Sadly, despite the perception that there is a lot of money just waiting to be poured into 'green' projects, we have never been able to secure the correct level of funding to embark on design and build of a fully competitive motorcycle. The goal posts are continually moving as the pace of development is quite incredible, led by the Americans who are well funded due to the need to produce bikes for the Californian market where 'green' legislation is forcing progress on alternative power vehicles far ahead of anywhere else in the world. Most of the traditional motorcycle manufacturers are deliberately keeping out of it in order to not undermine their current internal combustion engine based technologies but we think that is about to change as there are clear signs that several of them are making indirect investment.
By 2012 some big companies were starting to get involved and some serious money is now required to win an E-Power road race. Lightning, Moto Czyzs, Mugen, Zong Shen and Muench all have credible bikes but we have not yet reached the point where they cannot be beaten. The ill-fated Kingston University bike I helped with before it was destroyed in a major fire at the University clearly had the potential to take them on, if not beat them, and there is a clear route to be taken using best practice and some mathematics in order to design and build a bike to make the next big jump. I know lots of people who have the right technology, skills and experience to design, build and race the bike - the one thing that is constantly missing is the money required to fund it!
I think the goals people are talking about e.g. doing a 110mph lap of the TT circuit, are well short of what can be achieved with the available technology, some applied mathematics, good race preparation, the right rider and a proper support and testing package. If someone can be found willing to fund this then our goal will be to take the outright motorcycle lap record at one circuit in the opening season. I am almost certain that is possible without relying on any further mathematical analysis. The goal at the TT would be subject to mathematical analysis but I do not think the outright lap record to be totally beyond the realms of possibility even on an extremely long high speed circuit like that. It is just a matter of calculating the energy requirement and seeing if it is possible to package that much energy into a bike of roughly normal size and weight!
The British land speed record for an electric vehicle is currently held by Dale Vince 's Nemesis car at around 150mph so taking that would just be a formality as I would expect our bike to be capable of around 200mph with little more than a gearing and fairing change, similar to the Lightning in this picture, which did 189mph in the USA last year. However, outright speed is much less of a challenge than that of making a usable superbike with realistic range and cheap, clean performance with a clear route to productionisation and the post-gasoline era of motorcycling.
If you have around £200K to spend on a very high profile green project and would like to build a full-on electric superbike and win TT-Zero and the International Championship then please get in touch for more details.
My E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.