OP-Ex? (or Indonesia, BOOM)

First Norway, then Iran, now Indonesia.  Even oil-rich nations can’t ignore the future.

The Iranian government had previously turned to natural-gas vehicles.  Tehran is highly polluted, and this “oil-rich” nation is actually fuel-poor.  It doesn’t have enough refineries to turn crude oil into finished fuels, nor enough hard currency for refinery construction.  What oil they have, then, should be saved for export (and gaining hard currencies), meaning Iranian motorists should consume something else.  Natural gas uses much less refining, and is hard to export due to handling and packaging issues.  Iran then encourages its drivers to fill up on domestic natural gas, saving their oil.

Now add electricity.  The government is promoting hybrid cars and electric bikes, even founding a lithium battery factory.  The electricity can be generated by natural gas (a more efficient usage anyway) or with the low-grade residues from oil refining- “bunker fuel,” the dregs of the process.  Or, by solar, which is not a problem in A DESERT.

Indonesia, too, is seeking modern vehicle tech.  Despite being an oil exporter, Indonesia sought natural gas and EV technologies from the US delegation after the recent Beijing summit.  Indonesian cities are also choked with scooter and diesel exhausts; the nation also wants to export what oil it has, and not just light it up.  In Indonesia’s case, they’ve been developing biodiesel from tropical plants as an oil substitute.  It’s clear, though, that biodiesel only goes so far.  There’s only so much land that can be sown with palms, and it’s nowhere near enough.  Indonesia is approaching a third of a billion people, yet wants to stay an oil exporter.

The future isn’t approaching, it’s here.  We can export it.  And yet, I’m still hearing haters.  Why?  Because “you can’t put a gun rack in a Volt,” and other “probably”s… including from people who complain about the dollar.

See also: Bhutan, BOOM, From The Land of The Ice and Snow:, Nor-way To Go!, The Shells Fell From His Eyes


Zero to Lose (Or, Where’s Lightning NOT Going?)

pphlIt’s June 29, the 2015 Pikes Peak (officially, the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb) is going on as I write this.  Let me tell you a tale of two electric motorcycle companies (…plus).

Last Year, Lightning Motorcycles won the 2014 Pikes Peak outright- not just in an electric-motorcycle class.  The Lightning bike was the fastest motorcycle up the mountain, period, gasser or electric.  And yet, Lightning’s not even showing up this year, nor is Mission or Mugai, but Zero Motorcycles is.  Even then, Zero is racing their FX model, a lightweight dual-sport, not their performance machine, the SR.  What’s going on here?  The FX has no chance of winning, but Lightning is showing us zero.

A charitable person might say Lightning is too focused on getting their design into production. A cynical person might say the company is still getting their act into shape. More reasonably, a charitable person can say Lightning already got their publicity/advertizing out of last year’s win; the company now has less to prove out of their basic tech. A cynical person can say they don’t have enough financing to head out to the mountain, and are in the hole trying to get vehicle production going (when it’s already behind schedule) without enough preorders and thus, deposits. Continue reading

…First at Last?

plwlI wasn’t able to make the Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire event in New York… but Mark Gardiner did.  As a former amateur motorcycle racer and veteran of the marketing/advertizing industry, Mark now writes for motorcycle-usa.com, and has some interesting claims:

  1. The LiveWire (or at least, a Gen 2 bike) is actually going to production.  The LiveWire tour, billed as a rider feedback program, is actually a ruse.
  2. Harley is building the bike to show up Honda and BMW… upstaging Zero and Brammo would be a bonus, too.
  3. The ruse is The Motor Company’s plan to defuse the graybeard riders, who would be outraged at a “straight” announcement.
  4. This all means H-D management is more on-the-ball, and forward looking and future-oriented, than non-Harley fans expect.

Now it’s time to play “what’s the evidence, and how much of it do I buy?” Continue reading