Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lithium-Ion motorcycles

Technology Review: Lithium-Ion Motorcycles

I've seen a few electric motorcycles and cars in India. But the ones described in this piece seem to be more powerful.

One motorcycle/scooter has a 60 mile range (96 kms) for a single charge which will be quite sufficient for a day's commute in a city like Bangalore. We have Eko and Reva in India. But I don't see the usually price conscious Indians take to these. Only the environmentally conscious people have gone for these.

If these 2-wheelers and 4-wheelers also come cheaper, we can get rid of emissions by a lot. The government should also give subsidies when people buy such vehicles. If a mainstream scooter maker like Honda can market one like this, you can expect more people to use this, cleaning up the air a bit.

However, I don't know what it means to throw-away these batteries once used. What will be the impact of that?

One new thing that I got from this piece is that even SUVs, the worst gas-guzzlers in the USA are 95% cleaner than motorbikes when it comes to emissions. I wonder what that number is with Indian vehicles. With Bharat Stage III and such initiatives, I suppose we can make the claim that 4-wheelers are cleaner than 2-wheelers in India.

The gasoline lobby would be worried at this development (electric vehicles). I don't know how much of a role they play in Indian automotive advancement, but they would be fools if they didn't already play a big role. The government may be too - because of the huge taxes from the petroleum sector.

Will our government be forward-looking enough to give out substantial subsidies for electric vehicles? Let's hope it will be.


Aram said...

"However, I don't know what it means to throw-away these batteries once used. What will be the impact of that?"

Very good question.

In the initial years of gasoline usage, nobody knew their pollution potential.

Similarly, we do not know what might be the hazards of throwing away the highly flammable li-ion batts in a scenario where all the vehicles in a city will be battery driven and not gasoline based.

The city garbage dump, full of these discarded batteries, might become an extremely dangerous place.

Fuel Cell Vehicles appear to be the future if and when that happens in the next decade.

nIlagrIva said...

Fuel cells producing water as a by-product?

What I think is that there is nothing like a free lunch. So, whatever technology we have, there will definitely be some minuses to it. Of course, for anything to be successful, the positives have to outweigh the perceived negatives.

We just have to be cautious. And things will still happen.

Aram said...

Yes, fuel cells producing water.

Wonder if our perennial water problem will also be solved.

Or with proliferation of such cells, like the gasoline vehicles of today, will there be floods because of excessive water production?

You are absolutely right about there being no free lunches anywhere.

Everything comes at a cost and as you said we just have to weigh the cost against the benefits.

But then, going by our past record, we would only highlight the short-term benefits ignoring the long-term costs.

Your posts do rub the dust off my rusting grey cells... Thanks -- aram