Everything’s going electric: Planes, buses and bikes


It’s not just cars that are going electric. Lance Turner takes a look at other transport options that are ditching fossil fuels, including electric bikes.

While electric cars seem to get all of the publicity, there’s a lot more happening regarding the electrification of transport than just cars.

Personal transport—motorbikes and bicycles

On the personal transport side of things, motorbikes are set to become the next big EV thing, and we have already started to see the move to electric two-wheelers here in Australia. Quite a few low-powered commuter type electric scooters have been on the market for a while, but for anyone looking for a replacement for their fume spewing motorbike, there haven’t been many options—until now.

Vehicles such as the Australian-made Catavolt S6 and Zero SR from Zero Motorcycles in the USA have shown that electric motorbikes are now viable replacements for all but long-distance touring bikes. For example, the Zero SR with Power Tank long-range battery has city/ highway/combined ranges of 298/151/201 km respectively, a top speed of 164 km/h and a zero to 100 km/h time of under four seconds. Note that with electric vehicles, city range is often better than highway range due to the lower air friction losses and the opportunity for energy recovery with regen braking. This is the opposite of ICE vehicles, which are very inefficient in stop-start travel and reach much greater efficiency at a fixed speed.

The Catavolt S6 is available online at www. customevperformance.com while the Zero range is available from a number of dealers here in Australia (see www.zeromotorcycles. com/au/locator and www.motoelectro.com.au).

While on the subject of two wheels, electric bicycles have been a popular choice for many years, and there is a wide range available. Indeed, most bike shops have at least some models, but it’s important not to cut corners and buy the cheapest bike you find. There’s a price to pay if you want a robust bike with a reliable battery and motor—buying a cheapie might leave you stuck with a failed battery in only a year or two, meaning an expensive unscheduled replacement. There are numerous good quality e-bikes available, so talk to your local bike shop and see what they recommend. For more information, see the Electric Bike Buyers Guide in ReNew 123.

Read the full article in ReNew 131, including more on buses and planes.