode, but I felt like Pee-wee Herman but on my own Zeus I feel like a god. It’s what a mini OEM can do, we are growing at a exponential pace at 40% a year - numbers that a thriving small impassioned organzition can do. A big company like Harley would struggle like that a year. Having this as our only business means we don’t have to worry about all the other vehicles like GM has to worry about that they make. We only have to worry about electric, just like Tesla. The future for electric is storage, transistor, solid state. So it’s going to be cleaner, there will be turmoil that change always creates but it will all come to fruition, you mustn’t grab the earth and stop it from spinning. This will work out just as it is supposed to in the long run. We’ll be able to fix this and not be hysterical about it even though there will be some push back as there are big powerful interests who want to preserve the status quo (i.e. oil companies). The one thing I learned right away with electric is that 120 years ago we made some really bad choices. If it’s found out that a lot of climate change is man-made then it’s because we made a bad turn 120 years ago. Porsche was electric first of all so we could have gone in that direction. What I learned in my study of being a rebel is 3 words. ‘Break it down’. Humanity is the problem, that too much control is in the hands of too few and and what we need to do is break that power down. When you break it down you see clearly that we should build electric but back then there were problems with Nikola Tesla, the Rockefellers, Henry Ford and mass production. It is difficult for me to look at how a gas powered engine works and how you produce the energy to power it. And then to look at the coal mining process - I look at Mother Earth and how it, and you and I are alive and then how this small creature, us, started to dig into it and is getting stuck all of the time. I look at what we do to our planet and ask if this is the best way to do things as opposed to the sun that is up there, that has so much energy. What has always plagued humanity is too few people wanting too much power. Anybody who gets too much power is always going to become a bit of a jerk. The rebel theory is ‘break it down’. An interesting movie is called Rumble Fish with Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke and this old gentleman is running the pool
Matt Chambers 64
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Company Owner
hall, always rubbing down the counters with a cloth and all he ever says is ‘break it down’. As in ‘break the power’ down. That’s my philosophical contribution, if you want to make a great contribution get into the smallest compartments of your interest area you can and know all of it so you do better than anybody else.
The rebel think tank isn’t about the money, it’s about the art, the look and the experience but I realised it had to go clean and green. I know it will make a lot of money even though it will be inadvertent, it’s logical that people will like it. It’s something that is jewel like and beautiful to the eye and when they sell, then the prices will come down.
Why do we have all of these polluting devices? It’s because people found a way to extrapolate a way to make all this gas from oil and could see that it was a way to create wealth. It wasn’t thinking long term or being humane. Thinking more in the physical sense. The limbic, reptilian part of your brain, the primal part of your thinking.
The golden age of (electric) motorcycling is a unique 1920’s, 19 ‘teens proposition with architecture derived from that year as well as the technology of 2030. That’s a nice combination. I’ve always liked to walk into a building that resonates with history but is very modern.
The Curtiss Electric Motorcycles are what I call the Curtiss Hot Rod God series. The future will be more cluttered in urban communities, the legal regime will likely not even allow you to have a gas powered vehicle so for certain journeys we will produce an e-bicycle which will be preferable. A light weight carbon fibre e-bicycle. The heavier weight motorcycles will be the one you take when you journey more than 10 miles at a time or you want to make more of a statement when you arrive somewhere special. We have chosen the hot rod god’s names, Glenn Curtiss for us is our god like inspiration. He’s the first hot rodder and what we mean is he is the guy that takes a single cylinder and then makes a V-twin and then adds a third cylinder and then comes a V8. He was striving to make it more exciting and more powerful. So we are coming from Mount Olympus and we also have a model call The Oracle who is an intermediary from between the gods and us. For the Curtiss Electric Motorcycle range you can choose online your own architectural form, to choose the ergonomics, graphic content and coloration, it’s going to be a little more and a little further than anyone has been able to delve with. A frame work and boundaries that every outcome will be ideal so that the variation you choose is as good as every other variation but it is just just much more personal and for you. We have a fantasy, a quote: One life, One bike. It becomes the centre piece of your existence as it is exactly what you want, it’s all about your own nature and personality. Of the 5 models we have now, we are only going to build pre-sold units that we have contracts for. When you decide you want to buy a product from us you place an order and then there is a gestation period where you work with us when you decide on exactly what sort of motorcycle you want it to be. I believe we will start off building 100 - 150 units in 2020 to 40% more a year, every year. Next year we will make 250, then 416, 700, 1150, then 1930 and 3215. Every year by 40%. Pretty soon you are talking real numbers. Even though we will start very small the beauty is that the market is growing so rapidly, it’s like when Apple came out with their phone and eventually everybody decided they wanted one. Whether people like if or not it is the future. People cannot stop it because it is better, whether they like it or not.
