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The absurd advent of electric motorcycles: few advantages and a big deception

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The absurd advent of electric motorcycles: few advantages and a big deception
Written by aquitodovale

One of the main and increasingly advertised themes in the automotive world is certainly the advent of electric energy mobility. Since the various companies have developed this technology and introduced the electric alternative to the traditional heat engine in their price lists, more and more hybrid and fully electric vehicles have been circulating on the street. A trend that is establishing itself by translating into possible what was not imaginable just a few years ago. Yet, despite the great results obtained by this new frontier, we can still ask ourselves if it is really worth it to invest in the electric or, rather, if the benefits that the world can derive from this choice, are not by nature. the other side of a coin which we will pay dearly.

The father of modern motoring, Henry Ford, is famous for a phrase (…): “There is real progress when the benefits of a new technology become for everyone”.

In his words, the forefather of the Ford empire summarized a basic concept of that branch of industry devoted to designing mass goods and objects capable of improving the life of mankind. We also know that the car sector, like that of motorcycles, has always fueled the myth of speed, enterprise, heroism and that innate passion for engines that unites a large part of the population. Without this factor, characters like Enzo Ferrari or Tazio Nuvolari, for example, would never have existed.

The “green” turning point of means of transport

The spread of electric cars is a phenomenon due to the awareness policy that governments in agreement with companies and banks, have undertaken with the noble aim of safeguarding the environment from CO2 emissions. A concept that, if applied to the world of work, transport and services in general, can generate benefits, if the energy necessary for mobility is easily available and at low cost. As for motorbikes, the electric solution impacts a dense series of interests other than the mere need to move or move goods.

Thinking about the last century, the motorcycle, as we know it in its first hundred years of existence, was the vehicle that most served the average citizen in his travels, especially when cars were not yet within everyone’s reach and the class worker had to be motorized. After World War II, the motorcycle industry was flourishing and many companies produced motorcycles and mopeds of all types and for every use. A trend that did nothing but increase the already fervent sporting activity that arose with the birth of the motorcycle and never abandoned by enthusiasts all over the world.

With the first economic boom and the overt well-being of Western society starting from the 1960s, motorcycles gradually lost their most practical function, to redevelop themselves as a lifestyle or choice of life and identify in the motorcyclist a specific subject who, within the social status, has rules and feelings for which he spends his time, his money and concentrates his forces in this new hobby, born from a material asset that once had the primary function of serving for transport. Even communication has helped to highlight the tastes of citizens who by now saw in the hardships of the war only the sacrifices of their families who with peace brought progress and the press, such as radio, cinemas and subsequently the first TV, advertise and tell the story of the races of the national and international motorcycling championships. In Europe and around the world, motorcycle racing has always gathered crowds as curious as they are enthusiastic, reflecting this enthusiasm on motorcycle owners or aspiring ones, nurturing a movement made up of motorcycle clubs, federations, dealers, venues and dedicated events.

The motorcycle has therefore become a cultural phenomenon, of costume, which has evolved with fashions, has experienced counter-trends, creating in motorcyclists a sort of dedication that influences their personality and style. Almost totally detached from the function of basic means of transport, priorities also change and it is not taken for granted that functionality or the economic aspect are central concepts of this philosophy. Riding a motorcycle is certainly more uncomfortable than driving a car, the load capacity is more or less limited, the weather factor weighs on the success of the trip such as exposure to air, engine heat and noise. All situations that also require a certain skill in driving.

Disadvantages that appeal to those who love motorcycles because they are precisely the characters that convey that sense of freedom and belonging to a more human and gratifying state than simply moving from one point to another. Once this mechanism is triggered, the bike tends to have no rivals capable of undermining its leadership in the minds of its users and every little discomfort is the proof of a genuine reality that hardly accepts radical changes.

Thermal vs electric

The heat engine it is a very simple concept that takes hold with the production of fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel (or diesel). In the combustion chamber, the compression of the fuel entered generates the explosion that moves the piston, which in turn turns the camshaft and transmits motion to a transmission system which, controlled by a gearbox, turns the wheel. This process, which seems slow when explained, takes place in very short fractions of time, generating a series of vibrations, gyroscopic forces and inertias that are perceived while driving in the form of real sensations. We must not forget the sound that comes from the exhaust systems and which for many may seem only annoying, but which enthusiasts identify with the type of motorcycle and the genre to which it belongs.

