Could asphalt-lithium batteries boost electric motorcycles to success?


Along with the ever-present question of battery capacity, electric motorcycles also face the challenge of long recharge times. According to a study that has just come out, a breakthrough in battery design that uses an asphalt byproduct could be the solution to that problem.

The team behind the study (published in ACS Nano; we spotted the write-up in New Atlas) took lithium batteries and added asphalt by-product gilsonite. This achieved multiple goals: it stabilized the battery (making catastophic self-destruction less likely) and enabled the researchers to speed up recharge times considerably. Supposedly, the study saw batteries recharged in five minutes, instead of two hours for a similar battery with more conventional design.

Another benefit: the batteries are supposed to have energy density that exceeds anything on the market right now. Theoretically, that can mean smaller batteries, which would certainly be an asset to any electric motorcycle designer.

For a full write-up on the research, head over to New Atlas. And, pay attention to what you’re reading: this news could be the start of an electric motorcycle revolution, if the technology is able to be brought to electric motorcycles at reasonable cost. The big manufacturers are starting to show off interesting electric motorcycle projects, and once technology meets the needs of the OEMs, we can expect to see a big shake-up in the two-wheeled industry. We’ve already seen the Harley-Davidson bigwigs say the main factor holding back their Livewire project (pictured above) is battery tech. If this research solves those problems, then the future could indeed be electrifying, and not just for the MoCo.


  1. I’m a firm believer in the inevitable. The future is hard to predict , except with respect to the inevitable. I believe that the positive benefits of simplicity, reliability, high and immediate torque makes electric bikes attractive. The fact that there has been a MASSIVE shift of money towards battery tech in the last 10 or 20 years makes it inevitable that electric bikes will be a major segment in the near future. There is simply nothing to stop this from happening.

  2. until they settle on a standardized battery like say flashlights that can be swapped out as needed its a moot point. kind of like saying gas vehicles need bigger fuel tanks to get any where.

  3. Presumably, electric motorcycles are taking advantage of the latest battery technology that electric cars use. If the improvements stated above are true, then we’ll all be driving/riding electric everything. Cars would easilly match or exceed the driving ranges of gasoline and recharging times would be negligible. I like electric: quiet, smooth, minimal maintenance, full power anywhere in the rev range, virtually non-polluting and way more efficient than gas. I’m willing to adjust my view of what a motorcycle should look and sound like for those benefits. Harley engineers can forget about building in a low speed vibration/rumble for me however I understand that they have built in some kind of sound to their Live Wire.

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