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Long Way Up - electric roadtrip

  • 03-08-2020 4:53pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,251 ✭✭✭

    I hope this is okay in this forum, as it appears relevant to our interests. Some may remember Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman doing two shows, Long Way Round and Long Way Down, where they did really long and often harsh roadtrips on motorbikes.

    They're back, with Long Way Up, travelling through south and central America on prototype electric Harleys, with the support team using electric Rivians. I wonder what the charging infrastructure is like through all those countries.


  • Moderators Posts: 12,309 ✭✭✭✭Black_Knight

    Heard about that a few weeks back. Loved their long way round series.

    "The first three episodes will premiere globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, September 18, and new episodes will roll out weekly thereafter."

    ^^ the important date

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 4,483 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    Wow I remember the long way down? The one they done on motorbikes, through Africa,

    I'm sure it will be worth a watch anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,921 ✭✭✭ewj1978

    The long way round one was hilarious. They were meant to do it on KTM's but KTM themself pulled the plug as the didnt want the bikes to fail and give a bad image, so they did them on BMW's (might have the companies the wrong way round...)

    Oh and they didnt have any major accident until they went to the USA and some kid lamped one of them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,737 ✭✭✭✭JPA

    Should be interesting.
    Any Rapid charging on an electric motorbike?

    Although I'm not sure that would be an option for a lot of the journey.

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 4,483 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    JPA wrote: »
    Should be interesting.
    Any Rapid charging on an electric motorbike?

    Although I'm not sure that would be an option for a lot of the journey.

    im almost sure i seen a photo of a motorbike on a ionity charger on facebook

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 62,708 CMod ✭✭✭✭unkel

    It can CCS charge but it's slower than an Outlander on CHAdeMO :p

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,737 ✭✭✭✭JPA

    What kind of wh/km are we looking at with a Harley? Super low hopefully

  • Registered Users Posts: 132 ✭✭Pekarirska

    I'll say they'll ride on beefed up batteries. No need for any charging infrastructure as we know it. A welder, mechanic or bakery with 3-phase socket in any village will do. An overnight charge and once daily lunch top up should suffice.

    Looking forward to Ewan's and Charlie's Latin electric adventure. Hope that they stick to the original Long Way Round idea... Long Way Down left a bit of cash cow sequel taste. Not very reassuring with Harley Davidson brand in charge. A company that clings on to life by selling the Sunday greasy-hair chopper-rider idea to midlife crisis Yuppies. The motor company brought down by ignorance, incompetence, obsolescence and arrogance when Japanese entered the market turbo style. The history of Detroit mirrored in Milwaukee. Getting rid of the ICE is the only way to traverse the continent unharmed on that yoke.

    In their first adventure Boorman wanted a light dirt-bike bike and KTM was an obvious if not the only choice. It's not only excellent off road bikes but also cars that are produced in Austria. Puch are renowned military vehicles manufacturer that Mercedes civilized and now markets as a G-class. KTM cunningly pulled out as they knew what's coming.

    Hollywood star McGregor preferred BMW because of the riding comfort, but the bikes are way heavier. Ultimately the bikes failed in tundras of Central Asia and had to be loaded on a Soviet era technology military truck. As an analogy Lada Niva is the only 4x4 that can survive out-there because it's small, light, so basic and so rough. Russian word "niva" means "a cornfield".

    Maybe Ewan and Charlie will show us a new form of tourism emerging. Forget planes and cars that will bring you to that perfect golden sand yoga beach. Instead, take a gap year, extended parental leave, whatever you call it, and get yourself a ride on that battery operated hair-dryer.

    Start in Argentina guys, but get out as fast as possible not to repeat the Top Gear debacle. I'm plugged in.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 17,889 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    At 180kWh packs in the biggest Rivian surely they can charge the bikes off the SUV ala the way the Honda E can granny charge via its “domestic” socket

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,251 ✭✭✭JohnC.

    They've certainly fallen in the deep end and discovering problems quickly. Overnight charging failing in extreme cold (they ended up taking the bikes indoors), 12v battery dying. They've already had to get a diesel generator out more than once. Their solar panel van not working for some reason (and even that ran out of diesel at the same point everything else was running out of electricity). They didn't seem best prepared for what lay ahead.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 77,927 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn

    Worth a watch?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,026 ✭✭✭zg3409

    I think it starts today on apple TV. This interview mentions rivian installed special chargers every 100 miles for their cars. They say 3 phase, so they may have just been big red sockets, with the car doing the rest. The bikes were CCS but they slow charged type 2, or charged in an hour from the rivian cars until they got to USA and only then could the bikes use public CCS chargers

    So it looks as if cars used 3 phase raw AC to charge, and bikes used overnight granny charging or a CCS lunch time supply provided by the special rivian modification.