Jordan Cornille 25
MAP PART C - EAST COAST • Location Number 3
Electric Motorcycle Designer
I studied automative design in Detroit at a small private school, The College of Creative Studies. It’s a really good place for automotive design, graphic design, advertising and even fine arts. All art and design in general it specialises in. I went there right out of high school so I was 18 I guess then I graduated in May of 2015 so I was 22 and I came down to work for Curtiss immediately on graduation. I had applied to a bunch of places to work at, the big car companies and a few motorcycle companies and I had finished applying to just about everybody I could think off. But I had come across Confederate products on the Internet, researching awesome motorcycles, but I didn’t apply to them. I realised at the last moment that their products are really inspiring to me and I might as well apply. I wrote to their generic email address and I think it was something like 36 minutes later that Matt, the CEO phoned me and he offered me a job. I had sent him a PDF portfolio of all the work I had done at school and so he judged my skill set on that portfolio that I sent him. It was interesting that he called me up and offered me a job and I couldn’t refuse because the products are cool. They are col because they bare unique, they sort of solve the problem of how to design a motorcycle different to everyone else. It’s a company brave enough to be different to everyone else, they didn’t care if they are praised or criticised, they just were doing what they wanted to do. As a designer it’s very freeing to be able to be that creative and do whatever they wanted to do. I knew it was an opportunity that would never pass again and that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had interned before I graduated for a different motorcycle startup company called Janus which was a small company in Amish country in Goshen, Indiana. I interned for them 3 years after their founding so they were a new company and they were building small lightweight motorcycle, buying their engines in from China. At the time it was 50cc and nowadays they are building 250cc motorcycles. I worked for them for 3 months in 2014 and I helped them conceptualise their second production motorcycle, the Phoenix. Matt hired me when the brand was still technically Confederate in June 2015. So the brand was still publicly Confederate but Matt hired me specifically to work on Curtiss work, so I worked on the brand for several year before the brand was publicly announced. I was really excited because I thought I was going to have the opportunity to design really exotic gas powered motorcycles but then it turned out I had the opportunity to work with an all new brand, to genuinely start from scratch in the brand form language and realize the entire motorcycle itself. So Matt essentially handed me a blank slate which was even cooler than building around a gas engine. It’s electric so my slate started even more blank than if were to design a gas bike as you have the engine and the wheels and the transmission and you design around that package but with electric you don’t have a set position for the batteries or the motor or the controller which is something you don’t normally get to choose. So it’s a chance to recreate and redesign the motorcycle as a whole and
not something that already exists. When you start from scratch it’s the most exciting thing in the world but it can also be the most intimidating thing in the world, as you ask yourself what am I possibly going to do. So we looked at history to take us where we needed to go. We would design the architectures around historically significant air cooled power trains. The reason we decided to draw from these existing architectures was that gas motorcycles have been around for over 100 years so we figured we shouldn’t re-invent the wheel and we should take those existing designs, and package the batteries in those most basic forms that have been refined in ancient technologies. We realised the motorcycle industry has been popular and successful for over 100 years. Today bikes are fun and efficient and run very well so we were able to taker advantage of certain differences. The normal internal combustion engine motorcycle has a big motor in the centre of it but we were able to keep the battery pack super low and it’s almost as if we have removed the gas tank from the motorcycle so it is going to be easier to handle and less intimidating for new riders. We also didn’t want to make something super radical as we wanted to make something that is approachable and to attract new riders to motorcycling that they aren’t afraid of. We wanted to create good looking motorcycles and we wanted them to be distinctly different and obviously not just another American motorcycle. But we also wanted there to be something familiar about them so not to scare people away. We are really excited about electric, we think the main component of the electric vehicle, is the battery pack and right now there is tons and tons of time and money being invested into better battery packs. So we are coming into this at exactly