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Nickel Electric

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Nickel Electric

Global warming, high gasoline and oil prices have several companies and many experimenters working on battery powered Motorcycles. Advances in battery technology and super efficient motors have made the electric motorcycle practical. Also fuel cells have started to appear on some models. Thin film fuel cells and other fuel cell technology promise an exciting future.

The first mention of electric motorcycles in patents was in the 1860's but we have come a long way since then. Modern electric motorcycles are super efficient, have almost no emissions and require less maintenance.

The advantages of electrics are Lower fuel costs. It cost about one tenth as much to ride an electric. They are almost silent with almost no emissions and lower maintenance costs. The disadvantages are higher up front costs, and shorter range.

Although Gas powered motorcycles get extraordinary gas mileage--with many getting more than 50 miles per gallon--they emit more pollution than even large SUVS because they aren't equipped with equivalent emissions-control technology.

With new emissions standards, SUVs are 95 percent cleaner than motorcycles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While motorcycles could help reduce oil consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions, these gains come at the price of dirtier air.

Electric motorcycles eliminate tailpipe emissions, keeping pollution out of the city, and they can be powered with clean sources of electricity. What's more, electricity costs less than gasoline. Most of the advances have been in battery technology.

Electric motorcycles are practical today because of advances in battery technology. Lead-acid batteries, which have been used in electric motorcycles in the past, are very heavy, provide a short range, and last for only a couple of years.

Some of the commercial models uses nickel metal hydride batteries. This type of battery is lighter than lead-acid batteries and more durable Lithium-ion batteries, in turn, are lighter than nickel metal hydride, and new chemistries have made them durable as well, lasting as long as or longer than nickel metal hydride batteries.

These cycles are powerful and capable of high speed. In 2006 the word speed record for the quarter mile was set at 9.1 and 135 miles per hour. Later that year the record was broken again by the same team, this time 8.9 seconds at 145 moles per hour.

Most of the production models are limited to 70 miles per hour or less. This is because they are set up for city riding. This helps extend the range, which is one of the weak points now.

Major advances in fuel cells promise an exciting future for electric cycle and cars. In one university study shows that it should be possible to make thin skin fuel cells the size of a couple of cans of coke that would power a whole house.

Many companies are using hydrogen as a fuel, but ethanol and many other substances can fuel them. The major thing that is holding back electrics right now is price. With some of the models selling for $15,000 they're not exactly for everyone.

But prices will drop, batteries will improve and new technology in fuel cells will make the electric cycle and car a practical reality soon.

Electric Snowmobile

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