back to article Not much of this actually from 'China anymore,' says Northern Light Motors boss

Electric vehicles continue to generate headlines while slurping energy from the power grids, but even smaller producers are struggling with supply chain issues. Lurking at the Goodwood Festival of Speed's Future Lab – held annually in West Sussex, England – was a vehicle that wouldn't be setting any records in the famous Hill …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "a 1.5kw hub motor and 48 volt 20AH battery"

    That's 960 watt hours from the battery, so theoretically at max consumption you'd get about 48 minutes run time (excluding losses and any other electical services such as lights). So a round trip of maybe 30 miles max.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "a 1.5kw hub motor and 48 volt 20AH battery"

      Can you factor elevation and luggage into those calculations?

      1. sebacoustic

        Re: "a 1.5kw hub motor and 48 volt 20AH battery"

        No he can't "factor in elevation and luggage" into this, he simply divided "max speed" by "run time at max power". ~1.5kw is a tad more than what propels a sprinting pro cyclist in the last few seconds of a race, at a much higher speed and without the fairing which drastically reduced drag on this thing. At a constant 30 on level ground with no wind, I wouldn't expect the thing to draw more than ~200W.

        Up the hill it's harder of course, but you get most of that back when you roll back down. What you have to realise it that a machine like that is nothing like a car, where kneading the tyres alone takes a few 100W because the thing weighs a ton.

        Sadly, people who struggle to afford a car won't benefit from a ride like this because they sure can't afford a house with a garage. Same as your average EV, certain lower wealth limits apply. Being poor is expensive.

      2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "a 1.5kw hub motor and 48 volt 20AH battery"

        > Can you factor elevation and luggage into those calculations?

        Yes. Less than about 30 miles round-trip.

  2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Basic, draughty, limited practicality - but I still want one!

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Joke

      Great Britain in a nutshell!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Always happy to see what mad wheels you have across the pond

      Threeks(three wheeled freaks) and bubble cars aplenty. I feel like they will have another brief window of sunny days as the electric cut-over accelerates.

      The Trident, that front opening Messerschmidt. Classic car art. This looks like proper shed build engineering too. Good stuff.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    Sourcing everything from the UK

    I approve of that - it is barmy that we drag a lot of stuff ½ way round the world when we should make it here. Reducing dependence on an increasingly aggressive dictatorship is also a good idea.

    Unfortunately stuff from China is often cheaper. Is this just that wages are less there ?

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

      And the environmental rules non-existent.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

        I'm always a bit surprised that Germany gets a free pass, as it burns the worst possible coal in many of its power stations. That pollution has to go somewhere.

        1. Snowy Silver badge

          Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

          Yes after Fukushima they shut down or started to shut down their nuclear power stations and largely replaced them with coal.

          1. Halfmad

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            and most of that coal comes from one place, a surface level mine that's almost the size of a city.

        2. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

          Well, since they turned off all nuclear power plants the electricity has to come from somewhere (or they'll have to buy it from French or Czech nuclear power plants). And then there's the NIMBYs who oppose everything, like the much needed power grid infrastructure (wind power from the coast / off-shore), which means they are quite unlikely to hit their targets for renewable energies. The over-availability of home generated solar power in the summer also means that they actually have to pay money to get rid of excess power. Basically they are stuck... Serves them right for not having the ample sources of free hydro power like they have in Norway!

          The coal is no longer quite as bad as it used to be ("fond" childhood memories...), things have improved quite a bit in terms of filtering out many of the nasties. Another issue is of course CO2.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            The nuclear phase out was actually decided before Fukushima but Merkel reversed that decision and then did a U-turn with a plan to phase out nuclear faster and at vastly greater cost even though the Fukushima accident could never have happened in Germany.

            Coal is being phased out, actually the industry wants to close plants faster than planned. Hydro isn't really an option given the geography and population density (almost a complete inverse of Norway) and nuclear has lots of unsolved problems including the original barmy compromise that waste disposal would be as far as possible from the plants. The high population density does make nuclear power, reprocessing and storage quite an issue.

