This weekend, the news and technology media outlets have been writingÂ about the really cool custom electric chopper that OCC built for Siemens.Â And they all have the same picture of Paul Sr. riding the bike.Â The same one, actually, that I have, come to think of it.
Anyway, everyone seems giddy with delight about the whole deal.
Yes, itâ€™s a chopper that can keep up with a Harley-Davidson â€śhogâ€ť at 100 miles per hour without even waking up a baby. And, because the machine is electric, it has zero emissions compared with most cycles, which pollute the air at about the same level as a car built in the 1980s.
As Paul Teutul Sr., the driving force behind the bike shop, steered it around New Yorkâ€™s Columbus Circle on Wednesday, the only noise was the sound of truck drivers honking their horns in admiration of the sleek futuristic bike. Mr. Teutul, wearing his trademark red sleeveless T-shirt, says that driving the machine is â€śawesome.â€ť
Known as â€śSeniorâ€ť on the show, Teutul built the machine over the past month for Siemens, the German engineering company. It wanted an â€śecobikeâ€ť that looked â€śreal cool,â€ť in the words of a Siemens company official.
Wow.Â Sounds cool huh?Â But, as with most things, the devil’s in the details.
Both Siemens and OCC were reluctant to reveal how much the bike cost. Jim Quinn, an engineer at OCC, says a â€śnormalâ€ť chopper built by the company costs between $70,000 and $150,000, depending on the amount of work.
OK.Â So, let’s say north of 150,000, then.Â What a bargain.Â Oh, and did you read the bit above where it said the bike “can keep up with a Harley-Davidson â€śhogâ€ť at 100 miles per hour”?Â Well, that’s not exactly true.Â I mean the top speed is an indicated 100 miles an hour.Â Unfortunately, the actual speed in real world use averages out to slightly above 10 MPH.
Siemens claims the bike has a 60-mile range and a 100 mph top speed. An onboard charging unit can be plugged into any 110-volt socket to charge the bike in five hours…
Ah, so being generous, that means you can go 100 miles an hour for about 40 minutes, until you hit the 60-miles range limit.Â Then, you sit around for five hours recharging.Â So, 60 miles in 5 hours and 40 minutes is an actual travel speed of 10.6 MPH. Heck, I work 26 miles away from my home.Â And considering that a good part of my drive is mountainous, twisty roads, I’m not sure it would get me to work and back with a 60-mile range, which I assume is under optimal conditions.
And that’s the kind of performance that $150k+ buys you with “Green Technology”.Â A bike you can out-walk.
Look, whatever urgency you may feel about saving the planet or whatever, “Green Technology” is, at the current time, almost completely useless in terms of building a usable vehicle.Â We keep seeing these zero-emissions bikes, and when you look at the details, it’s always a sub-100-mile range, and then hours of recharge time.Â No matter what hoopla surrounds the announcement, at the end of the day, its hoopla about a useless vehicle, that no one can afford to buy anyway, and if they can afford it, they can’t even leave town on it.
Someday, I’m sure we’ll all have vehicles with reactionless drives. And flying cars. And personal jet packs powered with dilithium crystals.Â But today isn’t that day.
Get back to me when you’ve got a clean motorcycle technology that gets me 200 miles on a charge, with a 5-minute recharge time.