EV motorcycle targets world record with unique aero concept

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UK-based White Motorcycle Concepts (WMC), founded by ex-Formula 1 engineer Rob White, has unveiled its WMC250 EV concept at Silverstone, with a target of claiming the British and world land speed records for an electric semi-streamliner motorcycle.

White’s design is built around a unique aerodynamic concept, dubbed V-Air, which sees air ducted directly through the bike’s body via a venturi tunnel reminiscent of Ben Bowlby’s Nissan GTR LM LMP1 car. The team states that the feature nets a reduction in drag of up to 70% compared with a traditional body style, producing an impressive drag coefficient of 0.117 CdA.

“It is a simple design, but very efficient,” said White. “It is based around a reduction in frontal area due to the venturi duct that runs front to back.” Key to making the concept work is a hub center steer system for the front wheel, which removes the blockage that would normally be created by a conventional fork.

The aerodynamics are not the only innovation. The bike features two pairs of hub-mounted motors, which, says White, when coupled with the downforce generated by the duct in the nose, give a huge traction benefit, not least because the bike can produce five times more load on the front axle than a conventional motorcycle, with far less drag.

The initial concept designs envisaged a small capacity, turbocharged IC engine, but advances in battery and motor technology made the EV route more appealing. The first configuration of the bike uses two 30kW motors on the rear axle and two 20kW units on the front, and the team is confident that coupled with the low drag design, the 100kW total will result in a considerably higher top speed than could be achieved with a conventional bike.

The intent is to run the bike on salt flats in Bolivia, where the two-wheel-drive powertrain will prove a definite boon, maximizing traction on the compressible and relatively low-traction salt surface. WMC’s current target is for a record attempt in July 2022.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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