Here’s something to really twist your melon. It’s called the WMC250EV, a radical electric motorbike that’s taken traditional two-wheeled packaging, screwed it into a ball, then tossed it over its shoulder. Why? In order to go really, really fast. But also to make bikes of the future a lot more efficient.
The secret is pretty obvious: That massive hole right through the middle. It’s wild—like someone got a giant apple corer and lanced it through a motorbike’s heart. Actually, that’s exactly what a clever chap called Robert White did.
He’s been helping make fast things go faster for the last 25 years, having worked on Prodrive’s LMP1 prototypes, Aussie V8 Supercars, and Mercedes-AMG’s F1 car. But then he thought some of the clever tech the four-wheeled world has been using could be applied to two. So, he’s taken some top-flight four-wheeled racing tricks and applied them to the world of two wheels.
Let’s talk about that giant chasm through the chassis. It’s officially called V-Air—a duct at the center of the bike that forces air through the vehicle, rather than around it. The difference it makes is pretty remarkable, reducing drag by up to 70%.
It’s only possible because EV powertrains can be flexible in their size and shape, where combustion engines are fixed within the frame. So, the electric powertrain sits like a slab down below (good for center of gravity), then the duct channel sits above, while the rider makes up the rest of the silhouette, straddling the bike while mildly defecating through fear.
But there’s another benefit to this unique package: You can hook up the front wheel and force drive through that, too. So, White has done exactly that. That’s called D-Drive—two 20kW motors that power the front wheel, making this a two-wheel-drive bike. Think bike-y Quattro. Just half the wheels.
However, it’s also wired up to deliver energy recuperation via regenerative braking, just like on F1 and Le Mans cars. This isn’t possible on your run-of-the-mill motorcycle, as the front wheel isn’t connected to the drivetrain. And is normally fighting to stay on the ground.
Two 30kW AC motors power the rear wheel, so there’s 100kW total—equivalent to 134hp—in a bike that weighs 300kg and has the aerodynamic profile of a drinking straw. It’s fed by a 15kW lithium-ion battery, and most of the componentry is either made of carbon or aluminum.
White’s aim is to break both the British and world electric land speed records over the next 12 months. Former six-time world champion Max Biaggi is the man to beat. He set 11 new FIM world records with a Voxan Wattman last November. His fastest two-way mark for the EV Partially Streamlined class was 394.45kph (245.10mph) for the flying quarter-mile, with a fastest one-way speed of 407.16kph (253mph). His new record for the flying mile now stands at 366.93kph (228mph). Robert thinks 400kph+ is doable. Better hold on tight.
Smashing records and going exceedingly fast isn’t the end game, though. This aero trickery is with various lawyers around the world being patented, as it’s all applicable to road bikes for consumers down the line when the crotch-rocket world gets more and more electrified. Would you be seen riding one?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.
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