THE CURTISS REBORN
How about this stunning new Curtiss Motorcycles The 1?! This e-bike hearkens back to 1906 when Glenn Hammond Curtiss built a V8-powered motorcycle that he used to rocket himself to the unofficial speed record of 136.3 mph in 1907. Curtiss is also credited with building the very first American V-twin engine, the type that would become a massive part of American motorcycle culture with Harley-Davidson.
Curtiss also built engines for the aviation industry and was considered a pioneer in that industry, building motors for dirigibles and later other aircraft, under the request of Alexander Graham Bell, who considered Curtiss the greatest motor expert in the country. He even became a pilot and earned his pilot’s license before Wilbur Wright, mostly because the first batch of licenses was handed out in alphabetical order. Curtiss died in 1930.
Back in 1991 Matt Chambers formed Confederate Motors with a goal of making motorcycles using inspired designs. These were hand-built, showroom-worthy pieces with burly designs and even burlier prices, up into the six figures.
Fast-forward to 2016 when Chambers acquired the Curtiss brand name, then steer the company in a completely different direction, all electric. We got to see a prototype a couple of years ago at the Petersen Automotive Museum. It is a crazy-looking machine that incorporates design cues from the original Curtiss bike, with a dash of modern and a cup of truly steampunk influence. Curtiss eventually partnered with Zero Motorcycles to develop the motor and battery for the bike. The final design came from designer JT Nesbitt, who says, “When it comes to both styling and engineering, from the very beginning, I never wanted to make an electric motorcycle. What I wanted was to make the greatest motorcycle that’s ever been made.”
The monocoque frame is machined from billet aluminum and features fully adjustable suspension with modular carbon fiber and aluminum girders featuring a Race Tech Monoshock both front and rear. All this allows the center of gravity to be low for better handling. Footpegs, handlebars, fork rake, trail, wheelbase, ride height and seat height can all be adjusted. The bike has a claimed weight of 425 pounds and develops 87 horsepower and 163 N/m of torque, and can be updated up to 217 horsepower and 369 N/m of torque via cloud updates. The motor and battery are liquid-cooled. Prices start at $83,333.
TAIGA’S NOMAD E-SNOWMOBILE
Canadian powersports maker Taiga now offers three models of fully electric snowmobiles. The Nomad is a utility machine packed with impressive specs, including an 1125-pound towing capacity, up to 126 pounds of payload, 170 N/m of torque, and a massive output of up to 120 horsepower. Range is claimed to be up to 62 miles. The track is driven directly from the motor, featuring what they call a “nearly indestructible toothed belt.” Charging is done via a J1772 plug and can handle level one or level two charging. There’s an optional level three charge setup that offers an 80-percent charge in 30 minutes. It also offers regenerative braking, which is perfect for descending mountains. Their other snowmobile models are the Ekko (mountain) and the Atlas, (crossover), and have similar specs and pricing. Prices start at $17,490 on the low end and goes up to $21,480 with performance motor and suspension options.
6D’S NEW & IMPROVED TRAIL HELMET
Already known for providing what’s widely considered the most advanced safety technology in the world of off-road motorcycling helmets, anticipation for 6D’s new 2T helmet has been brewing for over a while, and for good reason—because the new helmet is quite an improvement over the 1T that preceded it. The new model is much narrower, and they’ve managed to further develop their proprietary ODS technology from where it was. Still not the lightest on the market, but the new model is noticeably more compact and now rivals some of its competitors in the style department.
There’s a really large amount of lithium found in the Salton Sea, a shrinking, landlocked body of water that was fed by the Colorado River over millions of years. The river brought silt that made the area highly fertile farmland. In the 1950s and ’60s, it became a resort destination. In the 1970s, scientists issued warnings that the lake would shrink and become more inhospitable to wildlife. In the 1980s, farm runoff of pesticides and fertilizers poisoned the lake, causing massive die-offs of fish and birds, which relied on the fish for food.
