Nothing Green About Electric Motorcycles

I've been seeing more and more press on electric motorcycles in recent months, all being touted as being "green". I just don&...

I've been seeing more and more press on electric motorcycles in recent months, all being touted as being "green". I just don't see anything green about them.

I just saw two items today, one was a press release on the Enertia Bike, and other was a blog post about a Japanese-built "EV-X7" from Axle Group.

I have nothing against electric motorcycles, and welcome the technology. But in order to charge the batteries on these things, you have to plug them into the power grid. And the power-grid is still supplied by electricity created from the burning of coal and diesel.

So whether smog comes out of a tail pipe, or from a power plant, the burning of organic matter doesn't stop. It might be a different story if we could build more nuclear power plants.

Pictured above is the "Enertia Bike", built by an Oregon-based company called Brammo. It'll cost you between $12,000 to $15,000, depending on how long you want to wait for delivery. But it tops out at above 50mph, and goes no farther than 40 miles. It takes 3 hours to charge up.

With that small range, and that length of time to recharge, what is the net smog-savings from electricity consumption versus riding a 250cc commuter bike? If you wanted a really "green" two-wheeled commuter vehicle, how about Honda Metropolitan scooter? It'll take you farther, and it's smog footprint is extremely nominal compared to three hours of battery charging. And it costs only $1,900.

Or look at this way, how much smog was put into the air for you to do enough work to earn $15,000 versus $1,900? That Enertia Bike is not that green is it?

Granted, the progress of technology takes small baby steps, and we need to build an Enertia Bike before we can get to something practical and sensible, but so far, the only thing "green" about electric motorcycles is the money they're burning.

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  1. The electricity comes from power plants that are much more efficient than a 250cc gasoline engine and 20% of it comes from nuclear.

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  2. We need to hatch out of the chicken or the egg issue here and applaud any advance on either side of the issue. I look forward to the advancement of solar production in the US to bring cheaper more efficient solar cells to my home and office to charge this thing up, but if you're an electric vehicle experimenter there is no point to waiting for the infrastructure to be perfect -- it never will be 100% perfect.
    You're just bitter that the electric bike is so quiet :^)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yep I agree. Same argument can be made for the whole hydrogen thing. i.e. how are you going to make all of the hydrogen required. However, the U.S. has the most coal in the world and has something like 150 years of reserves. So eventually the price of oil will become so high that folks may say screw the air I want my car.

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  4. Yep, you're right, electric vehicles aren't as "green" as a lot of people think. It does make a big difference on how green a vehicle is by the source of the energy to charge the batteries. A battery charged through solar or wind power = very green. If charged from a hydro electric source = pretty green. If charged through a coal fired plant = just like you said, not so green at all.

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