There are plenty of reasons people fall in love with their motorcycles, but at the top of the list is the sound they make, be it the unmistakable low rumble that gives a hint of their power or the inimitable whine of the engine as the rider turns the throttle. But auto- and motorcycle-maker Suzuki Motor Corp., of Hamamatsu, Japan, recently unveiled the Crosscage, a prototype fuel-cell motorcycle that will likely pack all the power of one of its classic crotch rockets but with hardly any noise and none of the harmful tailpipe emissions.

In fact, when the Crosscage, which has a lithium-ion battery pack to help extend its range between fuel-ups, was rolled out at the Tokyo Motor Show last October, spectators compared the sound the bike makes to a desktop computer. But the machine has much to recommend it besides stealth.

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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

China has more EVs than any other country—but it also gets most of its electricity from coal.

VCG/Getty Images

EVs have finally come of age. The total cost of purchasing and driving one—the cost of ownership—has fallen nearly to parity with a typical gasoline-fueled car. Scientists and engineers have extended the range of EVs by cramming ever more energy into their batteries, and vehicle-charging networks have expanded in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are more than 49,000 public charging stations, and it is now possible to drive an EV from New York to California using public charging networks.

With all this, consumers and policymakers alike are hopeful that society will soon greatly reduce its carbon emissions by replacing today’s cars with electric vehicles. Indeed, adopting electric vehicles will go a long way in helping to improve environmental outcomes. But EVs come with important weaknesses, and so people shouldn’t count on them alone to do the job, even for the transportation sector.

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