Michael Uhlarik

  • TK4

    Great discussion.

    Zealotry aside….

    No one is dismissing anything, but your response about power generation is a deflection from the thrust of your own, original line of questioning. Electric vehicle technology like the batteries are just energy storage devices, just as liquid gasoline or diesel are. Where that energy comes from…[Read more]

  • “I come back then to initial cost and recharge time – when you can build one to sell for $20K and recharge (or exchange batteries) in 2 minutes, you’ll be there,”

    I appreciate your metrics, because they are completely reasonable. Fortunately, $20,000 today buys you a Zero SR, which can do 150 miles of riding at said reasonable road speeds. It…[Read more]

  • TK4

    One lap (37 miles – 60km- actually) at an AVERAGE speed of 120 mph is one hell of a commuter. Those machines would be able to ride over 150 miles at regular road speeds that average 60 mph. They are so efficient that they are using only about 450 WH/mile even when hauling up the mountain at 150 mph, at least three times less energy than…[Read more]

  • We (the industry devoted to electrification) does not need to talk, it has action and scientific facts on its side.

    Range has increased by 10% a year since 2008, effectively doubling while cost has gone down a staggering 75% in the same period.

    Charging stations now number more than 25,000 in the US alone, and you can safely cross the…[Read more]

  • Actually 9 teams finished out of a total of more than 15 entrants that showed up for qualifying. You can laugh if you like, but these people had to *design and build* their own motorcycles, as well as race them. Not really the same as buying a used, race prepped R6 from Ebay.

    http://bit.ly/1PIM3xA

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    Polaris Industries has announced that they are going to participate in the TT Zero race at this year’s Isle of Man TT.  In what was becoming the worst kept secret in the tiny world of electric motorcycle racing, […]

    • “the inaugural TT all electric race at the Isle of Man, where they finished a very respectable third” … out of three, if I recall correctly …

    • Actually 9 teams finished out of a total of more than 15 entrants that showed up for qualifying. You can laugh if you like, but these people had to *design and build* their own motorcycles, as well as race them. Not really the same as buying a used, race prepped R6 from Ebay.

      http://bit.ly/1PIM3xA

    • No laughing about the effort and cost involved, but I still think the whole thing is ridiculous until there’s a quantum leap in battery life and recharging times.

      As for the numbers, I won’t call you wrong until I have time to look it up, but I do find them hard to believe; I was there in 2010 and I only recall three bikes going by where I was watching.

      Mind you, I WAS in a pub … 😉

    • We (the industry devoted to electrification) does not need to talk, it has action and scientific facts on its side.

      Range has increased by 10% a year since 2008, effectively doubling while cost has gone down a staggering 75% in the same period.

      Charging stations now number more than 25,000 in the US alone, and you can safely cross the Trans Canada Highway from coast to coast and never be more than 100km from one.

      Charging times have been reduced by 300% in 5 years.

      Lithium and Aluminum, the two principal ingredients in modern electric vehicle batteries are among the most recyclable materials in modern industry, with little degradation and much lower extraction costs than petroleum products.

      And finally, the entire world of consumer products (including the device you are now using to read CMG) is powered by lithium battery technology. Do you really want to bet against the largest, richest, fastest growing and most strategic technology in the world?

      This year, electric motorcycles will be faster than supersport class at the TT. In four years, they will be capable of two laps. Already today a top shelf electric racing cars and bikes can crush gasoline powered equivalents on regular circuit races over short distances, and all this took was six years?

      Sit back and watch. Pistons in surface transport are about to be relegated to history, just like pistons in aerospace were.

    • TK4

      One lap (37 miles – 60km- actually) at an AVERAGE speed of 120 mph is one hell of a commuter. Those machines would be able to ride over 150 miles at regular road speeds that average 60 mph. They are so efficient that they are using only about 450 WH/mile even when hauling up the mountain at 150 mph, at least three times less energy than a 600cc doing the same thing.

      That is more than an amazing commuter, but actually better range than many 1000cc sport models get at similar speeds.

    • “I come back then to initial cost and recharge time – when you can build one to sell for $20K and recharge (or exchange batteries) in 2 minutes, you’ll be there,”

      I appreciate your metrics, because they are completely reasonable. Fortunately, $20,000 today buys you a Zero SR, which can do 150 miles of riding at said reasonable road speeds. It charges in 30 minutes from a public DC electric car charger. Its not 2 minutes, I’ll grant you. But after riding for 150 miles, taking a half hour to relax, grab a coffee and pee is hardly going to ruin your outing.

      “Oh, and by the way, where does the electricity to charge them currently come from, places like Ontario Hydro ? That’s reassuring…”

      That argument again? Are conventional oil extraction reassuring? At least electricity generation has several sustainable possibilities. I am a proponent of smart engineering, not some environmental purist. My ambition is better vehicles that do exactly what we want them to do, better, and waste less energy.

      When you go pump gas into your car next time, remember that 75% of the energy in that gas is being lost to friction. Three-quarters of the money you pay to drive is being tossed into the atmosphere. Never mind the environment, we are trying to save your wallet.

    • TK4

      Great discussion.

      Zealotry aside….

      No one is dismissing anything, but your response about power generation is a deflection from the thrust of your own, original line of questioning. Electric vehicle technology like the batteries are just energy storage devices, just as liquid gasoline or diesel are. Where that energy comes from is a separate issue.