the right time when we think the technology of our bikes is really good but will also be able to be upgraded in the future. With gas the motor is there and it’s always going to be there and when you want to upgrade it you have to buy a newer one. But with electric the bike will stay the same your whole life, but every once in a while we will offer a new battery pack, it’s been designed in the way that you can upgrade your battery pack and that’s the only thing that will change. If you reserve a Curtiss Zeus today you are going to buy a beautiful motorcycle that will get you 150 miles and 200 horsepower. If you receive that motorcycle today, in 20 years you can have exactly the same motorcycle but it will take you say 300 or 400 miles. So the product you buy will get better with time. It sounds bad to say, as it might not be a good marketing ploy, but the motorcycle you buy is the worst it is ever going to be and it is only going to get better and better and the reason we have done that is because we don’t believe in planned obsolescence. We want you to keep the same machine forever and we think that is sustainable. We don’t want there to be thousands and thousands of Curtiss Motorcycles piling up in the desert, instead we want you to have it and pass it down to your children and their children and we think that is really unique to our industry.
We are very excited about the opportunity to do anything. We think that what we release now are going to be some of the more conservative products we will release. The form language right now is called pure and simple and so with the design of the machines what we are trying to do is break them down to their purest form and we want to make them very clean and simple and not have anything that doesn’t have to be there. We need them to be rather friendly in appearance and that is step one in attracting people. If you can’t do that then you are not even going to be able to get them to throw a leg over it. If you don’t have flourished decoration that distracts people from what they are getting on then we think we can get the people on to the motorcycle and the simplicity of the technology will seal the deal. The centre of gravity is placed so that the motorcycle feels lighter than it is and there is no transmission so it is just twist and go, so we think that will attract people who don’t usually ride motorcycles. We think that people who are riding gas today will switch over to electric. One of the first things we were drawn to about electric motorcycles is the performance and we think that is what will bring over people who currently ride gas bikes. If you look at the last Confederate gas motorcycle that was built, the Curtiss has 50% more power than it. I’ve seen conflicting studies and I am definitely not an expert but I think that electric is greener and that over time it will become significantly greener but I also don’t claim to be an expert. We never considered any other core technology for the Curtiss motorcycle because, like I said, we only wanted something pure and simple and as a business we want to be pure and simple. The electric power train is the most simple power train you can put on a motorcycle, we didn’t look at a hybrid as it is to complicated for a motorcycle, so electric is the best product. There is nothing else right now that I know of personally. There are various types of batteries and cells for our second generation of products. If you asked me for the rest of eternity if Curtiss would be electric there must be somebody, somewhere that has an idea for another type of technology but I can say confidently that we will be electric for the next 50 years, but you never know what technology will come out. Out there somebody is thinking of something. I assume there will be something better than electricity but for now electric is our best solution. We think we’ve waited long enough for the technology to mature, we could have done it before but if we had come out with a product before the technology of today it would not have been as good, so it would have been a premature release. If you don’t launch right now you’re going to be a little late to the party. Curtiss motorcycles are going to be really easy to use, the design is friendly and we think the price is right because it is going to outperform everyone else, so it is going to be exclusive. Our products are machined from billet and not cast.
MAP PART D - LAS VEGAS • Location Number 1
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee [My question] - What would you like to tell me first of all about the motorbike? What is the most important thing for people to know; I mean, like the facts and the figures - like the battery and the …
“It’s from the gears and the motor.”
towards the end of the year. And then we’ll add markets after that.”
“It’s between the gear set and through the drive train.”
[My reply] - Okay.
[My question] - Can you say that again?
[My question] - So we’ll being going on from there.
[My question] - The range … ?
“It was specifically designed as a sound to come from the gear set and the drive train. And it accelerates as you pull on the throttle.”