The sea is located on top of the San Andreas fault, meaning the North American tectonic plate and the Pacific tectonic plate are rubbing against each other here, and there is plenty of geothermal energy beneath the surface. In fact, there are 11 geothermal energy plants, 10 owned by Berkshire Hathaway’s renewable energy division, BHE Renewables, and one is owned by EnergySource. These geothermal energy plants produce enough energy to power 350,000 homes, which is seven times the number of homes in Imperial Valley, where the Salton Sea is located.
They use brine to generate steam to then generate energy. The plants pump a combined 50,000 gallons of brine per minute. Up until now, they haven’t been extracting the plentiful lithium from this process, instead returning it back to the ground where it came from. Those two companies, plus Controlled Thermal Resources, are going to spend billions of dollars to begin to harvest the lithium, which promises to be far less water-resource intense and environmentally detrimental. It is, in fact, a very clean way of extraction. It is estimated that the Salton Sea site could produce up to 600,000 tons of lithium per year. Current worldwide production is less than 400,000, so this could provide enough lithium for all U.S. needs and have some left over for export.
Controlled Thermal Resources is constructing their first plant, spending $1 billion to have the plant ready by the beginning of 2024 to provide 20,000 tons of lithium to General Motors. Italian EV battery maker Italvolt is building a $4 billion gigafactory under the name Statevolt. They expect to produce enough lithium-ion batteries for 650,000 electric vehicles per year.
The additional benefit to the area is more cleanup of the Salton Sea, as well as more employment in an area with very high unemployment rates. “This community needs us,” says BHE Renewables CEO Alicia Knapp. “And this is a fantastic place for us to invest and benefit not just ourselves as a company but all of us, as lithium is so essential, and [benefit] these people right here in this community by providing jobs, education, opportunities, and all the economic development that comes with that big of an investment.”
PORSCHE BOUGHT FAZUA: WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED?
Fazua is another German e-bike assist-system brand, but one primarily focused on lighter-weight systems with a little less power than most Class 1 e-bikes. And now, having already been an investor, Porsche recently announced that they have purchased what was left of the Fazua e-bike drive-system company stock. Proving how much momentum that sustainable movement is gaining, Porsche has plans of investing 17 million dollars into the development of new products over the next five years. A large portion of that investment will be dedicated to electric mobility. This is not only exciting news for consumers, but a testament to how useful electric technology is for the world. Most bikes use the Ride 50 Evation system, although Fazua recently released the Ride 60 Evation, which weighs 4.5 pounds with a 5-pound, 430Wh battery. The new motor is set to be released in August.
ELECTRIC BIKE MARKET WILL BE WORTH 80.6 BILLION BY 2027
According to a new market research report published by MarketsandMarkets, “E-Bike Market by Class (Class-I, Class-II, Class-III), Speed (Up to 25km/h, 25-45 km/h), Battery Type (Lithium-ion, Lithium-ion Polymer, Lead Acid), Motor Type, Mode (Pedal Assist, Throttle), Component, Usage, Ownership and Region—Forecast to 2027,” the e-bike market size is projected to reach $80.6 billion by 2027 from an estimated $49.7 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent from 2022 to 2027. The electric bike market is expected to witness growth due to increase in demand for sustainable mobility solutions, rising traffic congestions, increasing fuel prices and growing interest in cycling as a fitness and recreational activity.
The biggest predicted growth is to be the city and urban e-bikes from 2022 to 2027, thanks to rapid urbanization and traffic congestion. Some countries are trying to boost sales of e-bikes through regulation and subsidies to reduce stress on public transportation systems and street congestion, as well as reducing greenhouse gases.
North America is estimated to be the fastest-growing market for that same time period.
Spanish e-moto manufacturer Ox announces their new Patagonia e-motorcycle that rolls on a 17-inch rear wheel with the 6kW hub motor mounted inside. The front is a 19-inch wheel, and both are outfitted with off-road tires. The removable 4.23kWh battery weighs 48.4 pounds, recharges from a regular outlet in five hours, and can be charged on the bike or off. They claim a range of 62 miles and a top speed of 68 mph. Total weight is 160 kilograms, and it’s available in Ocher Barret or Green Parrish. The Ox also offers navigation, GPS location, consumption and driving statistics, technical assistance, and warning in the event of an accident or theft.