      From a vehicle design standpoint, internal combustion of gasoline is terrific being compact and reliable, until you are forced to squeeze out ever more efficiency from its energy storage device (liquid gasoline). Every government in the world is demanding significant increases in fuel economy, lower particulate emissions, and lower cradle-to-grave costs. With combustion we are at the end of the line.

      Its not a question of choice, it is empirical fact. That is why every car maker is diversifying into micro hybrids, series and parallel hybrids, and full EVs. The laws of physics will not allow much more than maybe a 2-3% improvement on combustion efficiency. Getting fleet-wide consumption to the mandated 54 mpg by 2020 requires electrification. Best case *theoretical* scenario with combustion is 37% efficiency. Electric motors hit 92-95% efficiency right now.

      Engineers and designers are just looking for technical solutions that give you the product you want, but that is legal. Its just that simple.

      In a giant, stationary power station that burns diesel, you don’t need to worry about weight or as much about cost, so you can make it really thick and recover much of the heat lost in combustion and get more energy out or it. In a car or motorcycle engine, weight, high performance demands and cost limitations mean big radiators, and enormous amounts of heat generated that is just thrown away. That heat represents close to 75% of the energy stored in the gas tank. The waste didn’t matter before, but society has decided that now it does.

      So power generation aside, not because it is an easy thing to solve or to dismiss, the industry is actually all aboard the EV train. The present, not just the future, of surface transport is electric. Be it from batteries, hydrogen fuel cell stacks or generated by a small gasoline generator (like a Chevrolet Volt or BMW i8). Today electric-powered cars in all forms account for 1% of new car sales globally, but they didn’t exist 8 years ago.

      I love a V-8 motor and my big parallel twin motorcycle. This is not a zero sum game. We can all play with our own toys until the end of fossil fuels and thanks to clever people that transition is happening right now with no loss in performance and flat costs.

      Happy, safe motorcycling.

  • Relic

    It was going to work the same way FIAT, manufacturer of cheap mass transportation and commercial vans for Europe and South America, owns and operates Ferrari, maker of unobtainable exotica.

    FIAT bought Ferrari in the late 60’s and has squeezed a lot of profit from it, whilst Ferrari occasionally pillages the FIAT cupboard for basic…[Read more]

  • The challenge for any business in the initial explosive growth stage is to make the transition from plucky startup into a structured organization. Erik is wildly successful at the former, but clearly Hero, as a major stakeholder and with board seats, needed to demand a more qualified CEO or at least COO.

    Good luck with the EMBA dissertation, Joel.

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    I like Erik Buell, the man. Many years ago I had the opportunity to talk to him at the Intermot motorcycle show in Germany, when Buell Motorcycles was still a part of Harley-Davidson. He was warm, genuine, and […]

    • The challenge for any business in the initial explosive growth stage is to make the transition from plucky startup into a structured organization. Erik is wildly successful at the former, but clearly Hero, as a major stakeholder and with board seats, needed to demand a more qualified CEO or at least COO.

      Good luck with the EMBA dissertation, Joel.

    • Relic

      It was going to work the same way FIAT, manufacturer of cheap mass transportation and commercial vans for Europe and South America, owns and operates Ferrari, maker of unobtainable exotica.

      FIAT bought Ferrari in the late 60’s and has squeezed a lot of profit from it, whilst Ferrari occasionally pillages the FIAT cupboard for basic R&D and carry over bits (all the switches and interior vents from Magnum P’I’s famous Ferrari 308 GTS come straight from the FIAT Ritmo, which was quite possibly the worst car ever made in Italy, which is saying a lot).

  • Ducatisti always pronounced Laverda as LaMerda (the Sh!t), but that may have been sour grapes after Laverda thrashed them in Montjuic.

  • When you need obnoxious amounts of instant torque, nothing comes close to electric motors.  Those giant CN railroad locomotives you see hauling a billion kilograms up the Rockies may have diesel generators, but […]

  • Um, no. Fogarty was fork tongued about other riders, but not sponsors. In fact he was quite the sycophant, always saying how brilliant the Ducati/Pertronas/MV were, until he was out. He was no gentleman, but he definitely knew which side his bread was buttered on… which is why he stayed on the Ducati payroll for years after he quit racing.

  • Racing is a passion for ALL of the teams, including the folks at the big Japanese factories. Do you suppose that the suits inside the boardrooms of Iwata and Hamamatsu don’t get excited when they talk about racing? I’ve worked for many of those people and they got into the motorcycle industry for the same reasons that Europeans at Ducati…[Read more]

  • There’s nothing I want more than a $28k motorcycle with some CEO’s graffiti scribbled on the front fender in glitter pen.

  • EBR needed a motorcycle based on something from this century, which is more than just a 10% advantage.

  • Another very close race this season started off the proceedings at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain.   Kawasaki Racing Team’s Johnathen Rea took victory in Race 1 this morning, after a terrific last lap […]

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    Somehow in the past few years the threat of a zombie apocalypse seems to have become a thing again.  Where once the undead were relic of 70’s late night TV, high profile hits like The Walking Dead and Brad Pitt’s […]

  • It was indeed a great day for Italian marques. Ferraristi are already whispering the words “renascimento”, while in Ingolstadt (home of Ducati parent Audi) large men in Hugo Boss suits are smiling.

    Crutchlow is a gifted man without any long term plan at all. Pity.

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    Welcome to Grandstand, your source for live road racing news, covering MotoGP, World Superbike, […]

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