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Category Archives: Bike

High-end Electric Motorbike Debuts in Japan

The Development Team for the zecOO Electric Motorbike announced March 5, 2015, that it has released the “zecOO” large-size specialty motorbike.

zecOO was designed and produced by Kota Nezu, who was a designer at Toyota Motor Corp. It was announced as a concept motorbike in November 2011.

The motorbike is manufactured by Autostaff Suehiro, which manufactures and sells custom motorbikes in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. About two units of the motorbike are manufactured in each month, and only 50 units will be manufactured.

 

zecOO is based on an electric unit manufactured by Zero Motorcycles Inc, and Eric Wu, an engineer who once engaged in the development of four-wheel electric vehicles (EVs) at SIM-Drive Corp (a company that develops EVs), customized it.

“Compared with four-wheel EVs, the power density of electric motorbikes needs to be drastically improved, and it was difficult,” he said.

The maximum output and maximum torque of the electric unit’s motor are 50kW and 144N·m, respectively. The maximum speed of the motorbike is 160km/h. Though the output is not particularly high, the maximum torque is equivalent to or higher than that of a motorbike with a displacement larger than 1,000cc.

“It provides a wonderful feeling of acceleration,” Nezu said. “It is totally different from other vehicles.”

In the motorbike’s body, which has a very limited space, there are a high-output power unit and large-capacity battery. The capacity of the lithium-ion (Li-ion)rechargeable battery is 11.4kWh. The drive range, weight and length of the motorbike are 160km, 280kg and 2,450mm, respectively.

In the development of the motorbike, the environmental resistance of the electric system, specifically the securement of insulation, was an issue specific to motorbikes, Wu said. For example, the motor and battery are air-cooled. But it is difficult to balance waterproofing and cooling for driving on rainy days. The voltage of the motor controller is 150V or lower to make it easy to ensure insulation.

Four-wheel EVs appeal to users with their low environmental load. However, in the case of specialty motorbikes, performance is considered to be more important than environmental friendliness. There seem to be people who pay an unlimited amount of money for a driving experience that is totally different from those with conventional gasoline vehicles.

The price of zecOO is ¥8.88 million (approx US$74,453, excluding tax).

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Uzushio Electric Rolls Out Electric 3-Wheeler in Philippines

Uzushio Electric Co Ltd announced that it started volume production of the “68VM” electric three-wheeled vehicle at the end of November 2014 in the Philippines.

BEMAC Electric Transportation Philippines (BEET) Inc, a subsidiary of Uzushio Electric, manufactures the power control unit (PCU) of the 68VM and inspects completed vehicles. And Almazora Motors Corp, a local partner of Uzushio Electric, assembles the vehicle. The production capacity is 500 units per month (6,000 units per year), and it is scheduled to be increased to 1,000 units per month (12,000 units per year) in July 2015.
For the PCU of the 68VM, a battery management system (BMS) that Uzushio Electric developed in a joint research with Ehime Prefecture was employed. Also, for the major devices of the vehicle such as its lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery and inverter, the company employed products made by Japanese manufacturers to improve product quality and reliability.
The 68VM measures 3,300 (L) x 1,440 (W) x 1,820mm (H). It can carry six passengers and one driver. The capacity of the battery is 3-5kWh. The output of the motor is 5kW. When it is driven at a speed of 20km/h (the most fuel-efficient speed, approx 12.4mph), its drive range is 80km. Otherwise, its drive range is 50km. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 50km/h. Its hill-climbing ability is 16°.

In the Philippines, about four million three-wheeled taxis that are made by adding a sidecar to a 125cc gasoline-powered motorbike and called “tricycle” are used. They serve as citizens’ means of transportation, but some old models reportedly cause air pollution and traffic congestion. Therefore, the government of the Philippines has been engaged in many projects to convert tricycles into electric vehicles.

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