MIC Launches Electric Vehicle Task Force

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Recognizing the growing revenue potential of electric vehicles for the powersports industry, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has created a task force to study several issues related to this product segment.

Paul Vitrano

The Electric Vehicle Task Force was formed in April and had its initial meeting in May. The group is headed by Paul Vitrano, who serves in a number of roles for the MIC and its related organizations, including serving as executive vice president and general counsel of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA).

“We solicited interest among the OEM membership and our boards,” Vitrano told me recently, “and we thought it was important to examine the issues that seem to be growing in this segment. We thought the MIC was the place to make that happen.”

About a dozen companies were represented at the first meeting, but Vitrano declined to identify them. Almost all major powersports OEMs were represented and most electric manufacturing companies, he said.

The first order of business was to discuss vehicle categories. “The MIC primarily is (concerned with ) two-wheel motorcycles,” said Vitrano, “but we also deal with technical issues on all vehicles.” Initially, the group will look at motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, and UTVs. “We don’t have a specific call to action for neighborhood vehicles (NEV),” he said, “but there are many similar issues, so some of our work may benefit other categories.”

While the task force is still formulating its priorities and work agenda, the key issues surrounding electric vehicles are performance standards and consumer education, Vitrano said. The task force is in the early stages of organization and issue identification and probably will set up working groups to deal with specific issues. “The task force was conceived as being segment specific, not expertise specific, so we address a whole gamut of issues,” he said. It doesn’t have a structure and isn’t a formal committee of the MIC. “It’s similar to the Helmet Task Force that gathered to address some issues and evolved from there,” he said.

A second meeting has not been scheduled, but Vitrano said the group probably would meet quarterly.

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a so-called “driving cycle” for combustion engines that determines the range of the vehicle. The MIC would like to see a similar process developed for electric vehicles “so it’s an apple to apple comparison; so everyone is using the same number.”

Meanwhile, the MIC is working with NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) on ABS (advance breaking system) standards and exemptions for certain motorcycles. It’s important that similar standards apply to electric vehicles as well, says Vitrano.

“Part of our message (to NHTSA),” he says, “is that these standards are not appropriate for all categories, such as small displacement machines. We would like to see units 500cc and less exempted.”

CONSUMER EDUCATION

The big questions for consumers regarding electric vehicles are, How far will it get me and, How fast will it go? “So, we’re looking at developing uniform ways to calculate that and present that, on a voluntary basis,” says Vitrano. “We want voluntary, consistent thinking on the best way to present these performance capabilities.”

Says Vitrano: “The industry has to speak clearly so that consumers understand the product and are not confused.”

The task force is developing an FAQ, or standard lexicon, so the public understands what various terms mean that are unique to electric vehicles.

For more information on the work of the Electric Vehicle Task Force, or to joint the group, contact Paul Vitrano at pvitrano@svia.org or 949/7273727, X-3119. JD

Contact me with news tips or story ideas at
jdelmont@dealernews.com or 612/845-8091

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2 Responses to “MIC Launches Electric Vehicle Task Force”

  1. big lifted trucks Says:

    The electric vehicles do not produce the CO2 emissions that i agree, But my concern now is that, if we calculate the amount of fuel need to generate the electricity for charging the electric vehicle is much more greater than actually burning that fuel in the internal combustion engines, this means for example if you use 1 gallon for traveling 100 miles in a combustion engine, then for electric vehicle you will be needing 2 gallon for producing the electricity for a single charge which will help in traveling the same distance……….
    regards,
    Kevin Used trucks

  2. Stephen Bieda Says:

    Kevin, your statements about electricity requiring fuel are incorrect and do not make sense.

    An electric motorcycle that takes 4 hours to charge costs in various provinces/states only $0.25 to charge which is equivalent to 455 mpg. You can drives across the US or Canada for $35-40 in electricity.

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