If you want to know what the future of electric motorcycling looks like, you’ll need to get a closer look at the MotoCzysz E1pc. The 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc, a race bike built by a tiny Oregonian company focused on pushing the limits of electric performance to the absolute max.
A futuristic-looking electric bike packs 10 times the battery capacity of a Toyota Prius and 2.5 times the torque of a Ducati 1198. For some perspective, the bike’s closest electric competitor in this week’s Isle of Man TT motorcycle competition reached a top speed of 102 MPH during practice.
However, last year, the Isle of Man TT hosted the first ever all-electric motorcycle road race, and MotoCzysz was there with the E1pc’s predecessor. But while the machines that entered were technically impressive, their performance wasn’t.
The race-winning team only averaged 87 MPH, well short of the 100 MPH watershed that defines a serious lap and way behind the 131.5 MPH lap record set by the fastest gas-powered superbikes. MotoCzysz didn’t even complete a full lap, suffering an electric spike from their experimental kinetic energy recovery system that fried the bike’s electronic control unit (ECU).
“We overreached and it bit us in the ass,” said Czysz of last year’s race. “We’re trying to do too much with too little, we’re effectively building a Formula One level machine with one engineer, two machinists, one CAD guy, me and a body dude.”
That was a major blow for Czysz (pronounced “sizz”). Five months of whirlwind effort from the former motorcycle racer and architect and his small team in Portland saw them abruptly transition away from developing a 200 HP, gasoline-powered MotoGP bike to produce a fully electric motorcycle that blew the zero emissions competition away standing still.
And now Michael Czysz, the MotoCzysz’s founder, CEO and the driving force behind the E1pc, has made the motorcycle so advanced that all the major parts of the E1pc — from its motor and battery packs to even its aerodynamics — are all new and class-leading. But the real trick is that Michael Czysz and co have been integrating all those into a whole that actually looks and functions like a motorcycle should.
For example, the batteries, obviously key in any electric vehicle, is connected without wires and thus can be easily swapped out in seconds. The batteries are hand assembled by a company that develops for NASA and its electric motor runs at nearly 500 volts which is powerful enough to turn a wrench into a pile of molten metal.
The DC internal permanent magnet motor, which Czysz calls “D1g1tal Dr1ve,” is small enough to hide within the swingarm beneath the rear shock. The oil-cooled motor makes more power and torque than all three air-cooled motors in last year’s E1pc combined, while being smaller than one of them individually. It develops its 100 HP and 250 Lb-Ft of torque continuously.
How fast? During practice this week, it reached a top speed of 140 MPH — besting its closest electric competitor’s 102 MPH. The E1pc also clocked a 94.6 MPH lap, tantalizingly close to the 100 MPH goal. And the E1pc completed that lap. But that’s not the most amazing thing: the E1pc motorcycle ran that time while using, on average, less than 40 percent of its throttle and crossed the finish line, according to Czysz, with “plenty in reserve.”
“A bike has a relationship with the rider and a balance that is way beyond cars and computers, so you can’t just randomly shove stuff around and hope it works,” describes Czysz. “You have to work around the batteries, they’re they largest component, the heaviest component and the most important component.”
Eventually, MotoCzysz plans to develop a range of production electric motorcycles, but right now it’s about proving ideas, inventing technology and laying the groundwork for a future electric motorcycle industry. [MotoCzysz via Popular Science]