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Author Topic: guity's gpr-s experience  (Read 27031 times)

guity

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guity's gpr-s experience
« on: July 31, 2009, 06:46:58 AM »

This is to document my experiences with buying a gpr-s in case it might be informative for anyone thinking about doing the same.  I just sent the check for the machine today, and hope to write short descriptions of the process of purchasing, receiving, and owning the bike.

Electric Motorsport currently has a fairly small shop in Oakland not too far from the Bay Bridge.  I was told they are moving to a larger shop soon and hiring more employees to increase manufacturing capability.  Currently their primary sales person is Todd Anderson.  Todd seems very patient, not at all pushy.  He either gives you an answer to your question, or if he can't, he quickly gets the answer from someone who does know.  The only negative I have seen so far is that Todd doesn't have a lot of spare time on his hands, so if you are going to contact him about something, you will have better luck if it is a pressing matter.

For test-riding, Todd had me ride 2 bikes, and also he rode alongside on a third bike which I couldn't ride because it was actually destined for a particular owner.  This third bike was interesting because it was a special configuration of a 72 volt system with an induction motor and enough (Thundersky I believe) batteries so the bike could go 80 or more mph.  The bike was selling for $13,000 (pre-tax) as opposed to their current stock gpr-s, which is selling at $8,500.  When it got up to speed, it left the other bikes way behind.

The first bike I rode had already been sold  to a guy who had changed his lifestyle to the point where he didn't want the bike any more by the time it was manufactured. He was now wanting to re-sell it without having ridden it.  It was a 60-volt system with an ac induction motor and re-gen braking.  Didn't like it at first because it seemed a bit sluggish from a standing start and top speed appeared to be 52 mph.  But the bike only had 14 kilometers or miles (don't know which) on it when I first got on.  Martin, one of EM's primary engineers, said there is a breaking-in period with engines with brushes so the top speed should increase as it gains more miles during the breaking in period (I think he estimated the break-in period to be around 50 miles).  As Martin stated, by the time I finished riding the bike it had 28 k/m on it, and one last maxxing out of the speed on a long flat straghtaway went up to 56 mph.  During the course of the ride the voltage meter, which started out at 67, dropped to around 62.  (A level of 58 was said to be the point where it would be a bad idea to drive it further).  Picasso happened to be on the scene, and asked me what how much the voltage was sagging when all the juice was used.  I actually watched one the next ride and told him the answer, but I can't trust my memory on what the exact numbers were.  Picasso didn't look too surprised at the numbers I reported, but for all I know, he might have been hiding his shock and dismay.

Todd wanted me to try a stock 72 volt bike, but there was none available (a lot of bikes were being shipped back from Ohio, where EM had been successfully participating in a big motorcycle race/event).  Martin actually volunteered his bike which is apparently stock, which he uses to commute to work every day.  It had been programmed to have a quick response to the throttle, which I liked.  It was significantly faster from a standing start, and easily reached more than 62 mph in the short straightaway I maxxed it on.  The bike was pretty much what I needed, my only complaint being that I will miss the tall forgiving suspension of my dual sport xl350r and the similarly soft suspension of the Zero bikes I have tried.  

Todd suggested the stock bike could be enhanced a bit (especially range-wise) by replacing the stock 40ah batteries with 60ah batteries (adding around $750 to the stock $8,500 cost).  So this is the configuration we came to agree would best meet my needs riding and cost-wise.

The next day (also, the day this is being written), I called Todd and we confirmed a deal for this configuration, which Todd said would be assembled between 3-5 weeks.  I have just now sent EM a check for most of the cost of the bike, and when the check clears Todd will be sending me pdf files of information on correct handling/usage of the bike...

« Last Edit: July 31, 2009, 06:51:33 AM by guity »
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skadamo

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2009, 08:38:10 PM »

Congrats guity, that is awesome! I talked to Todd and saw the GPR-S bikes in Ohio and saw them in action. Nice bikes, wish I got a chance to ride one. Thanks a lot for the write up on your experience. That is cool that EM is willing to custom build the bike for you. Looking forward to hearing how you like it.

