Electric Vehicle Discussion List – EVLN: Technobabble – Lito’s Sora electric…

15 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Electric Vehicle Discussion List – EVLN: Technobabble – Lito’s Sora electric…
Lito Sora Concept
Lito Sora Concept

EVLN: Technobabble – Lito’s Sora electric bike

Lito electric bike. Words by Costa Mouzouris, pics by Lito (unless

otherwise specified)

Like them or not, agree with the philosophy behind them or not,

electric bikes are here … although time will tell if they stay. They

are now commercially available for the street and for the dirt,

as more electric bike race series spring up, there are road racers

However, they’re all handicapped by one main flaw: very limited range.

Despite this, every year seems to see another electric vehicle

company spring into the fore, which last year included a small

start-up company called Lito, based right here in Canada, in a suburb

of Montreal.

Lito is responsible for producing the Sora electric motorcycle, which

has (at first sight at least) a more useable range than currently

available on other e-bikes, claiming up to 300 km of gas-free riding.

That’s a pretty impressive figure, achievable partially due to its 12

kWh lithium-polymer battery pack (which is good for a 150,000 km

lifespan at a steady 70 km/h). This is considerably more power than

what is available in Zero motorcycles, which offer up to 9 kWh from

lithium-ion batteries that can provide a range up to 180 km.

The new Sora is aimed at the rider with a little spare cash.

But here’s the catch, the Sora’s claimed maximum range may be

attained under ideal conditions, in an urban setting — where the

juice isn’t gobbled up by fighting highway wind resistance, and its

regenerative braking helps maintain a charge — and with the bike set

to eco mode. (The Sora has three modes including eco, performance and

safe range, the last adjusting available power to ensure you to get

to your destination before the battery goes flat).

Montreal-based Elka provide the shock; many other parts are also

built locally.

A more realistic range under normal riding conditions would be closer

to about 180 km, which is still reasonable for daily use, but if you

hit the highway and tap it out at the claimed maximum speed of 200

km/h, the battery would be drained in a mere 30 minutes or about 100

km – providing you’re not pulled over first!

But with a charge time of eight hours using the onboard 110-volt

charger, which is compatible for both a standard wall outlet and an

SAE J1772 coupler, or two hours with an external quick charger. Yet

with no infrastructure to charge the machine up and get you on your

way again, isn’t the Sora effectively just a very trick commuter bike?

To find out more about the new bike, CMG caught up with company

founder Jean-Pierre Legris at the recent Montreal Motorcycle Show and

picked his brain on some of the technology behind the Sora, as well

as how he sees his bike fitting among the current offerings of

electric motorcycles.

Jean-Pierre Legris – founder.

First off, Legris has no intentions of competing with current

electric bike makers, namely Brammo and Zero. He sees his product

more as a luxury/performance offering in the segment – think of it

like Ducati versus Hyosung in normal terms.

[image] Costa and the Montreal Show grand fromage, JP Belmonte grill

Legris about his new baby. Photo: Rob Harris

This is why you’ll find unique features like an electrically

adjustable seat (750 to 850 mm) and an LCD touch screen integrated

into the faux gas tank that includes a GPS, and a programmable

computer via a USB port to connect it to your laptop.

Other indications as to its performance-oriented intentions are

carbon-fibre bodywork, a fully adjustable inverted fork (currently

sourced from a Kawasaki ZX-14, though Kayaba will provide the front

suspension on production models), a fully adjustable Elka single

shock, and supersport-spec 17-inch radials at both ends.

All of the in-house components, including cast aluminium pieces like

the swingarm, are manufactured using local suppliers. Only the

German-made motor and Japanese fork and brakes are sourced externally.

[image] Left: From concept (top) to production (bottom). Right: the

massive CVT unit.

It’s a contemporarily styled naked roadster (overall lines are

similar to some Confederate designs) powered by a liquid-cooled,

three-phase brushless AC motor that produces 59 lb-ft of torque

throughout its 6,000-rpm rev range – one advantage of an electric

motor is that it is capable of generating its maximum torque as soon

as it begins spinning.

Finite Element drawing

This brings us to a feature that is unusual for an electric bike but

is incorporated into the Sora: a CVT transmission. Almost all current

electric bikes on the market use direct drive (the 2012 Brammo

Empulse is available with a six-speed gearbox). It makes sense in

this segment; no transmission means less weight, fewer losses due to

friction, and reduced cost. Electric bikes can get away without a

variable-ratio transmission because of the unique torque

characteristics of their electric motors.

However, there is one main drawback to using direct drive: it isn’t

flexible. When resorting to direct drive a manufacturer must make a

compromise, choosing a final-drive ratio that provides both adequate

acceleration for city riding and a reasonable top speed for short

jaunts on the open road.

Ergonomics for the short and tall

To achieve the Sora’s current rate of acceleration without a CVT, it

would have been limited to about 80 km/h. Alternately, if it were

geared to achieve its current top speed (200 km/h, claimed),

acceleration would have suffered. Although there is some loss in

efficiency due to the CVT, it was considered a fair trade-off for the

Lito Sora Concept
Lito Sora Concept

added return in performance. It is also factory tuneable, so if a

buyer prefers acceleration over top speed they can be accommodated.

The electric motor that drives the Sora.

If it weren’t for the Sora’s respectable range, all the go-fast

chassis componentry would be of little use. But this bike isn’t meant

primarily as a fuel-saving, eco-friendly alternative for commuting

(though, technically, it is). It’s meant to be high-end ($42,399

high) addition to someone’s already growing stable of wheeled toys.

Orders have already been placed in Europe and in the Middle East,

reportedly by affluent motoring enthusiasts attracted to its unique

blend of styling, performance and eco-friendliness.

Despite the limitations that currently face all electrically-powered

road vehicles, the Sora is a serious effort backed by the latest

advancements in electric bike technology (as well as Quebec

government funding). It’s also something that the company will

continue to develop with an all-new model scheduled for 2014, and

variants in the pipeline as well.

The seat is electrically adjustable too!

For more information about the Sora go to Lito’s website.

ADDENDUM – IS THE FUTURE REALLY NOW? by Costa Mouzouris

Zero’s DS has better range for 2012, but is it enough to be truly

practical?

I have a problem with electric bikes. I like them. Spend some time

commuting on one and plugging it in at night for another day of

urban riding and you’ll like them too.

But I think in their current state of development, they’re simply not

very useful. And they’re expensive to boot.

The problem as I see it is that people like you and I are designing

them – the enthusiasts. Take a look at the Sora, the Zeros and the

Brammos and you see rigid aluminum frames, trick suspension and naked

bike styling, all factors that appeal to us, but do little to


attract the consumer most likely to find its real world abilities the

most appealing: the commuter.

An enthusiast won’t take a weekend ride with buddies or attend a

track day on an e-bike; because the limited range simply won’t allow

it. So why the complex adjustable suspension, stout chassis and

sport-bike-spec tires? These items only serve to raise production

costs, making already expensive e-bikes even more so.

Are Yamaha getting the electric criteria with their EC-03 concept?

A commuter on the other hand will gladly overlook the limited range

(they don’t really need it) for quiet, lightweight and gas-free

operation.

Brammo’s Empulse goes sporty but still aims at the masses.

Having said all that, Lito might be onto something, as the bike’s

main selling point is that it’s aimed at the high-end buyer. It’s a

niche product, unique with low production numbers. That exclusivity

might just convince someone with the available cash to hand it over.

Lito Sora Concept
Lito Sora Concept
Lito Sora Concept
Lito Sora Concept

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