            Excess energy in the summer is less of a problem as France is happy to take it when it can't cool its nuclear plants properly in the heat, but high density storage would be better.

            Personally, I reckon syngas would solve lots of problems and it's getting close to the necessary scale. However, the gas liquefaction industry has been better at lobbying, which is why money is being poured into this instead of improving the efficiency of syngas and working on fuel cells.

        3. LogicGate

          Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

          What does Germany have to do with this article?

          Is this a paid for attempt at generating inter-european dissent, or is it just another xenophobic outburst similar to those found in the BBC comments pages?

          Reading UK news sources, I continue to be amazed at how people in the UK continuously represent "the Germans" as the true rival and enemy.

          FFS, WW2 is over. Almost all the perticipants / perpetrators on both sides are no longer with us.

          At the same time, we have Russia perpetrating a war of agression, looting, murdering and raping, and all some people can say is "but Germany".

          1. Evil Auditor

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            German guy: "why are you Brits so obsessed with The War?!" (read in German accent) - "because we won it."

            Jokes aside, there's plenty reason to complain about nowadays Germany or rather its politics. But WW2 is none of it.

            1. LogicGate

              Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

              1: I am not German.

              One grand-dad was imprisoned by the Germans because of illegally building radios,

              the other was killed near River Kwai.

              My mom survived with her mother in a Jap internment camp.

              2: The Blitzkrieg did not reach the UK only due to the channel.

              3: The UK would have lost anyway were it not for US weapons and Fuel, Norwegian merchant marine, Polish code breaking and fighter-pilots etc etc etc.

              This was an article on an electric bike. The word Germany was not used once.

          2. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            It is you who has mentioned WW2 and how British people supposedly think about Germany.

            My point was about emissions, in response to another post about emissions. The country with the most emissions is indeed China. However on a per capita basis it is about half of that of the USA. Germany, another top exporter and leading economy, has a per capita emission rate about 20% higher than China.

            So when somebody says "emissions" or "environment" + "China" in the same sentence, it is fair to ask why does Germany get a free pass as though it is a land of beer drinking happy people who recycle their corn plasters, but in fact their record is worse than China's?

            -> we have Russia perpetrating a war of agression, looting, murdering and raping, and all some people can say is "but Germany".

            It is rather telling that on the day Russia commemorated the Nazi German invasion of Russia, which murdered 20 million Russians, the Germans were busy sending more weapons to kill Russians.

            1. LogicGate

              Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

              "It is rather telling that on the day Russia commemorated the Nazi German invasion of Russia, which murdered 20 million Russians, the Germans were busy sending more weapons to kill Russians."

              It is indeed rather telling that a nation, which unlike Russia, has spent the last 70 years trying to repent for THEIR unforgivable crimes to humanity, has decided to turn around decades of policy in order to try to avoid the same thing happening again.

              Anyway in order to appear "western", you should complain about the LACK of German weapons aid, not about that it is too much.

              With regards to mentioning WW2, this is a reaction to worrying trends I observe throughout UK media.

              I just do hope that the Bot to Brit ratio is higher than it appears.

              As for energy independence. Some nations are simply luckier with their geographic location than others. This is something one should be careful to view as a sign of superiority.

            2. Alumoi Silver badge

              Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

              It is rather telling that on the day Russia commemorated the Nazi German invasion of Russia, which murdered 20 million Russians by murdering their neighbours/relatives from Ukraine , the Germans were busy sending more weapons to kill Russians.

          3. nautica Bronze badge
            Big Brother

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            "...WW2 is over. Almost all the perticipants[sic] / perpetrators on both sides are no longer with us...

            Ever hear the admonishment, "Those who forget history are bound to repeat it" ?

            Simply because the participants/perpetrators are dead is absolutely NO reason to forget that one of the most egomaniacal, sociopathic, narcissistic, insane individuals to ever inhabit this planet brought untold suffering, misery, and death to untold millions; and would have continued on his path of death and destruction, strictly in the service of his ego, were it not for the unwavering commitment, dedication, and bravery of those who valued freedom over conciliation.

