Kingston electric TT bike nears completion

A team of six final year students, studying for a BEng in Motorcycle Engineering Design are currently involved in developing an electric motorcycle to compete in the Isle of Man TTxGP – billed as the first zero emissions Grand Prix.

The Isle of Man is undoubtedly the most famous road race for motorcycles in the world and the race is open to teams from across the globe. Paul Brandon, the team technical director writes: "The Kingston team is currently working on several novel design solutions that we feel will give us the edge against the more established and well funded factory teams. Working with the students allows us to explore some radical ideas as they are young enough to not be set in their ways – no one has told them what they can’t do yet. Just like the humble bumble bee, where the equations of flight clearly show a bumble bee cannot fly, but no one has told the bumble bee, so she just flies!

"The design specification is for a motorcycle that will average 80mph around the 38 mile track. While on the face of it 38 miles does not seem very far, this is 38 miles at the most extreme operating envelope of the vehicle. An average car probably does 40mpg under normal road driving, but if it was then taken around Brands Hatch by Lewis Hamilton you would be lucky to get 10mpg from it. So by carrying out the development work for an electric vehicle under extreme conditions (such as racing), this will allow for a much quicker route to market for zero emissions road going vehicles that are acceptable to the general public in terms of their range and charging times.

"We currently have a ‘mule’ bike to evaluate the innovative design solutions the students have come up with and to verify all the theoretical calculations we have done (see below for a couple of links to the recent testing).

"The race actually takes place on the 12th June. Maria Costello has signed up to ride the bike, she is the fastest woman around the Isle of Man circuit and wants to win this historic race."

Tom Shelley

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