The city of Moira in Ireland has opened an indoor motocross track called “E-Trax”, and I believe they will be very successful. I hope this is the beginning of a trend. Once other businessmen see their popularity, I am certain more indoor electric motocross tracks will be opening up soon.
This event brings up the question, if someone decides there is a market in their region for an indoor motocross track, why would they choose electric motorcycles? Of course they are quieter, but since this type of track is enclosed, you don’t need to worry about complaints by the local neighbors. Are there any benefits to choosing EV’s?…YES!
Rental vehicles take a lot of abuse, and customers don’t always operate the equipment in a way that helps them survive as long as possible. Of course, tires, brakes, shocks, and the chain + sprockets will wear out the same, whether you are discussing a gasoline engine or an EV (and both need to be cleaned after they are dirty), so…the main difference is the comparison between the engine wearing out, and the combination of the electric motor plus the battery wearing out.
First of all, for a gasoline engine that is run hard (like a rental motocross dirt bike) you’d need an oil and filter change every 5 hours of run time, along with cleaning the air filter…
20 hours? you need a valve check and adjustment, plus clean and gap the spark plugs
40 hours? replace the piston rings and re-hone the cylinder
200 hours? complete teardown and replace the bottom-end bearings along with the big-end connecting rod bearings, so…Electric motorcycles have less repair and maintenance.
A well-designed brushless electric motor should be able to run for thousands of hours before any inspection and rebuild, and a “rebuild” would only involve replacing two shaft bearings. To be fair, the battery does wear out over time, so that is the main cost comparison between an old electric dirt bike and an old gasoline dirt bike. There are several things you can do to make the lithium battery packs last as long as possible, like this article here.
Once you have done everything you can to make the battery pack last as long as possible, there is a growing community of enthusiasts that use partially worn EV battery packs as a power back-up for their home, and the pack can be charged by solar panels, a wind-generator, or even using the mains grid at the low-cost times of the night. This is because electric vehicles need as many watt-hours (WH) of energy as possible, and as soon as they are worn enough that they only provide about 80% of the new pack WH, they are often retired and replaced with a new pack (hold off till 2020 if you can, the new SSB’s will be awesome).
This means a “worn” EV battery pack can often be sold for a percentage of the cost of a new pack, off-setting the battery pack replacement cost. I expect this trend to increase over time, as it becomes more well-known. Among garage builders who are attempting an electric conversion of an existing vehicle, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt cells are proving to be very desirable, even after they are several years old.
The E-Trax business also has a cafe where you can find a selection of snacks and beverages.
If you are considering an electric motorcycle, it’s not just about the long-term financial benefits (listed above). Regardless of how the numbers crunch, EV’s have a significant PERFORMANCE benefit. Any EV can provide FULL TORQUE at one RPM, and they never need to shift in order to get into the best power section of the RPM curve. The only thing worse than losing a race, is…losing a race to someone who is not nearly as experienced as you. Using an E-Moto means you never need to shift with split-second precision to keep the power in the perfect RPM range.
If you gain experience with electric motorcycles, be prepared to survive a lot of hate from gasoline-engined riders who spent YEARS perfecting their craft.
Written by Ron/spinningmagnets, August 2018