156 months ago

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Move over electric bikes - nuclear power may be the future

Electric bikes, while making great progress in terms of range and power still have one major flaw: Refuelling. Today on my gas bikes, if the light comes on, I pull into a gas station and minutes later I'm back out on the road ready for another few hours. Batteries are different. Assuming you can find a power source, you'll be charging for a good few hours just to get back up to 80% charge. In other words, no-one is going to manage to do an iron-butt on an electric bike for the foreseeable future.

The problem is one rooted in physics and chemistry. Draining the battery, you're pushing a chemical reaction one way, the way it wants to go, which is easy. Charging it is pushing in the opposite direction and requires both time and effort and it's hard. It's why your battery is hot when it's charging.

MotoCzysz gets batteries right

MotoCzysz gets batteries right

The only viable way to make that better is to use replaceable batteries. Refuelling may become the equivalent of popping the AAs out of your old walkman and putting in a new set. Sure, these would be heavier, but designed correctly (like the way MotoCzsyz does it - ) it would be a reasonably simple task. But the problem with this scheme is that someone has to store large, heavy batteries, keeping them constantly charged. Oh and everyone has to agree on a standard for them. That certainly won't be easy in this day and age of proprietary connectors and patented everything.

So perhaps we're still searching for the true heir to dinosaur juice. Which lead me to this the other day. Nuclear powered laser bikes anyone?

OK. It's not going to power a motorcycle any time soon - the engine is about 500lbs at present - but things have a habit of getting way smaller over time. If it does become road viable, imagine what you could do with just a few grams of thorium in your engine? Ride all day? Check. Never run out of gas? Check. Look seriously cool with a nuclear powered laser-driven motorcycle? Who's not up for that? I'm watching this one closely

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