Did you inquire about the $4500 lead acid model? Just curious how the performance compares to the 8500 $ model.
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guity

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2009, 01:39:09 AM »

Skadamo,

I didn't really ask about those lead acid machines.  I wasn't really interested in them and I was already suffering from information overload.  However, I believe that Todd Anderson might have briefly mentioned them as being one of the driving factors in re-locating the shop to achieve a larger work area and a greater number of employees.
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guity

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2009, 08:59:47 PM »

Just received a call from Martin of EM last night.  Martin is bringing a load of bikes down to Los Angeles and mine will be among them.  Apparently EM has been waiting for weeks for the appropriate battery charger, a Zivan, to be shipped.  It still has not shipped, so they finally decided to place a stock charger on the bike and let me drive the bike that way until the Zivan arrives.  Then they will ship me the Zivan, I will install it in place of the stock charger, and ship the stock charger back up to them.  

Apparently the stock charger is unable to actually charge the 60ah Thundersky batteries on the bike to the fullest extent.  (Martin's figures indicated that the stock charger was .4 volts short on each cell; they were being charged to 3.8 volts instead of 4.2 volts)  So the bike should be just fine to drive, but won't have maximum juice after being charged.  However apparently Martin has already  ridden on the bike 50 miles to break in the motor (on a single charge) and reported that those 50 miles (at low speeds) didn't use up much more than half of the available voltage.

Unfortunately for Martin, since he has so much experience and knowledge, I pretty much grilled him on just about every question I currently have about electric motorcycles.  He was even patient enough to tell me what a battery management system has left to do if a controller takes care of current to the motor and the charger handles current to the batteries.  (Can manage the batteries down to a cell-level, preventing damage from occurring due to a single cell being over charged or over discharged and provide monitoring information that also goes down to the individual cell level, while the controller is only dealing with the bike's array of batteries as a whole.)

At any rate, am fully stoked again and looking forward to the moment of arrival, to say the least!
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 10:16:55 AM by guity »
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guity

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 09:57:57 PM »

Martin delivered the bike yesterday, and I love the damn thing.  Now I just have to figure out how to drive it and how it works!

Martin had already put about 59 break-in miles on it, and had opened up the Etek-RT motor and cleaned any break-in debris out of it.  He had me drive it briefly to see if it was as responsive as I wanted, and at my request he used his laptop to adjust the throttle-up and throttle-down response times in the controller settings to make the bike touchier.  The bike is now set to be pretty sensitive to throttle twists, which on the plus side makes it feel nice and nimble.  The other side of the coin that you need to keep your throttle hand completely steady or can find yourself kind of jerking along.  I like having it set that way partly because focusing on keeping my hand steady kind of fills in some of the void left by suddenly not having any gears to shift.

I never really thought about how much I tended to use the engine to slow my XL350R down, and since my new bike has no re-gen I am afraid it might drive me a little crazy just using the brakes all the time. 

So far I have driven the bike around 44 miles.  When Martin and I first turned it on, the voltage was showing at about 82 V charge, and Martin told me not to drive it for more than 60 amp hours.  When I got off the bike last night the amp hours were at 59.6.  The voltage was still up and around 73 V.

The intended charger for the bike has still not been sent and I think that EM has really gone the extra mile as far as bringing the bike down to Los Angeles when the opportunity arose, and substituting an external, temporary charger to be used until the Zivan is shipped.  I am a little bit worried because at first Martin thought there might not be enough room left inside the fairings to mount the Zivan, but he kind of peered inside and saw some space and changed his opinion on this.  Having the charger mounted on the bike makes the difference between being able to charge the bike at only one location or being able charge the bike almost anywhere.

