Cedric in 2009 Electric TT programme

With Cedric Lynch's appearance at the Ace Café's inaugural Electric Vehicle event in March 2018, it seems appropriate to put up the article I wrote for the programme of the first electric TT, way back in 2009, which included a snap I took years earlier, of Cedric holding one of his electric motors. PNB
(The second half of this article, featuring the TTX01 'Agni-powered electric GSXR' and the Brusa-powered electric Ecomobile is here: http://bikeweb.com/node/3304 )
Text & Photo: © 2009 Paul Blezard

Cedric in 2009 Electric TT programme

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Then, and now...

A lot has happened in E-drive since 2009! My own view is that most of the real progress hasn't been noticed. It's true that everyone and their dog is busy putting some sort of E-power system into some sort of motorised bicycle and EMN has no shortage of them on view. In many respects this process mirrors the introduction of i.c. engined vehicles, including of course bicycles, in the period 1005-1920. There's a multiplication of very small outfits making their version of the electricly driven motorised bicycle. All hoping (I assume) to be the Honad of the future electric bike industry.

It's understandable that this is happening. Despite our best efforts (OK, despite the best efforts of some of us) we've totally failed to put FFs on the 'new vehicles' map. Even the guy that handles my powder coating, in a company I've been using for twenty years, doesn't know what "FF" means, so it's understandable that the vast majority of motorised bicycle enthusiasts, let alone electrical power engineers, have no idea that a better two wheeler has been possible for decades. And in any case the ones that do, don't care - as Cedric must be well aware!

However this doesn't mean that other interests aren't also aware of that 1905-1920 process of initial development. Running a large vehicle manufacturer isn't a hobby any more (like it was for the Dockers for instance) They study stuff, read books, including history books. Did you think Honad, for instance, is going to let themselves be run over by some upstart outfit like the old horse-driven carriage makers were? And never mind Honad. What about the people who invented motor cars and electricity? Mercedes Benz, Seimens and Bosch, or make some of the worlds best cars, like BMW, VW, Audi. Notice how Bosch has already locked up the E-bicycle business.

I know for absolute certain that these companies have been working flat out on E-power and E-vehicles for the last ten years at least - while bitching and whining about how difficult and expensive it all is. Mercedes Benz formed a company with Seimens back then specifically to make better electric motors for vehicles. They didn't start from nowhere... I believe the plan is to develop e-vehicles until they're up to the standard of their current i.c. vehicles. "We don't like to be first, but for BMW it must be perfect". This plan is approaching completion with 'next generation' e-vehicles hitting the market from around two years hence. They're intended to be world beating, that's what the German car makers do.

You'd like evidence? Easy. C-Evo. It's BMW's first serious entry into electric motorised bicycles and it's the most sophisticated E-two wheeler right out of the box. Using 'old' battery tech. Today, if you want an E-FF (and I do) your challenge doesn't involve any electrical engineering, you just need to work out the best (simplest, cheapest, lightest) way of converting a C-Evo to FF (and I am). It's more likely to involve saving money - to buy the C-evo - than rooting about for used battery packs or scrapyard electric motors.

Yamaha & Harley-Davidson are players too...As are Polaris/Indian

Just a couple of points. I think it's worth mentioning that Yamaha had sold a million of their PAS electric bicycles in Japan before most people in the UK even knew what a pedelec was, and they continue to rival Bosch in the supply of mid-engined motors for cutting edge electric mountain bikes...I first rode a PAS in France more than 20 years ago at Yamaha's MBK/Motobécane factory. And Yamaha have had their rather wimpish EC02 electric moped on sale since 2012 too...and shown a couple of more exciting electric machines in prototype form.
Meanwhile Harley-Davidson have not only announced that they will be putting some version of their 2014/2015 electric prototype LiveWire into production, but shortly afterwards revealed that they had bought into Alta Motors, the cutting edge electric motocross/trail bike company.....
And one can only hope that H-D's decision will inspire Polaris to revive the Brammo/Victory electric motorcycle technology which they bought into several years ago;
No doubt Polaris will badge their electric wundermaschine as an Indian! :-) PNB


Yes I'm aware that Yamaha offer about the only major competition in E-bicycles to Bosch, who entered the market later and are now apparantly the European leaders. Also that Hardly Ableson have invested in Alta (I read EMN as regularly as bikeweb) My point is that neither Yamaha (Nippon Denso) or Hardly (Texas Instruments), let alone Fred Spaven (see this months VMCC magazine)are likely to challenge the European car makers (Bosch, Siemens, Infineon, Mercedes, BMW, VW/Audi)in electric power. Even Tesla buffs acknowledge this.

