Saturday, March 28, 2009

CAF-E: Tim Cameron’s supercharged hybrid motorcycle concept

The CAF-E concept bike uses a supercharged parallel twin mated to an electric motor

Pics: Tim Cameron

Tim Cameron, the Aussie motorcycle designer who’s earlier done bikes like the Travertson V-Rex and VR-2 (both of which are now in production, in the US), is now on to his next machine – the CAF-E. In addition to style and performance, the CAF-E hybrid motorcycle concept has been designed for better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Since it’s a petrol-electric hybrid, the CAF-E is powered by a parallel-twin engine with twin superchargers and an electric motor that’s fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. ‘It is a 'parallel hybrid,' meaning the petrol engine and the electric motor work together to provide the driving power,’ says Cameron. ‘The secret to this arrangement is the transmission, based around Toyota's clever 'Synergy Drive,' a computer-controlled planetary gear arrangement that combines the output of both powerplants seamlessly according to load and conditions. It is a stepless CVT type of transmission, which also makes it very compact and ideal for a motorcycle application,’ he adds.

‘Motorcycles are already an economical transport ‘alternative’ but what if you could buy something that could not only out-perform everything else on the road, but at the same time got double or even triple the mpg of existing machines whilst putting out less emissions?’ says Cameron. ‘The hybrid technology I’m showcasing in the CAF-E has already been proven in the car world and I don’t think the CAF-E would be that expensive to produce. Toyota, Honda and General Motors have already shelled out huge amounts of money to develop the technology in the first place – I’m just adapting it over to two wheels. I envisage something like this costing upper-range Harley money,’ he concludes.

Yup, sounds interesting. We hope the CAF-E will make the transition from concept bike to production reality soon. We wish Tim and his team all the very best for this project!
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