Most electric motorcycles these days, even the top performing electric race bikes, still rely on reprogramming the same controller that is found in other more basic electric vehicles, such as fork lift trucks.
Why can’t electric vehicles benefit from the same sophisticated electronics as their high performance petrol counterparts? A SuperBike has extremely configurable engine management and data logging capabilities coupled with traction and launch control, etc.
We know that maintaining a high speed drains the battery more rapidly due to a combination of high motor rpm and the force needed to overcome the wind resistance at speed.
If the traction control system can help the motorcycle find grip in the corner to allow it to accelerate earlier then it won’t need to reach the same high speeds in order to match a given lap time. This should result in a valuable saving in battery power meaning the machine can maintain its performance for longer.
We are building an Engine Control Unit that can be easily configured yet is capable of not only managing the power delivery itself, but also the crucial task of safely monitoring the current, voltage and temperature of the connected batteries, controllers and motors.
What’s more we believe that proven traction and launch control strategies can be adapted to give a significant performance improvement for electric vehicles as well.
The benefits from using sophisticated electronics aren’t just related to performance and safety. The additional of WiFi and BlueTooth connectivity mean the machines can be reconfigured, or logged data downloaded, the moment it pulls in to the pits.
We are looking at premises in the Silverstone area and plan to hire a number of local electrical engineers with F1 and related backgrounds and are also looking at bolstering the team with a number of graduates.
We will sell a plug in engine control unit for OEMs and other companies that wish to build electric vehicles and also complete electric power trains.
Initially the control unit will be for high performance electric motorcycles but we plan to expand it to electric cars and, eventually, even their high performance petrol equivalents.
The TSB investment will make a major contribution to building a highly capable team of electronic and power train engineers to develop this unit. By association it will add to the credibility of our project and will help educate our leadership team and support us in finding additional investment to put our designs in to production.