Connected the charger to the bike at about 8:00 PM last night (Surprised at how loud it is when it is charging.)  At 4:30 AM, unable to sleep, went down into the garage to check it out, kind of assuming that charging would be completed.  But the charger was still humming along.  DIsconnected the charger and turned on the bike.  The bike came up at 77 volts.  That was worrisome to me.  I turned off the bike, re-connected the charger and left it humming.  When I came back to check at 7:30 AM, the charger had gone silent and one of the red LED's on the charger had turned green, the signal that charging was completed.  Now the bike voltage reads 87.4 .  It seems strange that the charging process took so long and that most of the voltage increase was achieved in the final 3 hours.
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guity

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Insurance
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2009, 01:32:29 AM »

Want to report a good deal with Progressive Insurance that is similar to one a user named Richard 230 reported on El Moto a few weeks ago.  I already had liability coverage for my XL350R with Progressive.  To add the GPR-S to the coverage only cost 11 dollars extra per year.  And that was for comprehensive coverage, including theft ($500 deductible).  It took a bit of insisting (that others had reported insuring these bikes with Progressive) to get past the initial proclamations that they can't find the bike as being listed as insurable, but once it got to a supervisor level they figured it out.  I think one reason the insurance is so cheap might be that they need to record some kind of cc equivalent for the bike.  Since my GPR-S is pretty much similar to a 250cc bike, I gave that figure, and perhaps 250cc bikes are some of the less expensive ones to insure...
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guity

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Keeping Stats
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2009, 09:36:38 AM »

So over a course of about 11 hours last night the charger left the GPR-S with a charge of 87 volts according to the Cycle Analyst.  This very quickly dropped down to around 77 volts along the 11-mile route to work.  By that time, with over a hundred miles on the bike, I pretty much stopped babying it and drove in my normal careless heavy-handed fashion.  There was one flat long straight wide boulevard that allowed me to check out top speed.  The best the bike did was 58 mph.  At the end of the day another such test got up to 59 mph.  I don't know if I can legitimately hope that the top speed can still increase to the point there the bike could reach 70 mph on the flat.  But I would still like to think that is possible, though if it isn't I will still be glad to have this bike.

There seems to be a couple of voltage plateaus for the bike, where the voltage level just stays the same for a number of miles.  One was 77 volts, and the bike seemed to stay there from about mile 1 to about mile 20-25.  At some point between 20 and 25 miles, the bike went to another voltage plateau of 74 volts, where it stayed until around mile 38.  At this point I was driving the bike around a 1.25 mile loop running by my house so that when/if it started limping it wouldn't be far from home.  Around mile 38 the bike had used up 60 amp hours of charge, but the voltage was staying at 74.  Had to run the bike through about 7 more miles of loops before the voltage dropped down to a settling point of 68.8 (though going uphill at top speed was causing the voltage to sag down to a danger level of around 56 -- then it would rise back up to 68 after stopping).  At this point I had used 76.14 amp hours of charge according to Cycle Analyst, had gone 44.58 miles on that charge, and was getting those strange screeching sounds when applying the brakes that mean that the juice is definitely low.  

Hope Martin doesn't get pissed that I took the bike beyond the 60 amp hours he suggested.  But there were so much voltage left I felt the need to get a better feel for the limits by seeing for myself when and where the brake-screech would occur.  Hopefully everything will charge back up OK tonight and I will be kinder to the bike from now on.  I guess the lesson learned for me is that after the 60 amp hour mark there is a kind of 7-mile/16-amp-hour reserve tank that is available in a crisis.

Amp hours to get to work on 11-mile side street route: 14
Amp hours to get back home on same route (up the hill rather than down): 21

Cycle Analyst stats:
Wh/mi 119.7
Amin (peak negative current captured by the meter) -4.4
Amax (maximum amperage drawn from the battery) 280.2
Vmin (how much the pack's voltage drooped) 55.9
MaxS (maximum speed?????) 430.    
AvgS (Average speed) 30.0
Total miles  148





« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 09:40:06 AM by guity »
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skadamo

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2009, 09:44:16 AM »

Thanks for the updates. Congrats on getting the bike in your garage. Will you be able to tune throttle response on your own? Is that part of the owners manual?