[My question] - How is it going to appeal to existing Harley riders?
“I mean, we can give you all of that too. I think the first thing, if we could … this is part of our comprehensive plan. It was a plan called ‘More Roads’ that we launched last year.”
[My question] - So is there any speaker sound? Somebody told me once that there is going to be like a speaker sound, like some …
[My question] - More Roads?
[My question] - Somebody said to me it would be like a jet fighter taking off from an aircraft carrier.
[My reply] - Okay. “Which is More Roads to Harley Davison. So it is based on bringing new products and new segments to new markets.” [My reply] - Okay. “Giving people more access to the brand, so broader access through different channels that we would open up for consumers. And then also working with our dealer network, to strengthen them up as well. So this is … this is really part of that plan. And this is a growing segment, and we are going to be leading the electrification of motorcycling. And this is … LiveWire is our first … our first vehicle in our portfolio of electric vehicles that we will be bringing to market. And so it is kind of like our “payload product”, if you will. High performance, Jen is going to catch me on the data, when I don’t get it right. High performance … but the thing about electric, and I don’t know if you have ridden an electric motorcycle …” [My reply] - I have. “… like the torque, the acceleration of this thing is just insane so it’s a very thrilling ride. Great acceleration. It’s got at a low centre of gravity, so that combined with adjustable suspension that we’ve got in there so it’s got really dynamic handling, so it works really well in a city environment, on the city streets and equally well outside the city on less busy roads, as you can see from the video. So that’s great. And the other thing: it’s got very signature sound. So you may have heard some of it in the room. It’s hard when you are in this kind of environment, but it has a very unique and distinctive Harley-Davidson sound.” [My question] - Where does the sound come from? Is it from the drive train, or from the motor?
“Yeah.” “You can call what you think it sounds like, but yeah; no, it was not engineered audio sound file. It is from the drive train to the gear set.” [My question] - And then, it was released about two or three years ago wasn’t it? “In 2014. So in 2014 we took Project LiveWire out on the roads, so it was basically like a global demo tour and with customers and our dealers and then we got feedback on the prototypes that they rode, and then we put that back into the design process and refined from there. So that combined with the advances in technology and everything is what you see today. So the LiveWire today looks different than it did back in 2014.” [My reply] - I have noticed that. Yeah. [My question] - So why has it taken so long? “Well partly it was advances in technology, it’s us waiting for the right time to bring this to market. You know, when the technology is at a point where we believe it is right for our customers and we can deliver the right kind of, you know, this raw emotion, that Harley-Davidson comes from this bike. And that’s partly what we wanted wait for to bring to market.” [My question] - So are you actually producing them right now? “We are going to launch it in August of 2019 so we are taking pre-orders today, so h-d.com/livewire, so I saw people on their phones. And it will be available from August 2019 in North America, and then also in select European cities
“You know, if Project LiveWire is anything to go by there was a lot of excitement. I don’t think our existing customers really knew what to expect because at that time, too, technology has moved so fast. Back 2014 the idea of an electric motorcycle was very new, but they all to a tee had an amazing ride and it was a really exhilarating experience. And, you know, we have a group of very loyal, passionate customers and the idea of us progressing and bringing in new technology just shows the strength of the brand; and we are happy about that. So we think we are going to have a lot of our existing customers who will sign up for LiveWire; but we equally are very excited about bringing in a whole new group of people to the brand.” [My question] - Well, how are you going to do that? “Well, this is a new segment so not an expected segment for Harley-Davidson. So that’s one of the things that we think will be reaching out to a whole different consumer. And, you know, Jen mentioned the ‘Twist and Go’ and I think that is what we are really excited about with electrics. So LiveWire is the first, but the simplicity of operation of these bikes means that we can open up to more people who don’t want to sit in traffic with gears and clutches. It is just ‘Twist and Go’. You roll on the throttle and off you go and that’s going to help and then we are bringing out more bikes beyond LiveWire, so we are going to have a broad range in the portfolio. A range of price points and sizes and uses. So they will be becoming in the coming years as well.” [My question] - Can you say what is going to happen in future? Is hydrogen an option or is it just going to be electric? Are you going to phase out gas-powered bikes in the future? “No, we are still going to produce internal combustion engines. That is still our plan, for now. And I think that they will co-exist, and then there are other things we are continuing to work on different technologies so we will announce those as we go forward.” [My question] - Apparently it is hard to get young people motorcycling these days. Motorcyclists are in decline, apparently. Would you agree with that? “Yeah, so, we are seeing a slowdown in the market. There are not as many people coming into motorcycling. That’s why our plan is to try and build the next generation of riders, and so …”