            Someone (no name) tried to pull off a similar scenario in the United States, recently. The same thing as happened in Germany still could happen in the US. You think the Germans didn't embrace Hitler wholeheartedly, without giving any thought to the consequences? They embraced the charisma.

            Quit embracing the charisma, read the history, and do not relax your vigilance because the act of simply 'forgetting'---of NOT thinking--- is the easiest thing to do

            "You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour. You shall have war."---Winston Churchill to Neville Chamberlain, whose only tactics regarding Adolph Hitler were to appease him---which led to WWII.

            "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."---Thomas Jefferson

            1. Alumoi Silver badge

              Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

              that one of the most egomaniacal, sociopathic, narcissistic, insane individuals to ever inhabit this planet brought untold suffering, misery, and death to untold millions;

              OK, I have a question: Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Torquemada, Chiang Kai-Shek, King Leopold II, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun? Which one?

              1. nautica Bronze badge

                Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

                From @Alumoi---

                "...one of the most egomaniacal, sociopathic, narcissistic, insane individuals...Which one?"

                Why are you so limiting?

                To be perfectly clear, I specifically wrote, "...ONE of the most...".

                ps: you could do much worse than starting your new, expanded compendium of egomaniacal, sociopathic, narcissistic, insane---and extremely dangerous---individuals than beginning that list with "Donald J. Trump".

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I miss the pre-state sponsored troll era

            Or at lest before at least 3 different crews set up shop here in the Reg forums. Used to be just us home grown types, like watching the village idiot and the village drunk punching it out on the common green. I don't know why the Reg still puts up with us :)

          5. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            >What does Germany have to do with this article?

            Germany has some neat tricks to avoid being bothered by the kids of inconvenient legislation that other countries abide by. The primary trick I'm told is for the federal government to agree to something but leave it up to the states to implement it. Nothing gets done. This is how they manage to get away with burning brown coal (and digging up the occasional old growth forest to get the coal).

            On a practical note then "everything sourced locally" is a pipe dream. They might not be purchasing complete assemblies from China but the components? Where else are they going to get things from?

            Any resemblance between this and the late lamented C5 (or Aeriel something or another) is purely coincidental.

          6. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            Amen. Two World Wars and one World Cup kind of sums up the UK. A million years ago, my history master said that when piracy went out of fashion, Britain rather lost its way. I think he was being only slightly facetious.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

          That pollution has to go somewhere

          Yeah, they pay someone else to take it. It's called "carbon offsetting", otherwise known as "greenwashing".

          1. Snowy Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

            Yes carbon offset where you can call a coal fired power station carbon negative due to someone the other sided of the world not cutting down a lot of tree that they where not going to cut down anyway and them sell you that carbon offset.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

      It is mainly wages but there are also subsidies and cheaper regulatory costs to consider. And shipping is dirt cheap. For example, and from few years ago, it costs about £0.09 to ship a bottle around the world. Once it gets on the road you'll cost per km…

      1. nobody who matters

        Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

        ".....And shipping is dirt cheap....."

        I think you will find that over the last two or three years, shipping from the Far East has become horrendously expensive. At one point in 2021 rates for a 40' container from China to Europe had quadrupled compared with a couple of years previously. Even now, despite the rates falling back a little, they are still very high.

    3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

      But where does the stuff that's sourced from the UK come from? Has the UK got production facilities and local sources, or are they assembling Made-In-China parts and waving a Made-In-The-UK paintbrush over it?

      I'm not criticising; I think it's laudable to make things without dragging the components half way around the world. I'm just not sure the UK has the sources for everything on this project.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Sourcing everything from the UK

        I did wonder that too. How many of the components on the control boards are made in the UK? How much of the motor is made in the UK? Magnets? Copper wire? And at the end of the supply chain, how much is still coming from China?

