Electric bikes are the future of commuting. They are powered by one or two electric motors and do not consume any petroleum based fuels, making it the best choice for a clean and green environment.
In 1986, bicycle manufacturer Humber exhibited an electric tandem bicycle at the Stanley Cycle Show in 1896 in London, England. It was powered by a bank of storage batteries, and the motor was placed in front of the rear wheel. After that a series of bikes were made that had a good range. The first mass-produced electric scooter, Peugeot Scoot'Elec, was released in 1996.. It was powered by Nickel-Cadmium batteries and had a range of 40 km.
Currently there are many electric motorcycle manufacturers such as Čezeta, Victory Motorcycles, Monday Motorbikes, Mahindra, Zero Motorcycles, Lightning Motorcycle, Energica Motor Company, Johammer, Evoke Motorcycles, Quantya, Electric Motorsport, Hollywood Electrics, Yo, Lito, Okawa, Tork Motorcycles, Romai, Gogoro, Inokim, Hero Electric, Rondine Motor, Current Motor Company and Alta Motors. Most of the leading manufacturers are also foraying into electric bikes due to the government's green policy. Asia-Pacific stands as the largest electric scooter and motorcycle market with China at the fore-front. But electric vehicles are also getting popular in markets of Europe and the Americas.
Most of the country’s energy demands are met by production of coal and import of crude oil. However, these energy sources pose a serious threat to the environment. Highly populated cities are already suffering from the rising levels of pollution due to excessive burning of coal and petroleum in the vehicles. Countries have started getting more aware in promoting renewable energy sources and tackling global climate change. This has compelled the government to take initiatives to encourage adoption of renewable and sustainable energy sources. Currently, our country is sharing a very ambitious goal of increasing access to clean energy sources which also incorporates government’s plans to promote electric vehicles as a mode of transport which are pollution free.
The Indian Government is playing a vital role in promoting the adoption of electric vehicles by offering various incentives, such as capital and interest subsidies, viability gap funding, fiscal incentives etc.
How do electric vehicles work?
An electric motorcycle works in the same way as a gas-powered motorcycle works: it is propelled by an engine, and that engine requires fuel. The main difference is that the gas fuel in a conventional motorcycle is replaced by either batteries or fuel cells in an electric version.
What are the main components in an electric motorcycle?
An electric motorcycle powered by batteries and use much of the space needed by a gas engine to house those batteries. The engine will be a bit smaller. A chain and sprocket connects the motor directly to the rear wheel.
Depending on the type of battery used, battery life in an electric motorcycle ranges between 1.5 to 10 years. Different types of batteries are:
Li (Lithium) Ion
Nickel Metal Hydride
Litihum Ion Phosphate
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One perceived disadvantage of electric motorcycles is the range between charges. Most of the electric motorcycles now available can travel a range of 40 to 100 miles between charges. Most gas-powered motorcycles will exceed that, though it depends on the size of the gas tank.
Recharging the battery is another concern with electric power, considering that the recharge time will be a minimum of 2 to 3 hours. Compare that to the 10 minutes or less to needed fill a gas tank, and this might be a valid concern.
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What are the merits of electric motorcycles?
Cleaner - Electric engines are considered cleaner than gas engines for 2 main reasons: there is no oil and no exhaust fumes. Oil used to lubricate a gas engine, is virtually unnecessary with an electric motor. With no exhaust fumes, electric vehicles can be ridden indoors, and this alone may change the future of competitive events.
Quieter - No loud revving sounds are heard from an electric motorcycle, which may be a good thing as it relates to decibel levels. But there is a hitch too- that loud engine noise alerts other vehicles to a motorcycle’s presence on the road, and this may result in more risk.
Easier, Cheaper Maintenance - While upfront costs compete and sometimes exceed pricing for gas-powered models, electric motorcycles have fewer maintenance activities and lower related costs.
Longer Extension Cords - A potential electric motorcycle owner must definitely consider the recharging protocol. An owner with a garage will have no problem, but if you live in an apartment on an upper floor, the power outlets may be hard to reach.
The government’s green subsidy on electric vehicles- electric cars and scooters both, is one major step towards curbing the rising levels of pollution. Electric two-wheelers can certainly improve local air quality and greenhouse gas emissions (Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, Methane etc) as compared to gasoline two-wheelers. They can also minimize noise pollution to the extent that they can compete in the market against gasoline two-wheelers. There are some fundamental performance issues that put them at a disadvantage, including speed, range, and recharging time. Their operating costs can be significantly lower, that can counteract some of the performance issues. With focus on advancement in technology, electric vehicles will soon be an attractive mode of transport.