MAP PART D - LAS VEGAS • Location Number 1
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee [My question] - But how are you going to draw them in? Sorry to interrupt. How are you going to attract them? “To really express the fun and the experience that you get from motorcycling that we know. We have to let people know about that. And I think, as I said, with electric being so simple to operate it will be … there are some barriers to people getting into motorcycling. Part of it is we have got kids growing up today who do not drive shift or manual cars. This is not a problem when you have an electric vehicle, so you don’t have to deal with that. And I think … we think about our vision for two-wheeled mobility with urbanization that this is the perfect way to get around a city. And we aim to show younger folks that that is the answer.” [My question] - And how are you going to do that? By marketing? “Yeah.” [My question] - On TV? “Yeah. A range of things. We have a pretty diverse marketing plan. TV is part of it but we do a lot of work within the digital space. We also do a lot of work with influencers. So we have a pretty wide database of influencers that we work with, and they are either current riders or new riders; or people who haven’t ridden before and they share their journey. And we pay particular attention to who these folks are and we work with them. And then they talk with their network, and that’s really how things go today. And it is much better for an influencer and somebody that people admire on social media to tell them about something in their experience than it is necessarily from the brand. So a mix of that and digital, and then putting our marketing efforts to reach … and expanding our reach through new channels, too. So we have most recently put our products, our general merchandise products, on Amazon. And that’s a new channel for us, so we are reaching out to billions of people, basically; or millions of people here in the US.” [My question] - Can you tell me about your price plan? Why $29,000? “This is a premium motorcycle. We are a premium brand. This is a premium motorcycle, and it is our halo product. So we will be bringing out a range of price points within the portfolio but we are starting with LiveWire at $29,799.” [My question] - Okay, and will there be cheaper options in the future? “Yeah, we will have a broad range of price points as we’ve said. And we believe … I mean, we have had a lot of buzz. We actually showed this to the industry at EICMA in Milan in November. And we have already seen a lot of buzz and momentum around the brand based on what we are doing with LiveWire. So we are pretty excited about what we can achieve. And it is limited production, it’s a halo product and in the connectivity. That’s the other piece of it, which is – and we talked a little bit about that on stage… we have H-D Connect, so it connects
the bike to the owner through your smart-phone, through the H-D app. Things like vehicle health and charge status, and service alerts and things like that plus when you are away from your bike it will help you with the security aspects of it, so if somebody is tampering with your bike. So that’s a new … it’s very new for us. It is our first connected vehicle.”
“Nought to 60 in 3.5 seconds.”
[My question] - Oh, okay. Is there anything else you would like to add … ? What about your competitors? How do you feel about them? Are they a concern to you? Zero are probably the biggest manufacturer …
“We cannot reveal those figures yet but we do have top speed which is 110 mph.”
“Our goal is, we are going to lead the electrification at a broader scale. So, there’s a lot of models out there. And individual models. But we are going to bring more scale to the to the segment.” [My question] - Okay, can you tell me about Alta … you were funding Alta and then that finished. “We had a partnership. We had a development partnership with Alta and that finished. We had a really productive working relationship with them, and now we are looking forward and we are investing in EB technology and we are continuing to develop motorcycles on our own. LiveWire was a result of our development.”
“It’s fast.” [My question] - It is. Very good. And what about torque?
[My question] - Very good. Okay, so is it about 70 HP? “We haven’t announced it yet.” [My question] - Oh, you haven’t. When are you going to announce it? “Probably close to the launch, we go through the duty cycles and regulatory measures to get those numbers so we can’t announce it until it’s final.” [My question] - So are you happy this is the final product now, this is actually it, you’re in production and you’re ready to go? “It will be in August 2019 and it will be available in our dealerships.”
