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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Suzuki Goes Green with Hydrogen..

The Tokyo Motor Show is awash with EV concepts this year most of which we've covered here.  Suzuki however are taking a different tack for their eco friendly scooter by using a hydrogen fuel cell.

Developed by UK scientists and engineers at Intelligent Energy, the cell has a light weight air cooled tank with the gas under very high pressure at 10,000psi.

All looked interesting until a few figures got mentioned,

Suzuki says the scooter is capable of a potential 220 miles range, at 20mph, what!?  That may be fine for couriers around town, though I've yet to see a courier going that slow, but what's the range going to be when the speed goes up?

Another flaw is that hydrogen re-fuelling stations aren't exactly easy to come by, so with the range of your new fuel cell scooter, all you could do is circle the garage!

Oh well, nice concept though..

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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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Darth Vader’s right hand man – The Lord of Yamaha..

Ah come on!  Who thought of this?  What advertising man will admit to liking Star Wars just a little too much, to the point it colours his every project.

Our first impression was huh!? then BWAH HA HA HA HA HA! 

Say hello to the 'Lord of Yamaha Adventures' who will be staring at you from the Super-Tenere website, designed as a teaser for the company's forth coming big adventure bike and GS challenger.  Launched at the Tokyo Motor Show using a cloth covered stylized mock-up, with very little detail beyond an eight-valve
parallel twin and
shaft drive, we'll have to wait a while before we can make any real opinions on what Yamaha has planned..

Unless of course we use 'The Force'

Check out the site here – http://www.yamaha-motor-europe.com/super-tenere/

Super Tenere front viewSuper Tenere rear view

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