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Richard230
28 November 2010, 1535
An article in my newspaper today, written by Susan Carpenter of the LA Times, describes her experience test riding the all-electric E-Tracer. As you may know, the E-Tracer is a fully enclosed tube-shaped, two-wheel, vehicle, produced in Switzerland. It claims a 200 mph top speed and a 200 mile range from its Tesla-similar-design 20 kWh battery pack. It weighs 1,260 pounds and has a wheelbase of 120 inches. It is powered by a 150 kW AC induction motor producing 204 hp. It claims to accelerate from 60 to 120 mph in 3 seconds. At a stop it is supported by two small-wheel outriggers that are deployed manually using a switch in the ****pit in order to keep it from falling over. When the outriggers are deployed your drive it like a car and when they are up you counter-steer and ride it like a motorcycle.

Now on to the test ride by Ms. Carpenter: She strapped herself in to the vehicle's ****pit while making sure that the drive switch was in the forward position. She rolled on the throttle, gaining speed, toggled the outriggers up - and fell over on her side. The fall scraped the carbon fiber bodywork and broke one of the bolts holding the training wheels in place. Since there were not any replacement bolts in the US, that ended the test ride.

The article says that learning to drive/ride the E-Tracer in not easy to do. The company CEO says that it can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours to 2 days to get the hang of it. (He did not say what the cost of repairing crash damage during the learning process would be.) The article ends with the statement that "The E-Tracer has many perks. It just takes a hefty checkbook, nerves of steel and the balance of a Chinese acrobat to tap into it."

So should I buy an E-Tracer or an Empulse for my next EV? :rolleyes:

DaveAK
28 November 2010, 1549
Richard said ****. Tee hee.

Seriously though, manual outriggers? How much money have they sunk in to this thing not to come up with an automatic outrigger?

Richard230
28 November 2010, 1652
Richard said ****. Tee hee.

Seriously though, manual outriggers? How much money have they sunk in to this thing not to come up with an automatic outrigger?

I guess most of the $100K+ USD goes toward the carbon fiber body, batteries and motor. Apparently they went cheap on the outrigger bolts and one snapped when the vehicle leaned over before it was fully retracted. Hopefully, they will bulk up those bolts and work out a battery powered outrigger operating mechanism, like is used on the MP3 three-wheel scooter. I think the E-Tracer deserves this feature.

Warren
28 November 2010, 1738
The bolt which broke was on a set of training wheels they had installed...not the retractable outriggers. The outriggers are manually retracted because no automated system knows what is going on around you...other vehicles, road surface, etc. The E-Tracer is a recumbent. I have ridden recumbents for years. Some people get it immediately, others take a long time to get it. It is all counter steering, no body english. I have seen the Monotracer gas version up close. As much as I like the Empulse, it not in the same league at all. Think Miata vs Ferrari.

Warren

BrammoBrian
28 November 2010, 1814
The bolt which broke was on a set of training wheels they had installed...not the retractable outriggers. The outriggers are manually retracted because no automated system knows what is going on around you...other vehicles, road surface, etc. The E-Tracer is a recumbent. I have ridden recumbents for years. Some people get it immediately, others take a long time to get it. It is all counter steering, no body english. I have seen the Monotracer gas version up close. As much as I like the Empulse, it not in the same league at all. Think Miata vs Ferrari.

Warren

This is a bummer for the E-tracer team and an unfortunate thing to have happen in such a public way. Such is the roller-coaster ride of product development and I'm sure they'll get all the bugs worked out in short order. But then, what do I know... I just design Miatas... ;)

DaveAK
28 November 2010, 1826
Well I misunderstood the nature of the crash and the damage, but I respectfully disagree on the automatic outrigger issue. Unless I misunderstand the whole nature of an E-tracer, which is entirely possible. And it doesn't say much for the training wheels.

I took a look at the video and I'm not really impressed.

Richard230
28 November 2010, 1854
I didn't see the video. All I did was read the article and made some assumptions based upon what it said. My thought was that it had "outriggers", which the author also called "training wheels", were one in the same. I assume that these devices hold the vehicle upright until it gets rolling then the operator hits a lever to raise them once the vehicle gets going fast enough to balance like a motorcycle.

The article said that a bolt broke on the wheels causing the vehicle to fall over. I just thought it was kind of funny that the test ride only lasted a few feet.

My comment comparing the $10K+ Empulse with the $100K+ E-Tracer was another attempt for a chuckle. Obviously they are two different vehicles that can not be compared. One fits my budget and the other doesn't. Besides, I doubt I could drive the E-Tracer any better than Susan. I can balance a motorcycle while I am sitting on my butt, but I doubt I could do so while on my back like Warren can. It is tough to change a lifetime of riding habits.

Warren
28 November 2010, 1951
They have been building and selling the Ecomobile/ now Monotracer world-wide since 1984. The electric version won the Automotive X-prize, and another has ridden from Vienna to Shanghai, then Vancouver to the Mexican border. I am sure by the time it gets to Tierra del Fuego they will "get all the bugs worked out." :-)

The problem is that a recumbent is different to balance than an upright. The best way to re-train riders would be a light, open single to learn on. One you could dab a foot down on at low speed, until you get the hang of it.

It will be a hard sell, however. I can't tell you how many macho guys have felt foolish trying to ride a recumbent for the first time. The usual reaction is to make a joke about the machine, and walk away as fast as possible. Big egos bruise pretty easily.

Didn't mean to knock the Empulse. It will be the most sophisticated, affordable, electric motorcycle yet produced if it comes to market. I am on the list for a 10.0. I'd be riding it now, if it was available.

Warren

Warren
29 November 2010, 0646
Turns out they are only going as far as Cancun. Too bad. I think South America would have been more challenging than Russia or China.

http://www.zero-race.com/en/route/

Warren