[My question] - Okay. Was anything to do with Alta part of your development at all?
[My question] - Are you able to say how many millions it has cost to get to this point?
[My question] - Not for LiveWire.
[My question] - Okay. How interesting. What about charging in the future, for people. In Britain I don’t think charging stations are so apparent, but here … well, in California, there is a lot. And what about Nevada and …
[My question] - But presumably you have been working on it every day since 2014 or even before …
“We think it is going to be rapidly expanding and there is a number of things that are helping us along here, with companies and also OEM Automotive who are putting them in place. So, LiveWire has a Level 1 charger which is actually onboard the motorcycle so you can take that out and plug it into your household outlet and there will be connectors for Europe and other markets. And then you will get a full charge overnight, essentially. And then, we are implementing DC fast charge in our dealer networks. So the ones that are going to be selling electrics are going to have DC fast charge installed, and you will get to about 80% charge in about 40 minutes, so fairly quick. And it’s got about a 110 mile range.” [My question] - Do you have different modes, like a sport mode? “That’s more in like the city environment.” [My question] - Okay. And what kind of top speed does it have? What horsepower, what torque?
“Yeah, so it has been part of our design processes, we got consumer feedback, and all of that went into the process, the advances in technology and we have a team that put it together and we brought it to the market when we think it is the right time to bring it in.” [My question] - So Panasonic are your batteries? “They are for the HD Connect.” [My question] - Ah, okay. You can’t say what batteries you are using for your main battery pack? “It’s lithium ion-cells in a cast aluminium case.” [My question] - And how long do they last for? Do you know? “We haven’t announced that yet.”
(seated on motorcycle, Mark is standing - 2nd from right)
MAP PART D - LAS VEGAS • Location Number 1
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee [My reply] - Okay. So at some point … “As we get closer to launch there will be more information coming around at that stage.” [My question] - Okay. I asked you already about Zero and I wonder what is going to happen with Zero because they are kind of the main manufacturer at the moment, so they are your direct competition. Are you going to stay ahead and be the biggest electric motorcycle producer?
future? Do you think battery technology is going to improve to the point where it charges up in five minutes and that there is no … “I think so. The technology is moving so rapidly, I wouldn’t be surprised. Even since 2014, since we started working on LiveWire until now, there has been major advancement in technology so I’m fairly sure that will continue to be the case.” [My question] - And where are your motorcycles being manufactured?
“That is our intent and we are going to do it. We are going to lead the electrification so we are going to bring it. And we welcome the competition but we are going to lead the category.”
“In the US.”
[My question] - Very good, and then do you think electric is the future?
“LiveWire will be produced in the US, in our York, Pennsylvania facility.”
“I think it’s, certainly when you look at urbanization and growing urbanization, I think it is … there are practicalities to electric. Simplicity of operation. So I personally would like to see internal combustion and electric live nicely together.”
[My question] - And where are your batteries coming from?
[My question] - Ah! For how long?
[My reply] - Okay. Got it. So I don’t want to put you on the spot, I beg your pardon.
“I don’t know. It will take a while. I mean, consumer adoption is speeding up so we will see. We are going to offer a range, so …” [My reply] - You have about 38 gas models right now. “Mmm-hmm.” [My question] - Then how many electric will you have in the next few years? “We have not announced the number, but we have some more on the floor actually.” [My question] - Great. So more than one. “Oh, yes. Absolutely. A broad range across price points and across some lighter-weight models, some more entry level models as well, for different uses. So there will be a portfolio.” [My question] - Okay, and lastly can I ask you about the argument: ICE engines (Internal Combustion Engines) versus electric vehicles, about people digging rare earth out of the ground for lithium-ion batteries. Have you ever … presumably you have gone through the comparison of that … because there is an argument that obviously internal combustion engines damaging and polluting to the environment, and there is climate change. But how damaging is electric? Some people are thinking it’s about the same because you are making batteries and then you are disposing of them … what do you think is going to happen in the
[My reply] - Great.
