With gas prices on the rise and gasoline-electric hybrid automobiles now commanding more than 3 percent of the U.S. auto market, it's not surprising that many motorcycle manufacturers are looking into green technology.
Here are some of the green motorcycles, both hybrid and pure electric, currently available or under development:
HONDA – Last year, Honda filed a patent for what appears to be a gas/electric hybrid version of its Gold Wing touring bike. There is some skepticism as to such a product's viability, as hybrid engines are most efficient in start-stop city driving, not long-distance highway runs. No product release date has been announced.
YAMAHA – In October 2009, Yamaha unveiled its HV-X gasoline/electric hybrid prototype. Its liquid-cooled 250-cc single shuts down automatically when the vehicle is stationary, with the 15 kW electric motor operating at low speeds and the gas engine kicking in when additional torque and speed is required. The HV-X is powered by a large lithium ion battery. No production details have emerged since the 2009 announcement.
eCYCLE – Introduced in 2006, the eCycle is a gasoline-electric hybrid manufactured by a small company in Temple, Pa. It uses an unusual brushless motor technology to achieve 180 miles per gallon. The eCycle was designed in partnership with Machineart Industrial Design.
ZERO MOTORCYCLES – Headquartered in Scotts Valley, Calif., near Santa Cruz, Zero has been producing all-electric bikes since 2006. The company currently manufacturers five different models and boasts its products can travel up to 114 miles on a single charge.
BRAMMO – Brammo is another all-electric motorcycle manufacturer, headquartered in Ashland, Ore. Originally a producer of custom "supercars," Brammo moved into electric motorcycle production in 2009. In November 2011, Popular Science Magazine chose the Brammo Empulse electric motorcycle as the recipient of one of its "Best of What's New 2011" Awards in the automotive category. The magazine called the Empulse the "fastest and farthest-driving consumer electric motorcycle ever made."
Although still on the fringe, hybrid and electric motorcycles may become increasingly popular should gas prices continue to rise. The big challenge for such bike makers: range, power and, perhaps most important of all, simulating the big, throaty roar of a two-stroke gasoline engine!
Learn to be a Motorcycle Mechanic at WyoTech
If motorcycles are your passion, you can train to be a motorcycle technician at the Daytona Beach, Fla., and Fremont, Calif., campuses of WyoTech, one of America's leading automotive training schools. WyoTech's Motorcycle Technology program combines traditional classroom instruction with hands-on training in a modern motorcycle workshop setting.
WyoTech's classes are taught by industry pros. Classes are small to ensure you get the attention and hands-on experience you need. And upon graduation, you can take advantage of WyoTech's Career Services department, which offers support with everything from resume preparation to identifying and contacting employers in your area.
For more information on WyoTech's Motorcycle Technology program, contact WyoTech today!
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.