    I think disaster/adventure is part of the long way brand and I would expect or hope for problems. I am not sure why Harley or Rivian would want to be associated with problems, but I expect they had spare bikes and rivians with them.

    By the way the top gear argentina 'international issue' was all faked, they had a police escort from start to finish so any conflicts were staged, just like all their episodes. There is a Wikipedia page somewhere on it and other staged episodes

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,466 ✭✭✭✭Krusty_Clown

    I watched the first three episodes and the show has so far been quite a disappointment. The idea that they'd plan their trip for 8 months in advance, nail down every little detail, and only realize on day two of the actual trip that extreme low temperatures will affect the capability of the bikes to charge, seems ridiculous. I get that they have to create some drama, but if they're pretending to overlook this minor detail and only coming to terms with it on day 3/4, then they must think their audience is really thick. It looks to me like they're only managing to average around 40-60 miles per day, so from an adventuring perspective, I'm not sure it qualifies. This did start in the southern hemisphere in winter, so I'm sure as they migrate north, their range (and charging capabilities) will increase, providing a more uplifting progression to the storyline. I'm glad to see they're experiencing the same kind of 12V battery issues I am. :) It's a pretty significant failure point if you were really on an unsupported adventure trip in remote areas (which they're not).

    From an EV perspective, the show would do enough to convince even the most ardent EV enthusiasts to turn back to internal combustion engines. Their rescue vehicle is a diesel (which they've had to use to tow-charge the Rivians), and they've had to rely on a diesel generator to charge the bikes on a couple of occasions. The Rivians have so far, come off pretty well (which is surprising given that these are the first 'production' units out of the factory, rushed to get them assembled in time), but I'm guessing that any issues that may have impacted the Rivian vehicles are probably buried out of sight, under some likely hefty non-disclosure agreements.

    From a TV perspective, it doesn't have quite the adventure appeal of previous seasons - not being able to find a charger to plugin for the night is just a little too mundane a topic to invest in, and poor Charley Boorman is definitely a little worse for wear after a crash or two, too many. I think they needed an angle for this show to happen, and had to settle on EVs to provide that angle (to differentiate from earlier seasons), but I'm not sure it's enough to make this good television. Will definitely watch the remainder of the season (as it ticks a number of my interest boxes), but I'm not too optimistic and while I'd love to change my ICE motorcycle for an electric, based on this series (and the cost involved) it won't be any time soon.

  • Moderators Posts: 12,309 ✭✭✭✭Black_Knight

    ^^ Ditto.

    Full of spoilers ahead here:

    The "drama" hasn't really started yet. It's early days, but they never really seem far from their rescue truck or the support team. Harley Davidson aren't coming out of this great so far in terms of charging the bikes either, and even had to ship a part to "improve" level 1 charging before they even set off. First charge worked, second charge was too cold and the bikes stopped charging, and then they blew the fuse (why they didn't just charge one at a time when this happened I don't know. Another charge died overnight (after adding pretty much nothing) and they had to boost the 12v battery. 2 diesel generator charges too, and a failed charge off of their solar sprinter van that follows them.

    You could feel in the 2nd-3rd episode that they were getting frustrated by the range and unreliable charging. Low power at stopovers is 1 thing, but if the bike won't even take that low power then there's no hope. I was looking forward to them scavenging electricity from wherever they could, but while they've tried, the bikes have failed.

    The tow charge for the rivian was cool, but was it not obvious that both cars would likely run out at similar times and if you can only tow 1 at a time, you're only as fast as the slowest buffalo. Pretty cool how Rivian got the cars/trucks up and running for them last minute. They're super pre-production with all industrial buttons and switches rather than a refined finish. Will be interesting if they get to really use the off road capabilities that Rivian boast.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,320 ✭✭✭Icyseanfitz

    Yeah diesel is still definitely the adventure king, this show proves that 100%

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,466 ✭✭✭✭Krusty_Clown

    Yeah diesel is still definitely the adventure king, this show proves that 100%
    Not so much in the motorcycle adventure world.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 17,948 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil

    Ditched Prime recently and now have Apple TV. Watched the first episode last night, not having seen the other adventures they've done. It did leave me wanting more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭boredatwork82

    First two shows are far superior. Check them out.

    First one is top notch.

    Second one starts slow but gets good.

    Third one I felt it was just for the money and not really about the adventure.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 17,889 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    Charlie's body is destroyed through accidents by time of the third series, very limiting

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,779 ✭✭✭eddhorse

    Agreed on the first two adventures being better.

    I did enjoy the electric side of this one though, don't believe some of the charging with the bikes especially with 100 mile range.

    Worth a watch if you can find them.

    Looks like Apple TV for them all.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 17,948 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil

    I did eye-roll a little when they started going on about being conscious of their carbon footprint, given the gear and such they're lugging with them and the other vehicles.

    David was rather gung-ho in episode 6 trying to get the rock out from under the Rivian. Thought an argument was going to kick off.