A Bike Unlike Any Other - World's Fastest Electric Bike
Whilst electric motorcycles are struggling to break through into the mainstream market, there is one thing that can't be ignored. Anybody who has ridden one can testify to the thumping instant power and torque they deliver.
In the world of land speed records, the practicalities of range and charging times are obviously not important, it's all about delivering buckets of power to propel the machine as quickly as possible. The chase to set the world record has been gathering pace, literally, and the current record was recorded in November 2020 when ex MotoGP Rider Max Biaggi smashed the existing record riding the Voxan Wattman to a blistering outright top speed of 254mph. Impressively it was achieved on a runway at the Châteauroux airfield in France, which was just 2.17 miles long.Will Broadhead
There’s a challenger on the scene who has been beavering away in the heart of Northamptonshire for the last two years. In order to raise the record even further, they are pushing the boundaries of technology and design producing a motorcycle like nothing else you’ve seen.
White Motorcycle Concepts is a company that has set out to disrupt the automotive industry by producing significant performance and environmental benefits via aerodynamic efficiency combined with electrification. The WMC250EV is the brainchild of founder and Chief Executive Rob White, and it's the machine that he himself hopes to ride to break both the UK and Worldwide records within the next year.
The prototype WMC250EV is designed with the sole purpose of being able to travel in excess of 400 km/h, and it's quite an incredible looking machine. The basis of the design is the ultra-low drag system called V-Air, which is responsible for the crazy looking air duct that runs right through the centre of the bike. It's an ingenious design that forces air through the vehicle, as opposed to around it. Incredibly, V-Air reduces the bikes aerodynamic resistance by as much as 70% compared to a high-performance road bike according to the results of wind-tunnel testing at MIRA.
John Wiles Photography
Alongside the obvious aerodynamic benefits, the duct also increases the axial load on the front of the motorcycle. This allows the prototype to utilise what WMC calls the D-Drive motor. This unit powers the front wheel, which in turn makes it possible to harness regenerative braking energy. The WMC250EV also carries a unique F-Drive final drive system which boosts power and enhances efficiency. It’s a technology that Rob Whites says could be retrofitted to improve existing roadgoing bikes.
WMC is championing the benefits of aerodynamics and are happy to rip up the rulebook to do it.
“With a combustion-engine motorcycle, about 80% of the powertrain cannot be moved, it’s fixed within the frame,” White explains. “But in an EV you have electric motors which take up 10 to 15% of your full EV powertrain volume, and they are really the only things that need to be fixed into position, perhaps inside the wheel or in front of the rear wheel for a conventional drivetrain. But the electronics and energy storage, a significant part of any EV, can be packaged anywhere as long as it has the electrical links to the necessary components. That means you can end up with a battery pack that’s long and thin, tall, fat, square, round, triangular… It doesn’t matter as long as you have that vital energy density within the motorcycle."
This means by looking outside of the conventional design constraints can make huge differences, and as you can see the WMC250Ev is far from conventional!
For the UK record attempt, the bike is powered by a 15-kilowatt Lithium-Ion 60w battery, which feeds into two 20kW AC motors driving the front wheel and two 30KW motors driving the rear. That's a 100kW total power number which is roughly equivalent to 134bhp. That figure is noticeably lower than the 317kW (425 hp) of the Voxan Wattman, but the massive reduction in drag of the WMC machine means it requires less power to achieve the same kind of performance.
Of course, chasing world records creates headlines, but Rob White is more excited about the real-world applications that come from the company’s designs. Their WMC300FR Concept incorporates the same V-air duct into a 300cc three-wheeled scooter. “The results of this are that the duct reduces aerodynamic drag by 25%,” White says. “This equates to an 18% improvement in fuel efficiency against the 300cc from aerodynamic improvements alone and when coupled with a small hybrid system creates a significant improvement in performance that is close to that of a 500cc bike, but with 50% less CO2 emissions.”
Whilst excitement builds ahead of the speed record attempt, WMC are thinking ahead to how the tech can seep into motorcycles built for the real world. “It is a simple idea,” concludes White, “but it has huge implications for the future design of motorcycles.” This British innovation, supported by the UK’s world-leading motorsport industry, marks an important step towards the mass manufacture of non-fossil fuelled motorcycles and represents another milestone on the road to a zero-emission future.
Whilst it will be interesting to see how Rob's team develop the future of electric vehicles, We can’t wait to see the WMC250EV be put through its paces and hopefully smash the existing record. We imagine it would be quite an incredible sight to see.