donn wrote: ↑
Oct 06 2019 11:26pm
What I think is funny - that's England? where the story as I've heard it is that bicycles are limited to something awfully feeble like 250W.
It's a bit more complicated than that, as the 250 W limit in Europe is not a 250 W hard limit, unlike our 750 W limit, it's instead given as a "maximum continuous rated power", which is the "maximum 30 minutes power" per UNECE regulation 85. That regulation defines it as the average power the motor makes over a period of 30 minutes, within a speed range that supports >90% of maximum power, and at a power setting that is the manufacturer's best estimate of the maximum 30 minute power.
The intent, I believe, of the regulation being written that way was to account for thermal limits, so you could do short-term overpowering of a motor, but spend time at lower power to cool it down. How it actually gets used, though, is manufacturers making whatever power they want, and then using software limits to stay within the rating.
So, in e-bikes, you have "250 W" drives that actually put out 500-600 W peak (the previous-gen Bosch Performance Line CX was rated for 600 W peak, and AFAIK the 2020-spec is even more powerful, but Bosch doesn't publish peak power any more, just torque). We're actually getting close to the point where a "250 W" drive can be legal in Europe and not
here in the US without being detuned...
In motorcycles, you have "11 kW" electrics that are pushing out as much as 44 kW (and competing against 11 kW peak
125 cc gasoline motorcycles), so that they can be fast but ridden on a license meant for new motorcycle riders. (I do feel like Zero making an "11 kW" motorcycle that peaks at 44 kW
is just asking
for regulators to put some sort of hard limit on the definition of "continuous power" (AFAIK this has already happened in the type approval procedures for S-Pedelecs, with a 1.6x limit on peak power relative to continuous power), really, or to switch regulatory definitions to net power instead of continuous power. The entire point of the 125 cc/11 kW regulation was to keep less-skilled riders from wrapping themselves around trees (or through cars) at high speed, or throwing themselves off of the back of a powerful motorcycle, and this subverts that.)
However, there is
a 25 km/h (15.5 MPH) limit on assist for EU-legal e-bikes. And, they're pedal assist only. (There is also another class, the S-Pedelec, which as I understand is effectively treated as a moped by EU regulation - with insurance and licensing requirements - but individual EU member nations have created it as a subclass of 45 km/h mopeds that has lower power limits (350-500 W continuous instead of 4000 W continuous) and a pedal assist requirement, but gets limited bicycle infrastructure permissions that mopeds don't necessarily get).
For the video depicted, my own stance on this kind of thing is that ultimately, there's enough kinetic energy to do some quite serious damage to other people (as well as the rider, and someone has to pay for that, too: in a single-payer system, it's the government; in a private insurance system, it's the insurance companies and in some cases the medical providers themselves if any remaining bills are discharged in bankruptcy). This is why we require people in cars, on motorcycles, and sometimes on mopeds to carry insurance, be licensed, carry certain equipment (turn signals, mirrors, brake lights, horns, adequate tires and brakes, that kind of thing), and undergo proficiency testing (as much of a joke as this is in the US). This thing performs like a motorcycle, so IMO, it should be regulated as one.
Additionally, the reason why e-bikes are allowed path access, while S-Pedelecs and mopeds are only allowed very limited path access, and electric motorcycles aren't allowed any, despite them all being similarly sized, boils down to... bicycle paths and lanes are intended for the protection of slower riders. A 25 km/h e-bike (or even a US 20 MPH one, albeit on the upper end) is going about the same speed as average fully-human-powered bicycles, and therefore needs similar protection and is compatible. A 45 km/h S-Pedelec (or equivalent 28 MPH Class 3 e-bike in the US) or a moped is faster and therefore is more compatible with car traffic, and less compatible with bicycle traffic. A full-on electric motorcycle is as compatible as a bike's going to get with car traffic, and it's not compatible at all with bicycle traffic even if it's bicycle sized. So, putting some vestigial pedals on to be able to ride it on a bike path doesn't solve the problem. (And yes, you could say, "use restraint, just go slower on paths". People won't, though (I mean, they don't use restraint and go slower in their car, either), and enforcement on paths is hard, especially with unplated vehicles. Have a requirement for vehicles of that performance to carry a plate and don't let them even be there, and it's far easier to enforce.)
That's independent of the environmental benefits of riding an electric motorcycle (whether or not it has pedals) instead of an ICE motorcycle, mind you. There's other ways to make incentives to do that, without compromising on safety.