        Marking something as Made In Britain (or any other country, for that matter) hasn't really ever been 100% true for most countries for 1000's of years, before countries, as we know them today, even existed. Everyone imports something, even it's raw ore. After all, Cornwall has been exporting tin to Europe and the Med since about 2000BC and obviously importing a variety of stuff in exchange.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Luggage size?

    Given the limited range, I'm not sure of the appeal of the recumbent design for this kind of vehicle except, of course, that's where it's coming from.

    Where I expect to see demand pickup is for small factor vehicles with reasonable storage for tradesmen (tools, etc.)

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Luggage size?

      > I'm not sure of the appeal of the recumbent design

      It's a nonsense design - there're plenty of electric bicycles that are either faster, or have longer range, or are more suited to transporting kids/goods/luggage. And there are electric scooters (think Lambrettas, not skateboards with a handle) which are faster and cheaper.

      It's just an electric recumbent with a fairing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        OR...

        It's a charming addion to the legacy of weird 3-wheel roadsters, if leaning hard to the bicycle side. If you want a full cowling a stand up bike/standard motorcycle frame is actually terrible. They also don't fall over when stopped.

        And the two forward wheels handle much better then the other way round. Of course you could also just go to a quad, but that is less fun, and requires a whole extra tire. Also wacky trikes are legal many places that non-car quads are banned from the public roads. Or, you know just drive a farm tractor around.

        Though funny you mentioned the scooters, as there is a leaning 3-wheeler version of those with bodywork too. You still can lane split/filter with it, and the body raised the center of gravity and killed the handling. Higher sight line though.

        So really the answer is and always will be, it dosen't make sense, and that's kind of the point. If you buy one of these it's as much about turning heads as getting somewhere, just like all of the other lovable oddballs. They don't take up any more space on the road as a car, so unless the roads are swarming with them I'll give them a pass.

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Question

    I wonder why you Brits are so obsessed with 3-wheeled cars?

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: Question

      Licensing, taxing, possibly insurance, in some niche cases the fun factor of being different.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Question

        So it's a little bit like the kei cars in Japan, they take advantage of a specific regulation?

        1. Richard Jones 1

          Re: Question

          I would say yes, the French also have so different vehicles for the same reasons.

          1. Potemkine! Silver badge

            Re: Question

            There are indeed specific regulations for "tricycles", but AFAIK those are mostly used by people who want to ride a Piaggo MP3 250cc or 400cc without having to get a motorcycle driving license. You can drive them with a standard car driving license.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Question

              France also has "voitures sans permis" (sometimes known as "coffins on wheels") which can be driven without any license at all, as the name implies.

        2. Zimmer
          Happy

          Re: Question

          To answer that briefly....

          The regs in the UK post 2nd World War were such that you could pass a test for a Motorcycle and then were also licensed to drive a Tricycle weighing less than 8cwt and also a motorcycle and sidecar. Plenty of ex army surplus m/cs at the time and cars were expensive. Annual road tax was also cheaper than a car and fuel consumption a lot better.. The Reliant company(amongst others) built 3-wheeled fibreglass-bodied cars which met the 'Tricycle' requirements... so motorcyclists could now drive the family in the dry without studying for, and passing, a motor car driving test.

          Mrs Zimm convinced me to sell my Triumph 500 T100SS to buy a Reliant Regal saloon in order that she could buy a dog!! (Regrets, I have a few..)

          ** The Reliant Regal van (yellow) shot to fame as the transport of Trotter's Independent Trading , in the TV comedy series 'Only Fools and Horses'.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Question

            As a young kid spent several years as a passenger in a Reliant 3 wheeler, which my dad drove with his mbike licence. It happily managed family holidays from Notts to Cornwall (and back)

            When he could afford a 4 wheeler, he took 4 wheel test and got a 4 wheel car.