Fuel consumption is limited since large-displacement motorcycles are still very small compared to the average of cars. Furthermore, the laws on pollution have regulated the production of motorcycles and cars in the same way, bringing out of the factories vehicles that are constantly updated to the regulations. Despite the natural distinction that has occurred between cars and motorcycles in terms of use, the ecological turning point brought by the electric has dealt with both sectors. But, where in cars it is proposing a valid alternative to emissions (even if the average user is attracted by low consumption), in motorcycles it has no appeal that can satisfy the real motorcyclist.

The electric motor starts thanks to the energy present in storage batteries designed to provide the right power to the whole system. While the traditional engine has a power that develops progressively until it reaches the maximum speed, the electric unit has an immediate peak of power, sometimes higher than the starting point of a petrol engine, but once it reaches its peak, the curve stabilizes on a slight flex without too much margin. The weight of a battery-powered motorcycle is higher than that of classic motorcycles, affects driveability and its range has not yet beaten that of fuel.

With no exhausts, an electric motorcycle does not emit engine sounds, but a buzz that has little to do with the mentality of the motorcyclist. Therefore, you lose all the rituality of warming up the engine well after a cold start, of keeping your motorcycle fueled to improve its performance thanks also to the choice of better products for maintenance. Despite the result of not emitting CO2 immediately, cars and motorcycles still fail regardless of necessary and polluting processes. Tires, for example, cannot be replaced with better alternatives than the safety and reliability that modern tires offer and are derivatives of petroleum which, in order to be manufactured, produce pollution, as well as after use, must be disposed of or recycled independently.

What about the disposal of the batteries?

To stay in the chemical sector, on all vehicles on the road there are shock absorbers, suspensions, hydraulic systems, brakes and mechanisms to lubricate. By eliminating the classic motor oil, the essential fats and oils remain for the correct functioning of all sensitive parts and for which chemical products and petroleum derivatives are consumed in equal proportions. The rest of the materials that make up a vehicle are in any case the result of industrial processes that consume energy, generate emissions and often come from lines that exploit more favorable operating conditions in more permissive geographical areas. Finally, the mass disposal of exhausted or damaged batteries after an accident has not yet occurred. Un problem that has never been explained to users for fear of losing credibility on the benefits of the new environmentalist trend, but which can cause enormous environmental damage by precipitating in an instant what has been achieved in years of using the new ecological means.

Ecological motorsport

Motor sports have always been in line with the innovations of the industry and also in this case, the racing world immediately adapted by proposing championships with electric cars and motorcycles. In both cases, the main two and four wheel disciplines have given rise to world championships. In cars they are achieving good success, despite having had initial problems with reliability, but above all with durability. A race lasts a few laps and in some cases a pit stop is made with the change of vehicle (you leave the car flat and continue with an identical one with 100% batteries). The World Championship has entered the MotoE class within the usual appointments, but is gathering pilots of all types without a criterion of merit to the detriment of the level of competition. Currently, champions from other more important categories take part, mixed with semi-unknown rookies who fail to impose themselves in the national trophies. All to the sound of engagements and cash prizes for those who participate. The bikes are all the same, they are heavy and one heat is covered in about 8 laps depending on the route. The first road tests with electric motorcycles were also held at the Isle of Man TT, for which a category ranking is drawn up, but given the 60 km of the circuit, the race lasts only one lap and there were six participants in the first edition. .

It is evident that we are at the dawn of ecological motor sport, but the interest aroused by these categories is mainly linked to the economic push that is under them and does not take into account the tastes of enthusiasts. Returning to the initial discourse, the “green” turning point of means of transport, which treats motorcycles like a bus or a train, is an operation supported by politics, industry and banks that have every interest in finding new markets to appropriate and control them. In this case, a market that contrasts the oil tycoons and sheikhs. A real economic war that tramples motorcycling as it has always been conceived and loved. There are alternative solutions to preserve the environment such as planting a tree, promoting green areas capable of filtering the carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles. A tree for every ten motorcyclists would already be a sensible answer to pollution.

Traditional bikes won’t die

Paradoxically, as long as motorcyclists exist, it will be difficult for homes to stop producing traditional motorcycles by virtue of electric propulsion units. The risk would be to see an initial collapse in sales which, however temporary, would be enough to undermine the sector and all related industries. An event that like many we hope will take place as late as possible and under another star. Some news circulating in recent times gave precise dates from which only electric motorcycles should circulate, but it is difficult to imagine a motorcyclist who leaves his enduro or his very personal cafe racer for an alternative as distant as it is unable to generate emotions.

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