Feb 5, 2012

All the News that Didn't Fit

World Wide
On the world motorcycling front, the recession continues to hammer on manufacturer's profit margins. In the first 9 months of 2011, European two-wheeled sales registrations fell 9.03%, adding up to 122,095 fewer units on the road. The big hits were in Italy (-15.6%), Spain (-15.1%), the Netherlands (-13%), and Greece(-16.6%). EU market strongholds, Germany (-1.57%) and France (-3.58%) were the closest thing to bright spots in the EU's two-wheeled economic report. Summer sales were disappointing and even mopeds experienced 10% sales declines. This puts European sales more than 25% below 2008 levels.
French travelers will have a new transportation option waiting for them in the Paris French National Railway (SNCF) station at Montparnasse; e-scooters. In partnership with Peugeot Scooters, the SNCF has established a pilot program that combines train travel and two-wheeled mobility. The experiment is scheduled to expand into the Gare Monparnasse station.
Suzuki's Burgman Fuel-Cell Scooter is the world’s first fuel-cell vehicle to earn EU Type Approval. The air-cooled fuel cell and compact, frame-mounted hydrogen tank powers an electric motor with water as the only emissions.
An upside to the economic downturn is that EU motorcycle deaths dropped 11% in 2010 from 2001 statistics. Cycle deaths dropped as much as 33% in Luxembourg to as little as 1% in Portugal and Finland, but all EU nations had some level of fatality reduction.
E-Bikes made a big splash at this year's EICMA show. There were 40+ electric motorcycle and scooter companies, many are the infamous "made in China" disposa-bike variety, but some serious players are in the game, too.  For example, German manufacturer, E-Max, makes utility electric scooters that are being used by the Spanish postal system had several vehicles on display.
MythBusting Motorcycles
In September, the Discovery Channel series “MythBusters” ran the social responsibility of motorcycles against cars, fender-to-bumper, and motorcycles lost. With scientists from UC Riverside's Center for Environmental Research and Technology and Global MRV – Clean Air Technologies Division, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman tested production cars and motorcycles from three decades.

On pollutant emission measures (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitric oxides), motorcycles consistently came up short (or long, depending on how you feel about higher pollutants). On the plus side, they did find that motorcycles can be more fuel efficient and may produce slightly less carbon dioxide than cars, but even with a custom aerodynamic bubble cars outperformed motorcycles in limiting carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitric oxide emissions. Adam and Jamie are motorcyclists, so the data went against their personal biases.

Great, one more losing argument with my wife.
Wrightspeed Geared Traction Drive
Wrightspeed announced its Geared Traction Drive (GTD) integrated inverter, electric motor, and two-speed transmission. "The two-speed Wrightspeed GTD shifts electronically, using software-controlled motor synchronization instead of clutches, and provides a maximum output torque (per wheel) of 1,893 ft-lbs in first gear, and 810 ft-lbs in second gear (180mph max)." Currently, the GTD system is intended for medium duty truck retrofit applications, but it could spell dramatic improvements in all electric vehicles.

1 comment:

Chris said...

So by riding year round I am contributing to global warming more than driving a car? This means MN will get warmer, so I can ride two wheels all year without fear of ice and snow? hmm...