Clean and Silent two-wheelers of the future from Yamaha
By Mike Hanlon
November 2, 2003
Monday November 3, 2003 Yamaha Motor Company displayed a range of five "Clean and Silent" prototype electrical two-wheelers at the Tokyo Show last week. Most significantly, Yamaha showed a machine which is arguably unlike any two-wheeler seen to date - the Dolsa Wind.
The 'Dolsa Wind' looks like a bicycle without pedals - its motive force comes from a 300w electrical motor which makes it 50% more powerful than Aprilia's fabulous electric-assisted Enjoy.
The most remarkable aspect of the Dolsa Wind though, is that it is designed to enhance the soundless riding electrical riding experience with musical accompaniment. As yamaha's PR blurb says, 'it is based on the concept of "Riding Music", a ride that summons up the combined images of the unique feeling of riding on the wind and the enriching experience of playing a musical instrument.
This aural experience is made possible by newly developed audio equipment hidden under the unusual frame and seat. The relaxing, musical riding sensation is apparently unlike anything experienced on scooters or motorcycles. Eight tiny speakers located in the handlebar area and two more under the seat produce tones in response to the way the Dolsa Wind is ridden.
Taking the basic functions of Yamaha's Japanese-only electric commuter Passol and increasing the battery capacity has created this new long-distance model. With its built-in charger in a body the same size as the existing Passol, this model can be charged anywhere there is an electrical power outlet. This is not a concept machine, but a motorcycle only available in Japan at present.
Based on Yamaha's 'Passol' technology, this is a model proposing new added value packaged in a body design only an electrical vehicle can offer and one that goes beyond the basic functions of a commuter vehicle.
The concept is a 'metal art commuter.' Featuring a switch-operated fold-up function run off the main electric motor, the Divide can be folded up into a compact shape which is designed to be easy to push when folded up. In this way, Yamaha has thrown out the premise that a motorcycle needs a place in the parking lot and replaced it with a bike that can stand proudly as an 'art object' in any room. As the bike is completely free of petrol or any other inflammable fuel, it is odourless.
This Electrical Vehicle is a 'multi-function commuter,' featuring fold-up handlebars, a pentagonal shaped aluminum frame, and operating sound selection function that lets you choose sounds, like the downloaded sounds you choose to personalize your cell phone bell, and convenient functions like a utility space that can hold a battery charger or a spare battery, have all been compressed into this minimum sized model that is small enough to fit in the trunk of a car.
The wheelbase is a short 960mm (80mm shorter than the Passol) and the tires are 10-inch front and rear.
This model mounts a direct methanol type fuel cell (DMFC) unit with an output of 500W on a 50cc size bike to create a fuel cell commuter driven by a Passol-based motor. With a compact chassis that combines environmental friendliness with sufficient running distance, this model proposes a new type of business-use bike for the near future. The fuel is an easy-to-handle methanol-water mixture. Other features include GPS navigation and camera-equipped rear-view monitor. It is also equipped with a 300W AC outlet so that it can serve as an electricity source for outdoor leisure or emergency use.
Yamaha indicated at the show that its research has found that a DMFC system can be more space-efficient than a PEFC that runs purely on hydrogen. Because the converter unit of the PEFC system can be eliminated, a DMFC machine can also be made lighter. And, when it is intended to achieve running performance equivalent to a gasoline engine 50cc scooter, which means an average consumption of several hundred Watts of electricity, a DMFC has the potential for being a more compact system than a PEFC. This 'FC06' is a concept model that takes advantage of these DMFC characteristics to propose an electrical personal vehicle with a viable running distance per refueling. Although the methanol that serves as the fuel is a flammable liquid, it is widely used as a non-hazardous substance when diluted in water below a certain concentration, which means it is easier to use than gasoline or kerosene. While some efforts will be necessary to attain a sufficient distribution system for this form of methanol as a fuel throughout the market, the fact that there would be no need to wait for the completion of a new large-scale distribution infrastructure makes this a practical form of fuel.