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.
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.”