Tuesday, March 17, 2009

EV-0 RR: Sexing-up the battery-powered racebike


Can electric motors be made to look as sexy as the good old IC engine...?

Why don’t most of us get all fired up about electric bikes? Umm... probably because almost all battery-powered electric bike contraptions looks a bit… dweeb-ish. Unlike blenders, mixers, washing machines or other similar appliances, motorcycles have to be about more than just the utility factor – they also have to get the blood racing in our veins, they have to make our hearts beat faster.

Right now, electric bikes need to be sexed-up a bit and that’s exactly what the UK-based Xenophya are trying to do with the EV-0 RR, which they’ve designed for Evo Design Solutions Ltd. The bike will be raced at the first Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix (TTXGP) at the Isle of Man, on the 12th of June this year. (More details here)

According to Mark Wells, Senior Partner at Xenophya Design, their brief was to create evocative and exciting images which would get sponsors to buy into the concept. ‘The images represent how the race bike might look, although it is still in development and as with all race bikes it will evolve considerably during the design process, but based on the positive feedback so far I think we have managed to fulfil our brief,’ he says.

‘We really feel the trick with zero emissions vehicles, at this stage in their development, is to give motorcyclists (and petrolheads in general) what they know, and more importantly, love. This is why the illustrations we have made for the EV-0RR are very ‘MotoGP’ in proportion and stance. Everything from the General Motors EV1 in the 90s, to the Prius and the Seymour Powell ENV Hydro bike and even the Mission One TTXGP entry, are so desperately trying to communicate their innovation and ‘electricness’ through semantics,’ says Mark.

‘I don’t look at a bike and get turned on or off by the measurement of g/km of carbon dioxide are emitted, I really don’t care. I love two-strokes for the way they only deliver power in a small powerband. Equally I love big inline-fours because of the ‘point and squirt, world goes backwards’ experience. I get excited by bikes; that’s my passion, so give me a bike. If that bike has a torque curve like a table top (as an electric motor will) then I’m interested in it irrelevant of whether it runs on fresh air or by burning endangered tree frogs from the Amazon…,’ he adds.

The EV-0 RR features a monocoque chassis, single-sided front and rear suspension and twin electric motors. We do think the bike looks good and it could actually be quite fast as well. Will it find a place next to the Ducati 1198S, Desmosedici RR, MV Agusta F4 CC and 2009 Yamaha R1 in our dream garage? Er… to be honest, no. What in the world would we ever do without all that noise that comes out from those Yoshimura, Akrapovic and Racefit cans…
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