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Author Topic: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.  (Read 7547 times)

MostlyBonkers

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Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« on: February 29, 2016, 01:34:29 PM »

To start this topic, I've pulled a post Terry made in the thread on the new Diginow fast charger:



Hopefully aerodynamics will improve soon which will significantly increase that.  or what i'm hoping is a commercially available bolt on sporty looking fairing will be available to double range at 75-80 mph.  I know in Texas the speed limit is85 mph in some places.  You would more than double range at those speeds and your motor would never get hot because it only has to put out half the power.  And your rear tire would last 25,000 miles.  Mine did.

In may last year I went over 300 miles on a single charge with 27 kWh onboard riding the interstate in the fast lane at speeds often over 70-75 mph.  This was on the Vetter streamlined 2012 Zero.

So that is about 100 miles at 70-75 mph per 9 kwh of battery given good streamlining
Without streamlining it's between a third and half that range.

Adding double the battery just means a lot more cost, a lot more weight, a lot more space (where do you put it all?) and a lot more onboard charging capacity, and you need to source that amount of power at each charging stop.

Isn't it just easier to have an aerodynamic fairing?  it fixes all those 5 issues all at once!

A stock 5 brick Zero with a Vetter fairing and a Hollywood Electrics Elcon kit could cross the country in less than 3 days.
That's 150 miles per charge at highway speeds, and 2 hours of charging.
2 hours riding at 75 mph, 2 hours charging from a standard J plug.
2500 miles to cross the US at 150 miles every 4 hours and that's about 67 hours.  Throw in some sleep and easily in less than 4 days.

Without aerodynamics to do it in 67 hours
You would need 30 kWh of battery on the bike, bringing the weight to over 600 pounds for the bike alone.
This is just to get through west texas, Arizona and New Mexico where locations with high power electricity can be 150 miles apart.  Otherwise you could do it with less battery, but would spend a lot of time charging at 110v which would make some stops 8 hours or more.   To charge 30 kWh in 2 hours, you will need 15 kW of charging.  That would be 6 Elcons.  Your bike already weighs over 600 pounds and now you need another 100 pounds in chargers.   And then where do you source 15 kW?  I know how because I've done it, but it's a pain and requires another 100 pounds of thick AWG 14-50 extension cords that can weigh 50 pounds themselves to stretch 100 feet at RV parks that stagger 50 amp sites with 30 amp sites.   And some places you wont be able to do that at all.  You will only be able to get 6 kW from a public Jplug because the RV park is full or only has 30 amp outlets left.  In that case to charge 30 kWh at 6 kW it will take you 5 hours.   About the best you can hope for is 5-6 days I think. 

Even with all the battery and charging you will still be twice as slow as a bike that has half the coefficient of drag.  Plus you will weigh twice as much and the bike and chargers and cables will probably also double the cost.

I can't repeat it enough.  More battery is good.  Charging fast is better, but aerodynamics make logical sense in every way first.

Yet I can't deny that marketing shows people are scared to look different.  Everyone wants to look the same as everyone else because they are afraid their friends will make fun of them.  When you are riding the bike down the road all you see is the road, so it doesn't matter if the bike looked like spongebob with his squarepants.

Changing perception takes time.  When the Ford Taurus came out in 1986 everyone hated how it looked. (it was so strange looking then they used it as the police cars in the movie Robocop) Now almost every car made is more aerodynamic than the Taurus was.

http://www.ford-taurus.org/taurusinfo/Specials/RoboCopMovie/RoboCop2.jpg

Point is you can't say I will never like the way that looks.  All you can say is I've been programmed not to like the way that looks now, but that could easily change. 

I'm not saying a full Vetter streamliner is for everyone, but i'd like to see something halfway between that and the looks of sportbikes like the Hayabusa.

I love Zero but I always laugh at their motto.  "Zero Motorcycles is unencumbered by conventional thinking about how we design, manufacture and sell high performance electric motorcycles"  There is a typo there. 

What they meant to say is "Zero Motorcycles is VERY encumbered by conventional thinking about how we design our motorcycles to look like everyone else's motorcycles on the market"

And rightfully so, because otherwise no one would buy them.  The problem isn't that the science isn't there to do anything we want today easily. 

The problem is for most of us, science is much less important than our fear of looking different.  That our ego might be hurt by someone making fun of how our bike looks.   Maybe one day that will change and people won't fear being different if it makes scientific sense to do so.  One day a low cost aerodynamic motorcycle can come out of the closet without fear of ridicule by haters. 


One day we can only hope.   Until then, we must "charge on" as fast as we can (pun intended)
http://www.electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?topic=5040.msg39267#msg39267
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MostlyBonkers

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2016, 02:02:34 PM »

I would argue that people who are willing to buy an electric motorcycle don't mind being a little different from the crowd. That's until electric motorcycles become the crowd and ICE bikes are relegated to the previous generation of propulsion. It may take some time...

By all means create a fairing that is beautiful and appeals to the masses, but most importantly, just create something that will provide weather protection and increase our range.