On the subject of insurance, I was listening to a semi-newish episode of evcast today. A guest they had on joked that ev's may be stolen for their batteries as crooks catch on to their value. Hope this does not adversely affect insurance prices. Regardless, sounds like you got a great rate.

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BretA

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2009, 06:41:23 PM »

Guity,
     Congrats on finally getting your bike...Unfortunately EMC still has not returned mine.  And if Martin was on the road to deliver yours, then it somewhat explains why I haven't got a return email.

BretA
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guity

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2009, 07:18:43 PM »

Skadamo,

The manual states that the warranty is voided if you change the controller settings.  But after the warranty is ended, in a year, I guess I would be able to goof around with the settings!  For now I'm happy with the way it has been set.  Having Martin customize the setting to my taste was one of those smaller side advantages of dealing with EM.  I can't even imagine how impossible that would have been with Zero. 

I bet crooks will be going after batteries.  Right now I'm not sure stolen batteries would do the common crook much good, unless he was an Electric Motorcycle Forum or El Moto or V is for Voltage or Endless Sphere member.  But as soon as an easy-to-access-for-common-crooks market develops, security is definitely going to be an issue.  I guess pretty soon after that my rates will take a big jump!


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guity

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 07:36:56 PM »

BretA, I think Martin mentioned your delays during the course of dropping off my bike.  He felt really bad about the whole thing.  I guess a part of it was the tremendous bad luck of replacing the batteries a couple of times and each time finding out that the new set of batteries were bad as well.  I think I got the delivery because of the luck of my location, combined with EM feeling bad about some of the delays I was also going through (though my delays are pretty much dwarfed by yours, they were still driving me crazy).   Martin had to bring a couple of bikes down to the Hollywood dealer, and he also just stuffed a third one (mine) into the back of his pick-up truck.

My impression from Martin is that he is constantly on the move with a boat-load of stuff to do, and in the middle of all this he commonly opens up his email to see about 80 new daily messages staring him in the face.  So even when he was down here trying to arrange a time to deliver the bike, he never replied to my emails trying to confirm delivery dates and times.  EM should probably hire a customer service rep and a secretary/administrative assistant to help handle the communication aspect of the business...
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guity

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Thunder Sky Batteries
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 09:14:35 PM »

Bret, I think the reason your situation came up in the conversation with Martin was because he was trying to explain how great the Thunder Sky batteries are.  He was saying they are so reliable that you almost don't need a Battery Management System with them.  I think the primary reason he gave for this was that ThunderSky has automated the manufacturing process so that you don't get that human error every nth battery that eventually ruins an entire pack. 
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guity

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Long charge with temporary charger
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2009, 09:16:49 PM »

Wow after yesterday's battery-straining ride, the charger has been humming along for more than 12 hours now with no green light....


******************
Later note: checked again 90 minutes later and charge was completed.  So total charging time was somewhere between 12 and 13 1/2 hours
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 03:01:16 AM by guity »
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guity

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Third day stats
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2009, 09:59:49 AM »

bike started day with 89 volts.  Drove it conservatively, used 12.6 amp hours going to work instead of 14.  Volts remaining upon arrival at work: 76.8
Coming back from work consumed 15 ah instead of yesterday's 21 (took the last 3-mile hill at 45-50 mph rather than full throttle).

End of day Cycle Analyst stats:
75.9 volts
25.5 miles
32.27 amp hours used
watt hours 2397.3
wh/mil 94
Amin -4.8
Amax 278.5
Vmin 69
maxs 463
AvgS 25.4
total AH 279
total miles 174

 
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skadamo

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2009, 10:06:57 AM »

Man I love those stats. Will be cool to see them once your ride gets routine. Could probably get a feel for how weather affects them.

How long did it charge before green?
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