“We haven’t announced that.”
[laughter] [My reply] - It’s just really interesting because everybody that I have interviewed so far has added their own insight to the picture on this, and it’s interesting to talk to you lastly and grow it and work out how you fit into the picture. I mean, you are the last people I am interviewing – and also the biggest. “Right, right.” [My question] - ... so I need to put you in the spotlight kind of thing and also get some good photographs, hopefully. “Yeah, yeah that would be good. We’d love it. I mean, this is … what’s interesting for me is, you know, when we showed Project LiveWire to our existing customers they were really surprised. It was somewhat unexpected at the time, I think, for Harley Davidson; but really excited about the actual ride itself. And we’ve been, as a brand, have been innovative. It’s in our DNA since the very beginning. So this is not unexpected for us, this is what we do.” [My question] - Well presumably you sat down and had some very serious meetings about the styling of it; but how can you justify the styling of how it looks compared to all your traditional V-Twin motorbikes, which is basically why people buy a Harley. It is that sound … “Yeah. Well, yeah, maybe some other things as well. I think what you will see
with LiveWire, though, is it has the styling dictum of Harley Davidson so, you know, the crown jewels is our motor … so you have mentioned the V-Twin, right? And when you look at LiveWire you will see the same thing. We are celebrating the motor. So there is a lot of effort that has gone into styling and designing the motor, and if you look at some other products, maybe not the same level of attention to that. You will also notice that they … the battery charger cover looks a bit like a gas tank. So some familiar elements for us, for some existing customers too. But it has got the heart and soul of a Harley Davison so it’s all electric.” [My reply] - Okay. Exciting. “Yeah.”
MAP PART D - LAS VEGAS • Location Number 1
Electric Motorcycle Company Employee [My question] - Well, Mark, I have just been interviewing Jen and Heather.
‘100’, of 100 Harley riders ...
[My question] - And they gave me some really good information. You don’t know what they said, but is there anything that springs to mind that you would like to talk about, with the bike?
[My question] - … and it was of their interviews and also their photographs. And everybody, almost everybody I asked about electric bikes in the future, and they all kind of like said, ‘I’m not interested at all’.
“Well, sure. This is an incredibly exciting moment for Harley Davison. You know, this is our first electric motorcycle and a platform of electric motorcycles that we are developing. Our stated mission is to lead the electrification of motorcycling, and we are now on our way as you can see. And this is the halo product of that effort. It is a fantastic motorcycle. Thrilling motorcycle to ride, as you pointed out, with the other electric experience you have had. Its stunning acceleration, great chassis, great handling, great ride – it’s a wonderful motorcycle as well as being an electric motorcycle. And then, on top of that, we are delivering a connected experience for riders because this is an LTE Connected Vehicle, and through the app on users’ smart-phones you are able to keep track of vital statistics on your bike while it is in storage or parked, as well as arrange rides, plan rides, and so forth with your riding buddies. And then the bike itself … the beauty of electric is it’s incredibly accessible to riders and aspiring riders because as you have experienced, with electric it’s twist and go. There’s no shifting. It is just, ‘get on and twist the throttle’...which can be a little intimidating for some people. So the beauty of this bike is, with the programmable ride modes it has seven ride modes. Three of them are programmable. With those programmable ride modes you can tailor that power delivery to your riding ability. So it can take a great, experienced motorcyclist … we can give you full power and full access to what that vehicle can do. And if you are a new to riding rider we can dial that in to suit your riding styles. So electric gives us a lot of opportunity to really bring motorcycling to a new audience.”
