Electric Motorcycle Racing

The racing world now has a worldwide electric motorcycle racing championship, the TTXGP eGrandPrix.  This organization has race championships in Europe, North America and Australia.  The racing format has two classes, TTXGP and TTX75, that are very similar.  The only real difference is that the TTX75 is limited to a 7.5Kw battery pack.  Each area has had at least one race meet and the championship points are being tracked here.

I am involved in the Australian Championship with the Voltron Racing team.  Dr Chris Jones has built a TTX75 class bike in his own shed from a 1985 Suzuki RG250 (yes the same as my donor bike).  Chris lives in Perth Western Australia and all the race events are in the Eastern States so I am garaging and transporting the bike to each meet this year.  Chris is using a Dual Agni motor setup on his bike and before the next race meet we have to replace the motors, balance them and set the correct advance for the brushes.  This will be a lot of work and we only have a short time to do it, I will try and get as much done on the bike prior to Chris’ arrival about two days before the next event.  Anyone that wants to see the future of racing should drop down to Winton Raceway in Victoria on the 2nd to 4th of September.

If you don’t believe this is the future of racing let me make the following points:

  • The lack of noise is a good thing.  Ask any local racing body what their biggest issue is, they will tell you that it is the local noise pollution regulations.  The local Hill Climb clubhas noise sensors installed around the track by the local government.  If they go over certain thresholds they loose the right to run all their race meets that season.  Race tracks are away from population centers making it harder to attract a crowd.  Young people cannot get to the track for racing, practice etc without significant involvement from parents or sponsors.  Go-Karting in Australia is suffering a rapid decline at the moment, this sport which is the breading ground for all top level racers is looking like dying.Now imagine a world where the dirt bike tracks, go-kart tracks and road race circuits could be located where the current BMX and skate parks are!  The ability to get new blood into the sport, to attract the the casual onlooker has just increased massively.  This can only be good for the sport as a whole.The other side effect of low noise is the crowd involvement.  Ask a footballer, swimmer, runner about how the crowd motivates them.  They will all talk about the crowd being behind them and the effect that has.  Now motor racing does not have that over the noise of the engine the riders and drivers are cocooned away from the crowd by the noise.  Imagine if Rossi or Stoner could hear the crowd on the final lap!
  • Cost of racing for electric is a lot lower than internal combustion.  Initial purchase price of a race vehicle is a very small part of running a that vehicle for a season.  Some of the consumables for racing are much the same, tyres, brakes, suspension tuning and components and race fees.  However what is radically different is the mechanical drive components.  Currently all electric race bikes and cars are a direct drive arrangement with no gearbox.  This means for a motorcycle the only components that move in the drive train is the motor shaft, chain and back wheel.  If you are running a hub motor like the Catavoltthen the only moving part is the rear wheel.  Think about this, no pistons, no rings, no valves, no crankshaft, no clutch, no gearbox, no synchro rings and no fuel pumps.  This greatly reduces the amount of maintenance work and cost that has to be performed between race meets.Although batteries are expensive and make up the majority of the initial cost of the bike even the worst of them will allow for over 500 charge/discharge cycles.  If you had a 10 meet championship with 3 races at each meet that is only 30 cycles.  Say you test the bike 4 times between each meet that would be another 40 cycles.  That means approx 70 cycles per season so over 7  years of racing on that one battery pack.  Even if you halved that you get a better life span than any internal combustion engine used for racing.  You would probably not run the same battery for more than 2 years or you would be well behind the technology curve, but your old battery could be sold to the go-karting race teams or any other feeder class.
  • These bikes are the fastest improving race format in the world.  Mission Motors at Laguna Seca was 15 seconds faster than last years best lap time and every team was significantly faster than their time last year.  Mission’s qualifying time of 1:31.3 would have placed the Mission R fifth on the weekend’s AMA Pro Supersport grid (FIM race at the same event) and is just 10 seconds off of the MotoGP Pole.  This is for a race format that was started in 2009 with the first race at the Isle of Man.

So I say to you all that if you want to be on the cutting edge of racing technology and a revolution in motorsports then now is the time to get involved.

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3 thoughts on “Electric Motorcycle Racing”

  1. “if you want to be on the cutting edge of racing technology and a revolution in motorsports then now is the time to get involved.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself! Great post.

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