If the marketing men do their research properly, I think they'll find that their market consists of well educated and thoughtful people who do their research. People who put pleasure and practicality over posing.

If you are commuting on a motorcycle, rather than a scooter, the chances are that your commute includes some fast roads.

It's such a no-brainer that I'm surprised they haven't produced a decent fairing yet.

If you agree with the subject of this topic, Terry's comments, or mine, do at least post a +1 here please. If not, then please tell us why.
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Kocho

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 06:46:08 PM »

It's also a  matter of safety. On the highway portion of my commute with my Vectrix I was riding as usual when a vehicle ahead of me ran over some chunky debris that flew-up and hit the front of my side fairing. Made a big dent in the hard plastic. I don't think I was even going full speed, probably mid-fifties mph. If I was on a non-fairing motorcycle I would have had a big bruise (or worse) on my shin or knee even with bike pants on...

Not to mention the ride is so much more enjoyable with a fairing and screen when it's cold... 
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MostlyBonkers

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2016, 06:51:34 PM »

+1 to that kocho!
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firepower

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2016, 07:26:43 PM »

Definitely needs fairing option. Zero needs to do it right make sure it low drag and improve performance. They probably need to design a new frame with integrated mounting points that will suit faired and unfaired use.
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Richard230

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2016, 09:14:08 PM »

I don't think you will ever see a aerodynamic fairing from Zero in the foreseeable future. The cost of designing and building one is too high for them to stomach and motorcycles with large fairings are just not selling well right now.  The hot models this year are "naked" bikes and the ADV-style. 
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vkruger

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2016, 09:34:54 PM »

+1 but I can wait for a fully integrated touring bike.
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Killroy

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2016, 12:18:08 AM »

I don't think you will ever see a aerodynamic fairing from Zero in the foreseeable future. The cost of designing and building one is too high for them to stomach and motorcycles with large fairings are just not selling well right now.  The hot models this year are "naked" bikes and the ADV-style.

As I said before in other threads, Vetter-Lite fairings would be really good.  Fairings that function like Terry's Vetter fairing, but are palatable by Zero riders. Something, smaller and industrial designed.   

Plastics are not that hard to design and manufacture.  They don't have any moving parts and injection molding is fast.  I imagine Zero is on the long road of trying to be profitable like Tesla is, so they would have to see a good return on investment to do it.

I'm sure the Engineers are trying to increase range and fairings are more practical than a larger physical size battery.

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togo

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2016, 01:14:17 AM »

> I would argue that people who are willing to buy an electric motorcycle don't mind being a little different from the crowd.

Well, the Zeros started selling well when they started looking like the gasoline motorcycles that sell well.

> As I said before in other threads, Vetter-Lite fairings would be really good.  Fairings that function like Terry's Vetter fairing, but are palatable by Zero riders. Something, smaller and industrial designed.   

How much smaller can you go and still get good aerodynamics?  I think you really need a large bulge and taper behind the rider to get the benefit.  You have to get the air you pushed aside, that wants to rush back, to propel you forward.  I think Zero should employ an aerodynamicist to find out.  Ideally someone like Tesla has, who can integrate the aesthetics with the streamlining.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_von_Holzhausen

> I'm sure the Engineers are trying to increase range and fairings are more practical than a larger physical size battery.

Until range-at-speed is the quoted number, this doesn't help the argument for Zero spending money to improve aerodynamics.  As long as low-speed range can be quoted, adding weight in the form of large aerodynamic fairing doesn't help.  Aerodynamic helps at high speed.  Craig Vetter always adds "at high speed" to his range and fuel efficiency claims.  His Freedom Fairing aka Last Vetter Fairing is optimized for a 90 MPH windspeed (60 MPH with a 30 MPH headwind).

If you want aerodynamic, push for standardized range reporting in vehicles.  Push for some kind of standard like "at 60 mph" or "at 100 kph" numbers only, tell people to ignore the lawyerly inflated versions of range that are found in most marketing materials, watch for those damn asterisks.

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It's like flying, but with more traction.  And none of that Z-axis complexity.

Lost my faith in Zero with my 2011 S, but regained it with my 2014 SR.  Diginow SCv2 changed my SR from a fun ride to primary transport.

2014 Zero SR, accessorized. 2008 Vectrix VX-1 NiMH. 2001 Honda Helix.

MrDude_1

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 01:46:16 AM »

Well, the Zeros started selling well when they started looking like the gasoline motorcycles that sell well.

bingo.
most buyers are looking for a motorcycle, and like this one that happens to be electric.. Think of all the Zeros sold from their "let everyone testride everything" policy.

they wouldnt even try it if it looked like a dorkmobile or freak. 
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Doug S

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 01:59:27 AM »

How much smaller can you go and still get good aerodynamics?  I think you really need a large bulge and taper behind the rider to get the benefit.

