Posted: 17 Dec 2010 09:00 PM PST
Hi guys, Paul here. The world of electric powered motor vehicles is quickly becoming a thriving market again after first being mass-produced in the mid-19th century. The golden age for electric automobiles lasted from the 1860′s until the 1930′s, when oil barons bought up the electric vehicle and train companies so they could close the businesses, dismantle the infrastructure, and destroy the market so they could replace them with the polluting gasoline and diesel cars, trucks, and trains. While oil companies keep trying to quash the return of electric vehicles, including Chevron’s purchase of the NiMH battery patent to control and prevent its use in automobiles, the “re-discovery” of the benefits and abilities of electrically powered vehicles continues to this day.
The latest in the revival efforts is the electric motorcycle. The TTXGP is an all-electric motorcycle racing series. The aim of the series is to “stimulate technical development that will feed through into successful commercial products for all.” This is primarily achieved through the Mavizen brand of electric motorcycle as they are “the technology, advisory and consulting arm of The eGrandPrix” (TTXGP). Essentially meaning that they are one and the same, at least in the eyes of Chip Yates.
Chip Yates is the rider of the Swigz.com Pro Racing team which was one of the first racing teams to sign up for the TTXGP US Championship 2010 and also the TTXGP UK Championship 2010 in November 2009 using their own motorcycle that they would design and build. As the build progressed, they decided to not race in 2010 and instead use the year to fine tune their motorcycle in anticipation of the 2011 season. The build was publicized on several media sources including their own YouTube channel. The result, a motorcycle that makes 194 horsepower, 295 foot-pounds of torque, and weighs 585 pounds, was first unveiled in October 2010.
In November 2010, only a few months before the start of the 2011 season, the TTXGP eGrandPrix introduced a change in their rule book setting a maximum weight limit of 250 kilograms (550 lbs.) that effectively banned the use of Mr. Yates’ motorcycle. The previous weight limit was 300 kilograms (660 lbs.)
“The TTXGP series has taken a turn away from innovation and towards more of a spec racing series of low performance machinery, that is not for us. We have developed a true superbike with real technology that shouldn’t be hampered at this early stage by rule makers with a conflict of interest” says Mr. Yates as he expresses his disappointment about the rule change. “I contacted them to protest… they told me that it would not affect any of their current competitors except me.”
A similar rule change caused the demise of the MotoCzysz C1 990 in 2009 when the MotoGP rules were changed to limit the maximum bore size of an engine to 81mm, the MotoCzysz C1 990 has a bore of 82mm. After the rule was announced the MotoCzysz team abandoned their entry into MotoGP and turned all of their efforts to electric motorcycles, culminating in their winning of the 2010 Isle of Man TT Zero, a one lap race for motorcycles with zero-carbon emissions on the Isle of Man TT course.
The Swigz.com Pro Racing Team hopes to mimic the tenacity and cunning displayed by the MotoCyzsz team by taking the Swigz.com Electric Superbike in a new direction and to a new series. The team announced on December 9, 2010 that they will be racing their motorcycle in the WERA Motorcycle Road racing series against gasoline powered motorcycles, not in a special electric-only division. The first competition will be January 9, 2011 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California during the WERA Pirelli Sportsman Heavyweight Twins Superbike race.
Can the Swigz.com Electric Superbike remain competitive long-term against gasoline powered motorcycle? With a planned 20 percent horsepower increase to 233 HP at the end of January, I think it has a chance, at least until the rules are changed.
Check back for more updates.
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