Electric Motorcycle Gangs: You'll Never Hear Them Coming Page 2

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Gathering of electric motorcycle riders [photo via author Ben Rich]

Gathering of electric motorcycle riders [photo via author Ben Rich]

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To charge up, each of these bikers stopped for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to recharge at Level 2 charging stations or RV parks. 

This means that riding 400 miles in a day is possible, but it takes considerably longer than on a gas bike due to charging times. In fact, Terry Hershner recently joined the Iron Butt Association by riding 1,047 miles in 22 hours and 57 minutes.

ALSO SEE: First 'Iron Butt' Award For Electric Motorcycle: Terry Hershner

I've gone on a few rides with friends who ride gas bikes, and it required some extra planning and time.

First I rode to a charging station near the fun roads we planned on riding that day. Then I charged up for about an hour with external chargers on my bike and my friends arrived when I was finished charging.

We rode for an hour and a half around Harriman State Park north of New York City, then finished back at the charging station in a little town nearby. We had lunch together while my bike charged again, and then we rode home. Total mileage together was a little over 100 miles.  

For vacation riders you can go on a tour of the Alps on electric motorcycles with Eidelweiss Bike Travel or ride electric motorcycles around Cape Town, South Africa with Dualsport Adventures. Both companies offer tours with gas bikes, and have options for electric motorcycle tours with Zero Motorcycles. The Eidelweiss tour of the Alps is the same length as most of the tours with gas bikes, riding approximately 100 miles per day.  

The range on electric motorcycles has increased every year, such that a full battery will get you about as far as a tank of gas on many bikes.

However, the recharge time is still the bottleneck. As soon as sites with CHAdeMO or CCS DC fast charging can be used with electric motorcycles, it will be possible for many more people to take longer electric road trips.  

Gathering of electric motorcycle riders [photo via author Ben Rich]

Gathering of electric motorcycle riders [photo via author Ben Rich]

Enlarge Photo

The future

For electric motorcycles to have the ability to go on long road trips with gas bikes--400 or more miles per day--there are several potential futures.  

Battery technology could advance to the point where we have 10 times the energy density that we currently have. That would provide a 1,000 mile battery, making it unnecessary to charge during the day.

Faster charging would allow batteries to be charged as fast as gas bikes are filled up. For example, if a 15-kWh battery on a 2015 Zero S could use a Tesla Supercharger at 135kW to charge, it would take only about 7 minutes.  

Multiple chargers, like those fitted to Terry Hershner's bike, would allow the rider to plug two (or more) Level 2 chargers into their bike at the same time. Combined with higher battery capacity, this is a reasonable solution for the near future while we await any technological breakthroughs. 

In the end, electric motorcycles are amazing to ride: Just ask anyone who has gone for a test ride. 

But if you want to take a road trip, you will need to put a few extra dollars into your own faster charging system to take along for the ride--and bring a good book to read too.

And, by the way, if you see a "gang" of electric bikers ... you may find them among the kindest and most considerate group of people you will meet. 


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