The Zero Race
will see contestants dash around the globe in 80 days in zero emission, electric powered vehicles... and one of the most distinctive entries is the Zerotracer. Designed by a group of engineers from Winterthur, Switzerland, the Zerotracer is an electric motorcycle that encloses its two occupants in a Kevlar shell and is capable of a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) and a range of 350 km (217 miles) on a single charge.
While electric motorbikes
are creeping steadily into the marketplace, most of the ones we’ve seen here on Gizmag have been designed either as commuters
or for some weekend fun in the dirt
. What we haven’t
seen so much are electrics made for haulin' – something motorcycles are relied on heavily for in many parts of the world. How did you know I was going to say “until now”?
American Michael Czysz has been building two-wheeled masterpieces for many years, though the cruel reality of racing has meant that the distinctly proletarian budgets he has had at his disposal have always been directly compared to the hundreds of millions spent by the likes of Honda, Yamaha, Ducati et al. Widely considered the “man most likely” for almost too long, his electric motorcycle took its first BIG win in the Isle of Man TT Zero race a few hours ago when it blitzed the competition, demonstrating 135 mph top speeds and went within a whisker of the GBP10,000 prize for the first 100 mph lap of the Island circuit. Most significantly, the MotoCzysz team demonstrated the massive performance leap electric bikes have taken over the last 12 months as the second IOM electric race, albeit under a different guise (original creators of electric racing, TTxGP
now has several international series running
) saw the average winning speed jump more than 10% from 87.434 mph
to 96.820 mph.
The era of electric motorcycle racing which began at the Isle of Man
in June last year has grown into a world series road race for 2010. On May 16th, history was made as TTXGP
North America Round 1 took place at the Infineon Raceway in California. It was the first-ever electric superbike race to take place in that continent.
American manufacturer ZEV has issued a fairly blunt challenge to other electric motorcycle manufacturers such as Vectrix
, Zero Motorcycles
, by claiming to have the fastest and most powerful production electric scooter on the market in its US$7237 ZEV7000. "We tell them to bring their street legal production bike and to bring their betting money. There can be only one "fastest" street legal production electric motor scooter or bike in the world."
The yogo, by fledgling British company econogo, is the UK's first and only full production electric scooter that has removable lithium batteries. What’s so good about that? Well, instead of having to run an extension lead from a mains electricity socket inside the house or garage, the yogo’s removable battery allows owners to recharge their scooter’s battery inside their home - or office, which greatly increases the flexibility of a scooter that only has a range of 22 miles per battery charge. Carry another charged battery with you and double the distance you can travel before having to recharge (it only takes an hour). With a top speed of 38mph, the Yogo’s 1.5kW motor is billed as the equivalent of 100cc motorbike.
Things seem to be going well for US-based electric motorcycle company Zero Motorcycles which has debuted its 2010 lineup consisting of four new bikes at Daytona Bike Week. The new Zero S, DS, X and MX are equipped with performance enhancements that allow for higher top speeds and greater acceleration than earlier models
and feature enhanced power pack technology.
The highly innovative TTXGP organization, which has already created several national and international electric motorcycle racing series, continues to show the way forward for the future of motorsport management. In yet another groundbreaking move, TTXGP has acknowledged the limitations of committee-based systems for framing rules, and created a wiki that allows global input to be filtered through technical expertise to frame a better set of rules for everyone. “Rules are core to keeping a championship alive with innovation and competition,” said TTXGP’s Azhar Hussain on the TTXGP web site
. “It's crucial that for TTXGP to thrive, we have a rules framework that is inclusive and sensitive to the needs of all the stakeholders.”
Once you throw out the internal combustion engine and all the bulky bits that go with it, the definition of a motorcycle can suddenly become a lot wider. Take the Comoto from Hirsch Design - it's even smaller than the Zero S
bike, and begins to blur the boundaries between motorcycle and mountainbike. Using an electric motor mounted in the rear wheel hub to eliminate the need for a chain drive, the Comoto can do more than 40mph (65kph) and do just over 30 miles (~50km) on a charge under normal riding conditions. Best of all, it weighs just 118 pounds (53kg), making it one of the lightest motorcycles we've seen.
The world is crying out for some decent folding electric bike designs and predictably, given its two-wheeled heritage, Robrady Design has delivered one of the best we’ve seen so far. Secondary transport solutions that are light and electric and can fold into small spaces are naturally an important part of the transportation equation of the future – Robrady designed the db0 for Taiwanese company DK City
and it’ll be on the market within two months.