+1

I already have a windscreen, and if I find a full fairing to replace it with, it's not going to be a partial or "3/4" fairing. Vetter's "last fairing" seems pretty much on the small side to me, for an upright riding position like our bikes give. Honestly, I don't understand why so many bikes (even racebikes) use fairings that mostly leave the rider hangin out in the breeze. Why streamline the bike and leave the rider out where he's going to create drag?
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MrDude_1

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 02:04:19 AM »

How much smaller can you go and still get good aerodynamics?  I think you really need a large bulge and taper behind the rider to get the benefit.

+1

I already have a windscreen, and if I find a full fairing to replace it with, it's not going to be a partial or "3/4" fairing. Vetter's "last fairing" seems pretty much on the small side to me, for an upright riding position like our bikes give. Honestly, I don't understand why so many bikes (even racebikes) use fairings that mostly leave the rider hangin out in the breeze. Why streamline the bike and leave the rider out where he's going to create drag?

while I cant speak for all bikes, I can say with sportbikes... they are not out in the air. 
if you're looking through a windscreen, its already too high. air has momentum. it will continue up and make a "bubble" of flow larger than the windscreen itself.
so if you're riding a sportbike at speed correctly, you can feel the air smoothly going from the screen to helmet and taper down your back to the tiny tail.
if you're sitting upright on a sportbike at 50mph or higher, you should feel the air cupping you just enough to hold yourself up and neutral on the bike. no weight on wrists.
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LeftieBiker

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2016, 04:55:06 AM »

   Maybe these requests should be directed to one of the big windshield makers like Slipstreamer, rather than to Zero? They have the equipment and money to produce at least a full windshield that fits the Zero perfectly and works well, out of the box.
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CrashCash

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2016, 05:31:06 AM »

I'd *love* to have a Vetter/Electric Terry style fairing, but I completely lack the ability to make all the bracketry and do the fitment.

I remember when the "soap bar" Taurus came out. Hell, I remember when plastic-fairing-ed bikes looked strange, like the GSXRs, Ninja 900 and the Honda VFRs back in the early '80s. Edit: I thought the '85 GSXR was the ugliest bike EVER, especially the rear-end.

Then I remember the opposite, when "naked bikes" became "a thing" again in 2005 or so.

Personally, I love the '50s-era dustbin racing fairings.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 05:32:53 AM by CrashCash »
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Electric Terry

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Re: Zero: Please employ an Aerodynamicist.
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 06:49:53 AM »

I would love to see it be an option eventually, but not come standard for those who don't like it.

Give someone a choice:

Option #1: Here is a full fairing option and short tail for $2500 that will increase your range at 75 mph by double

Option #2: If they don't like how the fairing looks they can spend the $2500 on a power tank and get about 15 more miles range at 75 mph.

I think the choice on how to spend the money is pretty obvious except for people who have obsessive compulsive disorder and would physically suffer from anxiety if their bike looked different.  The good news is if they have healthcare, anti anxiety medicine is pretty cheap and therapy could help them overcome it too.  Although there are lots of motorcyclists that suffer from low self esteem and ego problems. 

Loz from Gizmag explains this "ego issue" well about motorcyclists who feel they need loud pipes here: 

https://youtu.be/o3DiAecsh_0?t=5m45s

Anyway, my point is if it looks like a high quality production fairing with a top quality paint job it shouldn't matter what the exact shape is.  What ever helps it go the furthest on a charge is eventually what should win.  People will eventually want what is best.  First time someone sets a land speed record with a production Zero that anyone can buy for under $15k and everyone will want to look like that.  I'm just saying let science dictate how it looks. 

Nature evolved to get the job done best.  The way fish, birds, sharks, dolphins or anything is shaped is the product of the best design to move through the air or water and maneuver the best they could.  Let the best design be the one that lets it go through the air the easiest without having any drawbacks such as length.  I think my old vetter tail was too long for most people to handle, and a few times when parking in motorcycle spots it would hang out over the curb.  Not the end of the world, but perhaps not worth the extra 15% range to chop off 3 feet of it.  So I think the tail should be shorter, but still offer 5 times the waterproof storage that a large Givi top box and side cases have.  Somewhere around 250-500 liters of storage would be perfect.

I've ridden about 100,000 miles on Zero motorcycles now.  About 50,000 without a fairing between the 2012 and 2015, and 50,000 with a full fairing on the 2012.  And I wish the 2015 had a lightweight (not fiberglass but perhaps injection molded plastic) fairing just like I had on the 2012.  I stored 6 kwh of battery and 24 kw of chargers under the nose, but you could also use it for storage of anything.  Rain gear, sleeping bag, tent, pillow, warm clothes.  I think aerodynamics and storage go hand in hand.  As the bike can travel far distances, it becomes a perfect touring machine.  Storing gear becomes a need.  Ever seen people try to roadtrip on a R1, GSXR, CBR or Ninja?  It can be done with dozens of bungee nets and it looks like at any time you will lose your whole load. 

I'm just saying I think efficiency and practicality can both be had at the same time.  But have it optional, so those who don't need to travel far and would rather show off their bike to solve their ego problems can have it the way they want, and those who are self confident and want to travel and see the world can travel and make new memories easier
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 06:53:43 AM by Electric Terry »
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