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Tuesday 1 November 2022

News Briefs

Described as "an industry leader in technical motorcycle apparel," Netherlands headquartered REV'IT! Sport International is now the title sponsor of the MotoAmerica REV'IT! Twins Cup class through the 2023 racing season. With US offices in Denver, Colorado, REV'IT! approached the 2022 MotoAmerica Championship with "a renewed focus on riders competing in professional motorcycle racing at the national level," said Brand Relations Manager Matthew Miles. "Twins Cup is a popular and growing class, averaging more than 40 entries per event. This partnership will provide an opportunity for REV'IT! to further expand its footprint in the MotoAmerica paddock."

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Segway Powersports Inc. (SPI), of McKinney, TX. has been assessed a $5m civil penalty. The settlement resolves CPSC's charges that SPI knowingly imported approximately 152 ATVs that were not subject to a CPSC-approved ATV action plan, as required by federal law. ATV action plans promote the safe and responsible use of ATVs, particularly for children under age 16. All but $1.25m of the penalty has been suspended based on SPI's sworn representations that paying a penalty exceeding that amount would cause the company financial hardship and compel SPI to cease business operations.

A recent J.D.Power survey reports that the growth of electric vehicle (EV) sales during the past year has been remarkable, but has added stress to an already beleaguered public vehicle charging infrastructure. Owners in high EV volume markets like California, Texas and Washington, for instance, are finding the charging infrastructure inadequate and plagued with non-functioning stations - this is despite there being more public charging stations in operation than ever before. The shortage of public charging availability is said to be the number one reason vehicle shoppers reject EVs.

Steve McQueen's 1971 Husky 400 has sold at auction for $186,500. AKA 'Harvey Mushman' (his sometime racing nom de guerre), this is the fourth time this particular McQueen-owned Husqvarna has gone to auction, last selling at a Bonhams auction in 2011 for $144,000. McQueen and his close friend and sometimes stunt double, Bud Ekins, autographed the bike at some point.

In its wisdom (an oxymoron?) the Federal Government in the United States has decided not to renew incentives for the purchase of electric motorcycles - only for cars and other vehicles. This despite the fact that as part of the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act, from which motorcycles have been conspicuously omitted (via an amendment to said Act), the government is still offering up to a $1,000.00 tax credit to install electric charging stations for two and three-wheeled vehicles. Joined up thinking - not!

Yamaha announced that it is accelerating its carbon neutrality goal for its factories - including those overseas - to 2035. This represents a 15-year jump as the original target year to achieve carbon neutrality in the revised Yamaha Motor Group Environmental Plan 2050 announced in July 2021 was 2050. To achieve the new goal, it will push initiatives centered on minimizing energy use as well as relying on cleaner energy. The projected result of these moves by 2035 is a 92% reduction in CO2 emissions (compared to 2010). Remaining CO2 emissions will be offset by internationally recognized methods to achieve the plan by 2035.

In recent years many so-called experts and analysts have stood up at conferences or published Op-Ed pieces explaining that because there will never be any new battery chemistry or architecture to deal with the crippling issue of renewable energy storage, the bright new clean green future being promised is doomed to die in darkness. Well, tell that to a certain Mr Matti Ulvinen, product sales manager at Polar Night Energy, a small six-person start-up in Finland, that has developed the world's first commercially operated sand battery. Yes, you read that right, good old basic low-grade sand! Successful neighborhood heat storage trials near Helsinki have proven that sand can be heated to 500 degrees C (compared to 100 C for water) and that it retains the generated heat in a closed loop system without significant loss for months on end. Unlike water, it does not evaporate or turn to steam and can therefore be released locally as demand requires, rather than needing to be used immediately.

In yet another apparent breakthrough in battery technology, scientists from MIT have invented a new approach to the storage of power generated by solar panels and other kinds of renewable green energy for when the weather isn't cooperating - a relatively inexpensive aluminum-sulfur alternative to the use of lithium-ion in home storage batteries. Aluminum is the second most plentiful metal on the planet, after iron. It is also cheap - sulfur is the least costly non-metal element and is also abundant. The entire battery can be made for about a sixth of the cost of its lithium equivalent - and it cannot burn. The battery is additionally ideal for use at electric vehicle charging stations as well as powering homes and small or medium-sized businesses. Full charge is reached in less than one minute.

Piaggio Group Americas has opened its first complete all-brand retail concept in Canada - Motos Illimitees in Montreal. The flagship is an exclusive Piaggio Group retail location featuring Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa motorcycles and scooters - showcasing its "global vision of an elevated two-wheeled dealership experience. Together under one roof, the MotoPlex retail concept provides service, accessories, merchandising and entertainment, to give customers a unique global two-wheeled experience."

Suzuki and five other companies have established a new research project - "Research Association of Biomass Innovation for Next Generation Automobile Fuels" to initiate research on "bioethanol fuel production to achieve carbon neutral society." The other participants are ENEOS, Subaru, Daihatsu and two arms of the Toyota Group. The mission being to "to study ways to optimize the process of producing fuel." Focused on the "optimized circulation of hydrogen, oxygen and CO2 during production," specific research areas include efficient ethanol production systems; by-product oxygen, CO2 capture and utilization; the efficient operation of the overall system, including fuel utilization and research on efficient raw material crop cultivation methods.

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,, Cycle World,