It seems electric racebikes are starting to come of age; Mission One
has unveiled a new machine for its 2011 TTXGP campaign, and it takes a giant step forward in aesthetics from the blunt, overly futuristic look of the original Mission One
. This is an electric racer with real class and presence, not to mention 160 mph performance and superbike-spec Swedish suspension bits. The Mission R is one of a new breed of electric superbikes with a custom-built frame, rather than gutting a petrol-powered sportsbike and stuffing it with battery cells. And it's proof positive that next-generation green performance machines will have every bit the loin-stirring ability of their fossil-fueled forebears.
Chip Yates took a very American approach when he began building an electric superbike to race in the TTXGP and FIM ePower championships. He went for horsepower. One-hundred and ninety-six horsepower, to be precise, with a massive set of battery cells to keep the motor fed over a race distance. It was to be the most powerful bike on the grid. But both the TTXGP and the FIM released rule changes effectively disqualifying the SWIGZ bike from competition in 2011 - and rather than change the bike to fit the rules, Yates decided to pull out altogether - and take it racing against petrol-powered American superbikes in what is likely to be the first time electric and gasoline-powered motorcycles have gone head to head in an official race. But even with nearly 200 horsepower behind him, Yates has one heck of a tough job ahead of him.
Definitely one of the crowd favorites at last week’s Future of Electric Vehicles
conference was the presentation by Eva Hakkanson and Bill Dube. The highly-entertaining couple, who design and build electric racing motorcycles out of their home garage, have set some impressive records with their KillaCycle
drag bike – it currently holds the title of World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle, and is also the world’s fastest EV of any kind. The bike was on display at the conference, so we asked Eva to give us the nickel tour.
This week saw the Future of Electric Vehicles USA 2010 conference take place in San Jose, California. Billed as “the world's only event that covers all forms of electric vehicles – land, water, and air,” it included a series of presentations on new technologies, an exhibit hall, and master classes that featured trips to nearby Silicon Valley tech development firms. Gizmag was one of the main sponsors of the event, and we were there to learn more about what’s happening in the world of EVs. Here’s a quick look at some of what we took in.
Bombardier's concept for a one-wheeled self-balancing motorcycle-like vehicle called the EMBRIO
has been a long time Gizmag favorite. It was envisioned as the type of personal transportation that people might be using 20 years from now. Well, if 21 year-old inventor Ben Gulak has his way, consumers will be able to buy a similar vehicle a lot sooner. His battery electric Uno may look like a regular motorbike at higher speeds, but when it slows down, the wheels realign themselves into a side-by-side configuration – seen in profile, it looks like a unicycle. We caught up with Ben to get the latest news on the project.
Brammo has eclipsed the range capability of its pioneering Enertia electric motorcycle
with its latest commuter – the Enertia Plus. With its 6.0 kW h lithium ion battery pack the Enertia Plus achieves 80 miles (128 km) on a single charge – twice that of the original model – while only adding US$1000 to the price tag.
One of the more unique two-wheeled wonders at this year’s Intermot
show in Cologne is Third Element’s eSpire. This German bicycle features “hybrid drive,” meaning that it can be pedaled ebike-style with electric assist or
driven with a throttle, like an electric motorcycle. Its mountain bike-like frame and wheels allow for off-road adventures, but it reportedly also makes a good commuter... and oh yeah, it looks pretty cool, too.
It’s no secret that as gas prices soar and battery technology evolves, electric bikes are fast becoming the next big two-wheeled thing. That trend is clearly evidenced by the strong showing ebikes are making at this year’s Eurobike trade show, currently taking place in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Over the next several days, we’ll be showing you a few examples that we’ve spotted at the show, but to start things off... well, let’s kick out the jams and go with the “Oh come on, you can’t be serious” ebike. It called the BlackTrail, and with a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), it’s officially the world’s fastest commercially-available electric bicycle – and probably the most awesome-looking, to boot.
A few days ago, I managed to get up close and personal in Shanghai
with one of the most interesting concept cars the world has yet seen. SAIC's Yez concept car is the first automobile, concept or otherwise, that's ever been conceived to have a negative carbon footprint. That is, it removes more pollution than it creates.
Three years ago, Brammo made headlines with one of the first consumer electric motorcycles to hit the U.S. market – the US$12,000 Enertia
. Capable of 60 mph and a range of around 40 miles, the Enertia was a lightweight and fun commuter … but what a difference three years can make! Meet the Enertia's big brother, the Empulse 10.0 – a slick-looking, hard-hitting fully electric streetfighter with a sustainable top speed over 100mph and a range in excess of 100 miles on a single 2-hour charge. Available to order now, the Empulse more than doubles the Enertia's practicality, while adding a huge whack of fun to the equation. Pricing is a pleasant surprise – the top-spec model will go for US$13,995, but the final cost may be as little as US$7,000 in certain states once federal and state incentives are taken into account. We spoke to Craig Bramscher, Brammo's founder and CEO, about the Empulse, the dawn of electric motorcycle racing and the very exciting future of electric motorsport.