Some thoughts for you from the top down:
Distance = Velocity x Time
. No going around it. 300 miles in one day is at best well beyond the scope of a bicycle, and most definitely in the realm of ICE Motorcycle given present-day off-the-shelf tech.
Recharging: If you are doing a one-off 300 mile dash, then you might be able to sacrifice your body to slog it out at whatever velocity you could fathom. But that’s not the type of riding I would consider normal or repeatable day after day.
For myself, I found that after 5 hours in the saddle my bum began to ache, and 7 hours was about all I could stand. The 2nd half of my 2011 road trip to California displays where I finally found a rhythm of eating/sleeping/recharging when The Day
begins at 4AM, prep the bike and get on the road at the crack of dawn with the idea that I’ll beat the headwinds (which always appeared between Noon and 2 PM) just as I’m approaching the destination. That left me with the afternoon to get settled into a room, get my shower, beat all of that afternoon heat, and still have time for a beer after dinner. Then hit the sack by 8 or 9 PM, charger going all through the night. Get up at 4AM and do it all over again.
The terrain will dictate your velocity as much as weather. Level ground will yield higher speed and greater distance. Probably the easiest day was the one between Bend Oregon and Klamath Falls; fairly straight route with a small amount of elevation change. The theoretical distance of the system was 220 miles, but the farthest that I managed on a single charge was about 167 miles between San Raphael and Fort Bragg California and took about 7 hours at a slow 24 mph – mainly due to headwind. It was hilly, twisty, foggy, winding, and at times fraught with nasty drivers in gilded Lexus SUVs.
So before you head off and ask for a design that can take you 200 or 300 miles… on a bicycle
… know that what you are asking is quite beyond what most humans can do solo.
Now we can talk about equipment:
Weight is your enemy. Suspension is your friend. Solid framework & construction & reliability is essential.
The most reasonable-cost battery having the highest energy-density is LiPo, with the best configurations hovering around 5 to 6 cells at 5 to 6 Ah per brick. Given the amount of battery required for a long distance journey - you need not bother with High-C capacity; it’s a waste of money. Instead, increase the size of the main battery wiring harness – and the math says that switching to Aluminum
is both less expensive + less weight, even though the AWG will need to be 2 less (meaning a larger diameter) for the same ampicity. On the capacity: I was averaging about 50 Wh/mile. This number will reduce for short distances, and increase for longer mainly due to system drag caused by battery weight. Do a few Centuries to get an idea about your consumption. Know that there is a limit to battery capacity; that there comes a point when adding more battery will work against you.
One motor or two?
One motor is more efficient on a flat, no question about it. When it comes to hill-climbing, arguably it’s a toss because the application is no longer equally comparable: There’s a whole thread on this where both sides have flogged the horse into burgers and sausage. The one thing that can be said in unequivocal favor of 2WD is that of redundancy
: Unless you have a sag wagon, or you carry your tools with you, redundancy has an infinitely better chance of getting you to safe harbor over none at all, and the energy investment is about 10-15%.
Aerodynamics is a must.
This means analyzing the riding profile, drag of baggage, and body faring. Less drag directly equates to speed and distance. It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money or weigh very much either. I found my faring increased the top-end by as much as 20%, and was a game changer when facing headwinds. MtBs have the worst posture, although the best visibility; recumbents are at the other end, and likely better on the body for long endurance. The 3-wheeled versions appeal to me, though may be challenging when sharing the road.
What else can I suggest? Make sure your EV can be secured each night; I brought mine into the room for recharging. The charger must have enough capacity to recharge your system in less than ½ day and not pull more than 14 Amps; most wall sockets are rated at 15A, however the bathroom of most motels are rated at 20A. My charger pulled about 1 kW – and even then I popped breakers in the older motels; pretty scary site when you see a whole bunch of plugs all ganged up into a single outlet… can’t watch TV and run the Microwave at the same time, let alone charge
! The sacrifices we make…
If you’re going to use that as a supplemental power source then plan on parking for several days. ‘nuff said.
Last words and tips: Get off the bike every 20 miles and walk around, stretch, water-up, eat something, smell the roses, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Watch the weather and check for road construction; plan for alternative routes. Carry a phone; let your friends/family know where you’ll be, and check in twice a day for safety and their peace of mind. Don’t where headphones. Bring sunscreen, no… sunblock
! Watch your back; 99.99% of the people on this planet are cool, but selfish assholes exist if only to ruin your fun and I met at least one every day. Finally, have fun, take pics, and share!
Best o’ luck to you, and to others that are considering the same.
Safe travels, KF