"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

First All-American electric motorbike....available soon in London

Neal Saiki is the founder of Zero Motorcycles . After designing designing world-class mountain bikes for Santa Cruz, Mountain Cycle, he is bringing his new all electric "dirt" bike to the London Motorcycle Show Jan 29th - Feb 1st 2009. Fox video of it in action.

Earlier in his career, Neal worked as a project manager at NASA developing high altitude research vehicles. While he was in college, Neal set a World Aviation Record by creating the first successful human-powered helicopter. He holds masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

As lightweight motors became available, Neil realised “All I needed was a battery, and I could make an electric motorcycle.” It wasn’t really that simple, as the lithium-ion batteries that power things like your laptop generate a lot of heat. Saiki knew his battery would have to dump about 300 amps of power at peak load which currently gives 50lbs ft torque and they say (eventually - er...real soon now) upwards of 150 ft-lbs.

Saiki developed and (more important) patented a way of packing the cells and controlling them that makes his ‘Zenergy’ battery the smallest, lightest, most powerful - 2 hours to full charge and gives some 2 hours of action.

Whilst 20 horses power doesn't sound much the beauty of electric motors is they deliver peak torque at all revs.

The Zero X weighs 140 pounds – it’s geared for a top speed of about 55 mph.

It’s set up like a twist-and-go scooter, with footpegs but no foot controls. There’s a rear brake on the left ’bar, and front brake on the right one, as well as a “throttle” on the right twistgrip. There’s no gearbox.

Turn the key, (they call it "arming" the bike) a row of LEDs lights up to indicate the amount of time you have left on the battery. The bike doesn’t make any sound at all . If you reflexively blip the throttle, it’ll take off. That’s been a problem when one person hands the bike off to another.

Snagette to using one - it's designed only as an off roader. and the list price is .... US$7,450 (ish) spare battery US $2,950.

A street version (ZeroS) good for 70 mph and a range of 60 miles for eco-celebs to tool up Rodeo Drive is due this month - sticker price of US$9,000.

Silent off roader - handy for the SAS in Afghanistan ?

The first NSU motorcycle rolled out of a sewing machine factory / bicycle factory / motorcycle factory in Neckarsulm Germany, in 1901. This used a Swiss motor petrol engine from Zedal - 234 cc engine which put out 1.75 horse power, and had a top speed of 48 km/hr, or 31 mph.

In 1964 NSU offered the first Wankel rotary internal combustion engine car in the world , the twin rotor 115hp NSU Ro 80- NSU has been part of Audi since acqusition by Volkswagen in 1969. The Mazda RX 8 is the only production car using Wankel technology.

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