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The market challenges facing electric motorcycles



With electric cars becoming increasingly attractive, electric motorcycles could soon witness a surge in popularity, writes Emily Buchanan.

Although it’s been a long time coming, electric car sales are on the up and are finally being embraced by the mainstream market. With reports of an 84% increase in sales between 2012 and 2013, electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are no longer considered niche purchases reserved for the eco-minded. They are efficient, economical and finally available in a range of models – giving consumers the freedom to select their EV based on personal preferences.

However, although electric cars are enjoying their market ascent, electric motorcycles have been a much harder sell. Many motorcycle enthusiasts are passionate folk, and from superbikes to café racers, the community is all about the mechanics of the vehicle. They’re spoilt for powerful models and more often than not, the assumption is that electric motorcycles lack the ability of their fuel-guzzling counterparts.

But that’s not to say that motorcycle manufacturers aren’t giving it their best shot. A three-year research and engineering project by LITO Green Motion has produced a brand new all-electric motorcycle. Known as SORA, this ground-breaking Canadian motor had its market launch in February and according to the president of LITO Green Motion, Jean-Pierre Legris, sales are strong.

We are not targeting a mass market”, he said. “For us, it is really a high-quality vehicle that is 100% conceived and built in Quebec. Instead of pieces of plastic made in China, we have pieces in carbon fibre and aluminum made in Quebec.”

Interestingly, sales in Legris’s native Quebec haven’t been that significant but consumers in France, Germany and Switzerland have been particularly receptive to the boutique model.

With plans to expand his workforce of 10 people to 100 in the next three years, Legris wants to become a major player in electric vehicles, or as he puts it “the Tesla on two wheels”.

Tesla Motors transformed the image of electric cars from eco moon-buggies to high-end, enviable vehicles that would look luxurious on the most moneyed of driveways. After receiving a near-perfect score on consumer reports, the Silicon Valley electric carmaker reported its first ever quarterly profit in May 2013, with stock prices soaring to an all-time high of $97 per share.

Big ambitions for the little Quebec start up, then. SORA needs to perform exceedingly well to match the market acceptance of Telsa’s EVs, and there aren’t alone in their planned trajectory.

Zero Motorcycles “is committed to transforming the motorcycling experience by bringing to market highly innovative electric motorcycles that offer exceptional value and performance”. Crafted in California and founded in 2006, it is now the global market leader for electric motorcycles and according to the company, the advantages of electric are clear.

The question is: how long will it take for consumers to start taking notice?

Emily Buchanan is a digital editor, blogger and writer living in Norwich, UK. As an ardent environmentalist, her specialities include sustainability, conservation and global politics. In the last few years, she’s been published by the Ecologist, UNICEF and Ecoseed. For more, follow Emily on Twitter. This article was written on behalf of Bikesure.

Further reading:

‘Revolutionary’ electric motorcycles announced for 2012

Electric superbike to represent Britain in cleantech trade mission

Campaign seeks to promote sustainable transport in India

Sustainable transport: Exeter to showcase world’s leading green cars

The Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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