            As a young kid I found the 3 wheeler fun at certain times, though as my idea of fun typically coincided with one of the wheels leaving the ground, most adults would have called it something totally unlike fun

      2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Question

        Fun factor for sure, but the 'moped' classification is a little bit of a spoiler for me, having a license for a car, and not a motorbike.I'd rather it wasn't restricted to 28mph too,... maybe these are future options, especially if they add a fourth wheel to make a quadricycle? I just wish the Sinclair C5 had prospered and we'd seen more development, and investment for that class of vehicle.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Question

      The engineering challenges! Including: 2 wheels at the front or the back, keeping the thing on the road, etc.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Question

        Stability seems to be better with two wheels at the front. I have no idea if it is, but it looks like it might be.

        Having said that, I'd not want one as shown in the article photos. I'd not feel comfortable anywhere other than maybe quiet suburbs ona trip to the local shops. Certainly not on a rural country road or a busy city centre.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Question

          Certainly the Reliant Robin suffered from the single front wheel but, of course, less stability means better turning… so you just need to solve the centre of gravity problem.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Question

            Not quite, three wheel steering racks are actually well studied. The earlier form(1 up front) was a legacy of bike forks and kids tricycles, and if you are moving forward is a death trap. Most of the world where Tuk-Tuks roam see plenty of crashes where a single front wheel mixes with a high center of gravity. When a 1 wheeler starts to lean, it does it to the outside of the corner, which makes it lean MORE, so you get a knife edge tip where once it starts going over, you lose steering control almost immediately and it gets worse till you crash. Heroic(and lucky) recoveries are their own YouTube specialty.

            Two up front requires a car style steering rack, but is MUCH more laterally stable at all speeds. It can also safely go much faster in straight line, especially if the rear wheel is directionally fixed. Only things the 1-up designs have going for them are simplicity and a potentially ridiculously tight turning circle at low or no speed.

            1. smot

              Re: Question

              My Bond 3-wheeler convertible (Villiers 200cc kick-start motor) could pivot on the back wheels as the ftont wheel could be turned through 90 degrees. Always caused passerbys to smile.

  6. Jan 0

    Where does the shopping or kids go? I'd rather have a Larry vs Harry e-Bullitt and some nice waterproof clothes.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      "Where does the shopping or kids go?"

      Who cares? It's the perfect excuse to get away from them.

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    How have they failed to learn from Uncle Clive?

    The low position on the road is going to be a major safety concern. Not to mention how ridiculous you're going to look pootling about in one.

    The C5 proved that all these sort of factors meant failure. And that's even before you get to the price. £4000 for an adult pedal car is not going to be a mass market winner.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: How have they failed to learn from Uncle Clive?

      Points taken but I don't think this is for the mass market.Like most Sinclair products, the C5 had lots of other problems other than the height. Recumbents can be perfectly safe, but with more power it's better to be able to carry more stuff over shorter ranges. 200 - 400 litre/kg capacity on a short wheelbase would make this interesting for the trade.

  8. john.w

    Didn't Sir Clive get here first?

    Technology improves, dumb ideas don't

  9. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Joke

    Not much of this actually from 'China anymore'

    Not much of this actually from 'China anymore' ... except that 'roof' which is clearly just an upturned wok.

  10. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Ride height?

    Is it like navigating a canoe in a shallow river? It looks lower to the ground than a speed bump.

    I was thinking about a road trip bike trailer with solar panels, batteries, and just enough motor to cancel out the trailer's weight and drag. A bonus would be a tiny dehumidifier to dry hand-washed clothes and produce drinking water.

    I'd probably spend thousands building it then decide that I don't like bicycle road trips.

    1. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: Ride height?

      It doesn’t look that much lower than you sit in my Tiger (Lotus 7 inspired sportscar), although it is narrower and shorter, what would concern me is the lack of mirrors - I assume they are left off the demo machines but if I had one I would ditch the canopy and stick on a motorbike helmet. Being hit in the face by a stone at 30mph is not nice.

      Looks interesting though…

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bleh.

    It's a good start, I suppose. Pack every available inch with batteries and replace that 1.5kw motor with 3kw motors on each wheel and you'd have something interesting.

    But as is it's just boring.

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