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Hayes Diesel Motorcycle
Hayes diesel motorcycle making speed run at world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats turning in unofficial speed runs from 94 to 102 mph.

Diesel Varoom!

Fred Hayes replies to questions about his Bonneville-breaking diesel motorcycle

By Josh Landess

Fred Hayes, President and CEO of Hayes Diversified Technologies (HDTUSA) out of Hesperia, California was deluged with interview requests last week. He has set top-speed records (not yet officially confirmed) for certain classes of vehicles at Bonneville, driving his Diesel Motorcycles anywhere between 94 and nearly 105 mph.

Here is a company press release on the matter.

That week I happened to be trying to educate myself as to why we don't more often see Diesel Motorcycles, so the top-speed news wasn't my main focus when I reached Fred.

I had spoken to motorcyclists who seemed to think I would not soon see a diesel motorcycle (I was having trouble understanding exactly why, but this made me want to know more). I also spoke with a fireman whose department is sorely hurt by fuel costs and who thought that one reason we don't see gasoline ambulances is for safety reasons (a high speed crash of the emergency vehicle is less likely to result in a bad fire if it is powered by diesel and not gasoline?... I have still have to research some of this to see what the thinking is....).

Since biodiesel is a very good alternative for common folks in our gas-price-crisis time, and since diesel engines do not seem to be widely available to American consumers in smaller vehicles, I am interested to research any claim of possibly getting high-mileage diesel vehicles into consumer hands.

When I realized that Fred's diesel cycles get between 96 mpg and 110 mpg, about twice the mileage of a decent-economy gasoline burning motorcycle, ... and that he is in the process of making those cycles for both the US Marines and some in the military in Europe, then I had to know more. Some of the other diesel motorcycle prototypes that I came across do seem very cool, but making a vehicle for the US Military is a very impressive feat to me. In following Electric vehicle efforts, I have learned to ask: "Which manufacturer seems serious about real-world production and sales?". Never mind the speed records, I thought: If somehow we can get these high-mileage cycles into the hands of millions of consumers around the globe, some of them using biodiesel, we can put a solution into place that many will appreciate and gladly pay for.

Lastly, I still want to see what a decent small diesel engine can do in a PHEV hybrid. Some researchers are so keen to try this combination that they have found a way to get a Lupo from VW Europe, tear out the small high-mileage diesel engine, put it into a prototype Plug-In Hybrid and (to top it all off) put biodiesel into the Lupo engine. So, we can see that some PHEV folks are interested in trying a super-efficient diesel engine on the ICE side of a PHEV, even if the emissions do cause some environmental and certification problems.

Since Fred was so busy with such a welcome deluge of media attention, we decided to experiment and try an Email Q+A type of article. I boiled my questions down to just a few (in italics), and you can see his answers:

EVWorld: Why is it so difficult to make a good useable diesel motorcycle?

Fred: It wasn't that difficult. It just took some good, state-of-the-art engineering and a stubborn belief that the "book" on the limits of diesel performance was wrong, combined with 1000s of hours of trial and error.

EVWorld: Your Innovation: Is there something about this engine's creation that you are "most proud of".... a technological hurdle that other companies could not accomplish and that you did?

Fred: We are very proud of the power-to-weight ratio of our engine design, our extended rpm range, as well as the ability to operate on a variety of kerosene based fuels. We remain at about twice the power-to-weight and rpm range of other diesel engine. This is especially true of our normally aspirated engines. We actually had few technological hurdles, mainly because we didn't let conventional compression ignition limitations affect our design philosophy. We had a brilliant, but elegantly simple design from Dr. Stuart McGuigan and RMCS. From that point, I would just make modifications, test them, and record results. I would then use that information to develop and test other modifications.

We continue to use the cut and try method to improve performance. Proof that we have only scratched the surface of diesel performance can be seen in our new Land Speed Records. We improved last year's speeds by more than ten miles per hour. Most of the performance gains will be available in our new commercial motorcycles. Lessons learned from this year's development efforts indicate that even more performance is readily available. We intend to start testing our latest engine next week. We are just starting to really understand the compression ignition process, especially at high rpm, and have very high expectations for the future of our technology.

EVWorld: Biodiesel: Can the engine be run on B100 Biodiesel and kept under warranty?

Fred: We still have some more testing to be done using B100, but support from the biodiesel industry has not been forthcoming. The only offers we've had are for a few gallons of biodiesel to support the 100s of hours of necessary testing and related expense. So far, all the biodiesel testing has been done at our own expense.

EVWorld: Emissions: Would the diesel emissions cause a problem in trying to bring a vehicle to the California market or non-military markets?

Fred: California is a special case. To the best of our knowledge, there are no Federal emission standards for diesel motorcycles---yet. We are continually reviewing current and future emission requirements. To date, the M1030M1 has passed all applicable DOT, FMVSS, and EPA standards.

EVWorld: Availability: When might the Super-High-Mileage Hayes Cycles and ATVS be available to buy...

Fred: We are working on our civilian model production schedule. The best thing for your readers, who are interested, is to check our website, www.dieselmotorcycles.com for updates.

EVWorld:If you wanted to do mass production for consumers in very high numbers, would you have difficulty changing any of your corporate culture to accomplish this?

Fred: NO!

EVWorld Postscript: HDT has put some thought into what their strengths are as a company. Their self description on their web page reads in part: "...The company's size, expertise and intensity allow for greater flexibility developing leading edge technology for the motorcycle and small diesel engine markets.   We are honored to serve the men and women of our Armed Forces by providing the best equipment possible. HDT USA is proud to provide the best in diesel motorcycle technology to both our government and civilian customers." They have already accomplished so much. It seems just a bit further to go, to get these vehicles into civilian hands.

In a Gizmag article in July, they concluded: "Fred does not rule out that the motorcycle may be made available for the consumer market. 'Although the motorcycle is about 20-30% more expensive than a comparative conventional motorcycle, there would be cost savings for riders and environmental benefits in that the diesel motorcycle can do 110 miles per gallon - a little over twice the range of a conventional motorcycle.'"

So, followers of Electric Vehicle and HEV companies will recognize these sorts of calculations and hopes and dreams... the hurdles to get from prototype to military production to civilian production, the cost increases for better technology to be offset by good fuel economy savings, etc.

I am hopeful that this is one of those super-high-mileage vehicles that is going to make it to consumer hands around the world, in the millions of units. Although I still remain ever-concerned about safety issues of driving 2-wheel vehicles, I am thinking of buying one of these Hayes Diesel Motorcycles, when they become available.

Times Article Viewed: 11883
Published: 28-Sep-2005

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