So for FF designers and proponents, the reason for this site, the lesson seems clear. Suitable, sophisticated, powertrains now exist from world leaders in automotive tech. It's pointless scratching about trying to cobble something better together. And why would you bother? The objective is a better FF. No-one tried to build their own engine when we were making ICE powered FFs, we just used the most suitable existing unit. Turn it round. If ICE's were the latest thing would you try and make your own petrol engine from scratch? Obviously not. And whose motor would you look to? BMW or Hardly? No brainer.

E-tech.is just as hard to start from scratch, maybe harder. And now our fellow Europeans have done all the work for us.

It seems obvious to me. Look for the best E-powertrain from the best manufacturer, that will fit, and buy one. Then focus on making an FF around it.

Obviously it's a challenge popping £13K for a C-Evo, (unless you've built a motor vehicle and know what it costs) My main problem is I haven't managed to find someone to go to Park Lane and do a serious measurement job on the C-Evo they claim to have. Anyone?

Getting a close look at a BMW C evolution, & even a ride on one!

FWIW I had a discussion with a BMW peep on their stand at the London ExCel show the other day. I bemoaned the fact that BMW GB aren't doing basic promotion by encouraging all their dealers to have a C evo demo machine. He replied that there is a certain amount of specialist electric training required and therefore BMW dealers who sell their electric cars as well as bikes are much more likely to have a demo machine. However, he added that any punter can request a demo of a Cevo from any BMW dealer in the land and if the dealer doesn't have one, they can simply order one from GB who will supply a demo machine from their demo machine fleet at HQ. Apart from that, I will try to remember to take a ruler with me when I visit BMW Park Lane on Thursday to hear Elspeth talk about her adventures on a 1974 BMW in the early 1980s! PNB


It's a big ask Paul but there are some key dimensions if you've got the time. I've listed them below.

You'd be the ideal person to talk to Guiseppe at Park Lane. I've already talked to him about a bare vehicle picture and he's failed to provide one. Boo!

You could do a talk number on him. Tell him I'm doing a feasibility study on a "Voyager style" conversion of the C-Evo, which involves looking carefully at the bit's I want to use - the powertrain,rear suspension and complete electrical system. Feel free to introduce me as someone who's done this before, and introduced BMW to FFs in 1985. Use Bikeweb as a reference. I'm going to do this regardless of BMW's view on this, but they can play if they want, up to a complete record of the process, and access to the resulting vehicle, in return for a big discount and buy back on the bits I don't need. Their call. They play with Arnold, they can decide if they want to play with me. I'd also like a new M style jacket, the one they gave me in 1985 is pretty stuffed...

I'm sure you can wing this. My view is that BMW needs me as much as I need them, no point in being shy or diffident. I'm expecting a 20% improvement in range due to FF aero advantage. Feel free to note that I think BMW should also consider a 'mini Ecomobile' (Full enclosure) based on this vehicle, I think it's a better marketing option than doing it as a bloody scooter!

What I'd really like is 2D CADs of the powertrain and rear suspension but a good, non-parralax photo of the bare vehicle would be a great start.

Here are the dims that are important.

Ground clearance at ride
Minimum Hieght of battery box/structure above ground at lowest point - just in front of the seat
Distance from the start of the step up in the battery box to the centre of the rear wheel - and the centre of the front wheel
Distance from the front of the battery box to the centre of the rear wheel - and the centre of the front wheel.
Plus any tech. data they care to give me.

They can mail me if they want to talk, maybe give me the current Hufelandstrasse address. I know it's a big ask and I'll definitely owe you a drink! My son is too busy selling Vucity and I can't find anyone else to do this. Obvviously I'm far too old to travel to a hell-hole like London!

No C-evo at Park Lane BMW, shock!

Update 9th March 2018. So, I went to Park Lane BMW yesterday armed with the above request for dimensions, my camera and a tape measure and guess what? No BMW C evolution electric superscooter on display – only the 650cc petrol-powered ones! Apparently they sold out the day before. Supplies are short because they've just sold a whole fleet of 70 C-evos to the Met police! That's more than double the 33 they sold in all of 2017, and Park Lane was the most successful C evo dealer in the UK. And it was Giuseppe's day off....I shall attempt to get official confirmation of the fleet sale! PNB

Thanks for trying

Very interesting! Not least because that means there'll be some cheapo second hand, ex-police models in around two years time. Maybe even some ultra cheap crashed ones. Look at the C-Evo camera-in-cockpit video's on You Tube and it's clear why the Mets would like them. The acceleration off the line is devastating. No clutch, no gears. no stall and traction control - with anti-lock brakes for the other bit. They're going to give some moped thieves a real surprise!

Thanks very much for trying. I've left a message for Giuseppe to mail me, time I stopped creeping up on them and came out with it. BMW need to give me one so I can show them how it should be done (!) If I don't have a go at this I'll have to update FJ, again. It'll be interesting to see if I can actually get to talk to someone, unlike Tesla...