[My question] - How can you validate it for existing gas-riding Harley enthusiasts. “How can I validate it?” [My question] - Yeah. How can you justify it to them? How can you sell it to them? “Oh. Well, for an existing motorcyclist this is a thrilling motorcycle experience. It’s a fantastic ride, its acceleration under 3.5 seconds, zero to 60 miles per hour, it’s a stunning motorcycle. And then if you are a true Harley enthusiast, after 115 years of motorcycle development this is the natural best next step for Harley Davison to make. We started with powering bicycles, essentially, and we have evolved to powering a new power generation for motorcycles for the future.” [My question] - I only ask because once, up in Alaska, I made a book called
[My question] - So 100 can’t represent every single Harley rider but those were the die hard, dyed in the wool riders, so … “Sure, well, let me give you a little bit more background on what we have done to ensure that we know what we are delivering. In 2014 we took the Project LiveWire motorcycles on a world tour and let riders, dealers and the media ride them … those motorcycles … and give us their feedback on that riding experience. And we got an overwhelming response that this was a great motorcycle, a great riding experience and a great step for Harley Davidson. To validate that the Harley Davidson LiveWire is a great motorcycle, we have got that in spades. And now we are coming with an even better version of that bike, because the Project LiveWire is only a shadow of what the LiveWire motorcycle is; so it is a fantastic riding experience.”
for that motorcycle experience that we are delivering today. As we look at our electric portfolio into the future, we are doing a lot of work to understand which consumers we are going to be targeting in trying to deliver Harley Davison experiences to, and if you look at our More Roads to Harley Davidson video that is on YouTube or other channels, you will see that we are exploring a number of different form factors: everything from commuter-oriented products to potentially off-road products, to potentially a broader and larger motorcycle. So we are looking at ‘what does that whole spectrum look like?’ and our portfolio of electric motorcycles will serve customers in great ways.” [My question] - Okay. Interesting. I’m just thinking about battery technology. I was asking Heather, and Jen as well, about what is going to happen in future because everybody is saying that internal combustion is going to be finished, that it’s very polluting and climate change and stuff; but what about battery production and also when they become depleted, what will happen to them? Will they be recycled or will they be disposed of? Tesla is trying to address that by putting 80% used batteries in the homes, so that people can power their homes through them I think. So, have you looked into that? “Yes. So, we are working through what that is going to look like in the future. I’m not ready and prepared to talk about that now. But clearly that is something that you have to address with an EV vehicle. Yeah.”
[My question] - Okay, superb. That sounds good. Okay, and forgive me. Also I did ask Heather and I asked Jen as well, about Alta, because they are part of my story. And I have test-ridden one of their motorbikes and I loved it. And even though they went for a very niche sector of motorcycling, off road, they seemed to think that was the best area to go in, but Mission have failed and Alta have; so what do you think about that? Were they ever a threat to you? Or did you want to use their technology? Why did they end? It cost some $60 million to produce 1,000 motorcycles and then they are not sure if they are going to come back or not. They can’t tell me that, even though I saw them very recently. So, forgive me, I feel like I have to ask you that.
[My question] - I suppose electric motorcycles are only as clean as the electricity that is …
“Yeah, you know, I don’t know their current status. And, you know, we did a specific piece of work with them and that work has come to an end. We thought it was a very successful relationship in the work we did, and we are taking our electric development now on to the next phase. And recently we announced an investment in the Silicon Valley area with LiveWire Labs, and we are investing in our own development facility on the West Coast to continue our building of our of electric motorcycling.”
[My question] - Because in the past, I guess, you have worked with oil companies. Have you ever …
[My question] - Okay. Will you be producing any off-road motorcycles in the future, or any other style of electric bike? I mean, how can you justify how it looks? Is that the best form factor for electric in the future? “The LiveWire is clearly a beautiful form factor and it is the best form factor
“Exactly. The grid is now the piece that we all should be focused on, as ‘how does the grid produce the power that is fueling these vehicles?’ Exactly.” [My question] - So, will Harley be looking at the grid in the future … about how … I mean, do you have any influence over that? “No. No, that’s not … that’s not a space we are in at the moment.”
“We have a long history, so I don’t know for sure.” [My reply] - Okay. “But looking forward, this isn’t a space we are in.”
98 pages, 69 photographs & 38 interviews of Electric Motorcycle Manufacturers, Designers, Store Owners, Technicians, Government Personnel an...
Published on Feb 1, 2019
98 pages, 69 photographs & 38 interviews of Electric Motorcycle Manufacturers, Designers, Store Owners, Technicians, Government Personnel an...