A Hybrid Future?

The UK is slightly behind the USA on episodes of ‘American Chopper’ and last night’s new build was the Schneider Electric Hybrid chopper.  The bike was impressive, as all Orange County Chopper bikes are, and joined a growing number of hybrid motorcycles as either proof of concept vehicles or production demos.

The technical spec on the OOC hybrid gives the rider a number of operation modes ranging from battery only, electric motor driving the rear wheel with the V-Twin powering a generator which in turn powers and recharges the batteries, and standard gas only, albeit a very frugal motor to give a decent range.  It’s an innovative package that a lot of people have over-looked with it being caught up in the show’s family drama. (As a side note Paul Sr is ‘the man’ Jr is an arse!)  Having the battery packs stored in the panniers, leaving regular frame space for an engine was a good idea and the linkages between electric motor, V-Twin, and generators are a marvel.

Along with OCC’s efforts other Hybrids doing the rounds are the Tim Cameron designed CAF-E, which looks awesome.

Apparently similar in design to the Toyota Prius, hopefully not where its brakes are concerned, it’s a parallel V-Twin with an electric super charger for extra power.  Electric power comes from a 180 volt Lithium Ion battery pack and it’s all delivered to the rear via a shaft drive.  One of Tim’s other futuristic designs, the V-REX is now in production so there’s hope for the CAF-E

Details on the V-REX can be found here

The most well-known Hybrid to date is probably Yamaha’s effort, the working model having been showcased at the Tokyo Motorshow in late 2009.

Originally called the Gen-Ryu Yamaha’s HV-X, of all the manufacturers, is the closest to going into production.  Honda have mentioned Hybrids on occasion and have also said they will focus on full electric of late, but Honda has been exhaling a lot of hot air over its bikes this last year.

So is Hybrid the way to go for the future?  ZERO Motorcycles’ electric range are fantastic bikes but fall down on, well, range, but they do have a place in the grand scheme of things as sports and commuting machines.  However when it comes to touring Hybrids offer the opportunity of distance for low running costs.  Easier to apply to motorcycles than cars, given the weight the engine has to shift, it would seem the best option to become technology of tomorrow.

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Yamaha’s HV-X hybrid motorcycle

In what appears to be the the next stage in Yamaha’s Gen-Ryu hybrid concept development, the company has released footage of it’s newly named HV-X in action.

A 15KW electric motor married to a 250cc four stroke single uses both manual and auto shut off of the petrol engine to maximise efficiency.  When at stand still, or when filtering around the town at low speeds, the petrol engine will rest making the bike a purely electric vehicle for up to a reported 12.5 miles, before the engine sparks to life again.

The styling isn’t bad and this could make for a great commuter should Yamaha ever get around to sending it to a production line.

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Yamaha’s Hybrid Production Bike

Way back in 2007 Yamaha showed off the Gen-Ryu hybrid concept bike.  With the current fashion for all things eco Yamaha seems to be moving forward to production level with a bike driven by a powerful electric motor twinned with a 250cc petrol engine.  It would seem the bike will have both range and power, something sorely lacking in most pure electric bikes produced so far.  A picture of the concept is below and we'll update you with more pics and specs as they appear.

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