A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

Are Graphene Supercapacitors the Big Break for Electrics?

02/25/2013 @ 10:58 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Are Graphene Supercapacitors the Big Break for Electrics? graphene lattice 635x508

Many of the electric vehicle blogs that I follow are all buzzing right now over the idea of supercapacitors — well, more accurately, graphene-based supercapacitors, which could potentially solve a few of the issues that EV’s currently face with market adoption.

What’s the big deal? Well with batteries, one can store a great deal of energy in the cells, but the rate of discharge (and the rate of charging) is relatively limited. Capacitors on the other hand have the inverse problem, quick to charge and discharge, the amount of energy that they can hold however, is relatively small.

In theory, supercapacitors have the best qualities of both batteries and capacitors, featuring both high-energy capacities and quick discharge/recharge rates, and in this realm graphene is showing to have very promising results.

Basically a molecule-thin sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a lattice, until recently producing graphene has been a very laborious undertaking, and one that did not scale well for mass production. However, some clever scientists at UCLA have come up with a relatively cheap and easy way to produce graphene sheets, and the technology bodes well for making supercapacitors a more practical solution for electric vehicles.

Allowing vehicles to rapidly charge (as in within a few minutes, instead of hours), supercapacitors solve the great recharge-time issue with EV’s, and would potentially be on par with gasoline vehicles, if not quicker in this regard.

The down side is that graphene supercapacitors are currently about half as energy-dense as the current crop of lithium-ion batteries, which makes them physically cumbersome in applications like on a motorcycle.

That doesn’t mean that the technology is a no-go for automotive use though, as in Formula One and Le Mans, we already see teams using a hybrid supercapacitors/battery strategy, thus creating so-called “superbattery” systems.

Here, energy-dense lithium-ion batteries help feed the power-dense supercapacitors, which then discharge into an electric motor for when extra power is needed by the driver. The process in reverse occurs during breaking, with the kinetic braking force is used to recharge the supercapacitors for their next use.

Already capable of providing the power density required in four-wheel and two-wheel applications, supercapacitors still need to develop a great deal further on the energy-density side of the equation before being a practical replacement for lithium-ion batteries, which themselves are considerably less energy-dense than gasoline.

Cost is another considerable factor, though as the technology develops further both the cost and energy density figures will become more acceptable — interesting stuff.

Source: esbk.co


  1. Kelso says:

    great article, really interesting stuff…

    what other good electric vehicle blogs do you follow besides esbk.co?

  2. Cpt.Slow says:

    Yes and this is the future

  3. Heatsoak says:

    Ceramic-based superconductors will be the death knell of the ICE. Once the energy density vs cost issue gets sorted out (which will take no more than 1-2 decades IMO), we will have long range electrics that can “refuel” in under fives minutes.

    Can’t wait…

  4. Westward says:

    1-2 decades ?

    This article is evidence that the technology is just around the bend… I have seen solar roofs on the Fiskar Karma and the Toyota Prius. Can you imagine he possibilities…

    I’m sure Tesla is eying this progress. Their Model S is just short of amazing.

  5. Shawn says:

    ” Heatsoak says:

    Ceramic-based superconductors will be the death knell of the ICE.”

    Superconductors and supercapacitors are two completely different technologies.

  6. Heatsoak says:

    A valid point, and one that i should’ve caught before pressing Submit Comment. Yes, superconductor =/= supercapacitor.

    @Westward: Elon Musk has spoken about the possibilities of supercapcitors several times. If he’s on board, you can bet it will get done one way or another. But there are several magnitudes are energy density that need to be achieved first, not to mention some serious safety concerns. And so far, companies like EEstor have proven to building vaporware only.

    This technology is coming soon. But not tomorrow.

  7. jzj says:

    I also avidly follow the newest research reports, and agree that graphene offers high hopes in a number of areas: it is the lightest strongest construction material and therefore will be the basis for chassis and skin components; it has superconductor properties and therefore may be the basis of superconductors (or, perhaps ceramics will be, as noted above); and it has a tremendous potential for capturing and releasing electrons and therefore will be the basis of superdupercapacitors (and it may also be a basis for ideal photovoltaic cells, and it’s nearly invisible and so these cells can be laid across glass). However, all that being said, these actual manufactured components are likely still 10-20 years off. Indeed, there isn’t even agreement on the basic process form for graphene. So let’s also still recognize that there is plenty of opportunity for lots of nextgen stuff before we get to graphene, which may then prove itself to be the final-gen stuff. (For my speculation on this very subject, I have a recent article addressing near and mid future tech for electric (and conventional) vehicles: http://jungreislaw.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-future-of-electric-vehicles.html.)

  8. Jeram says:

    Combine graphene super-capacitors with some form of laser based 3D printing and you then we can start to see endless possibilities for packaging these less energy dense power sources.

  9. smiler says:

    The idea that UCLA are the only organisation that have found ways to produce cheap graphene is misleading, although a great US blog.

  10. Grant Madden says:

    So in the future,and probably not too distant future your body work will be your solar cell and power source with only a small super conductor motor powering the vehicle.All made of carbon atoms,stronger and lighter and more powerfull than anything available at this present time.It will be self charging using solar energy so it will be essentially free to run.The Government will hate it and find some way to tax sunlight.So start storing sunlight in small jars for that day,No?but the new vehicles will be restricted in power output by law and have built in speed limiters No?What you win on the swings you lose on the round abouts,so stay off the round about Ha ha ha

  11. My go-to guy for technical expertise in this area is Lennon Rogers, who ran MIT’s motorcycle EV project. When I saw this film a couple of weeks ago, I asked him if this was really a game changer, and he told me that he didn’t think this technology offered an immediate increase in energy density. Current Li-ion batteries can dump more than enough power into motors, although (subject to the provision of charging infrastructure) it *would* be better if they could be charged faster — that’s the promise of these supercapacitors. What we need, though, is a doubling or more of energy density before EVs will really get much market traction. Is this an inspiring little film? Yes. Is this going to change EV acceptance in the marketplace any time soon? Nope. Next!

  12. steve_a says:

    The answer is no. Power is not an issue with current lithium-ion batteries, or at least not generally; limited energy is. Even graphene-based supercapacitors are far worse than lithium-ion cells on an energy-density basis, and are likely to fall further behind. Lithium-ion battery charging can generally be faster than the electric infrastructure can provide, and for power optimized cells, you could conceivably recharge in 15 minutes if everything were designed for it and if you had the charging infrastructure.

    Much more interesting is the work on silicon anodes in a graphene matrix for lithium-ion batteries; we may see cells with energy densities doubling those in the current batteries used in Zeros and Brammos in 2-3 years. That’s not a game changer, but it opens more possibilities for truly usable electric vehicles.

  13. dude with a good idea! says:

    OOH OOH! Did you see how flexible that stuff is as he pealed it off the disk? What if you could make sheets of the stuff and make structural elements/body panels out of it just like carbon/glass fiber? Forget about size constraints. The car/bike won’t be carrying a large bank of supercapacitors; the car/bike will BE the supercapacitor!

    Clearly there is a lot to still work out, and my idea would have its own problems (and might not work at all), but this is seriously exciting!

  14. balakrishna says:

    energy density is not a big issue if i can recharge in less than a minute. i dont mind stopping for a minute every 100 mile or so..think its the future