Evo has been doing a pretty interesting Car vs. Bike track battle series. The latest installment is particularly interesting because they put a KTM motocross bike up against some rally cars. Up first is a hardcore Safari rally gravel spec 240Z followed by a tarmac spec Mitsubishi Evolution. I won’t spoil the results, but it’s interesting to see how the driving styles are changed for running long travel suspension and gravel tires on tarmac. There’s also a jump on the course where the effects of vehicle weight on speed are hyper amplified.
The prototype for the Mission RS first appeared 2 years ago as the Mission Motors Mission R. Since then, the company has changed names and turned the prototype into a production bike. I would say that the Mission RS is the two wheel equivalent of the Tesla Model S. What I mean by that is the Mission RS offers equivalent performance of an internal combustion powered sport bike without compromise. The performance is good straight up, not just when compared to other electric powered motorcycles. Mission spec’ed the same Ohlins NX30 fork, Ohlins TTX36 shock, Brembo brakes and Marchesini forged wheels as Ducati’s 1199 Panigale R. Weight is minimized by having all of the parts of the frame be stressed structural members. Power is provided by a 120 kilowatt 3-phase AC motor which puts down 160 horsepower and and 130 foot-pounds of torque to the rear wheel through a single gear ratio. A modular, passively cooled battery pack lives in the center of the frame and is available up to a 17 kilowatt-hour capacity. To put that into perspective, the Mission RS’s battery capacity is between the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. The result is a real world range of 140 miles and a top speed of 150 mph (not at the same time). Jay Leno got to take the bike out for some street impressions:
And here’s somebody with more racing chops taking it around the Wilzig Racing Manor:
Chip Yates is a bit of a rock star in the world of electric vehicles. He started out as an engineer for McLaren Automotive before becoming a professional motorcycle racer at the World Superbike level at the age of 36. A broken pelvis sustained in a crash brought an end to his racing career and into the field of electric vehicles. Chip gathered some of his friends and spent his savings building a motorcycle for a new electric racing series forming in California. His new bike proved so fast that it was banned from the series before it even started. Undaunted, Yates entered the bike in a race against traditional gas combustion powered motorcycles where he nabbed two podium finishes. Chip continued to push the boundaries of electric motorcycle performance with a land speed record at Bonneville and a record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Check out this interview that Chip did with Motor Trend where he tells the stories of his start and success in the electric vehicle world. There’s even footage from the electric airplane he built by putting the UQM motor from his electric motorcycle in an old Burt Rutan VariEze home-built kit plane. He burned up his battery pack setting the world speed record for electric airplanes before having to make an emergency landing.
Campagna Motors of Quebec stops by Jay Leno’s garage to showcase the latest iteration of their reverse-trike T-Rex. New for 2013 is the 1.6 liter inline-6 BMW engine from their sport touring motorcycles. Campagna is able to work with BMW to buy crate engines instead of disassembling whole motorcycles like they did with their Kawasaki engines in previous years. The larger inline-6 produces more torque and power which makes it better suited for the T-Rex which weighs about twice as much as a motorcycle. It’s kind of funny, the exhaust tone still sounds similar to the inline-6 in BMW cars. The I6 is a very fascinating engine layout because it is naturally very balanced which lends itself to smooth revving and the ability to hold a lot of boost from forced induction. Unfortunately, many car makers have switched from inline-6’s to V6’s for packaging reasons. Inline-6’s are too long to be turned sideways to power front wheel drive cars. BMW still loves to use them because they only make rear wheel drive cars. Since BMW wisely overlaps many of their car and motorcycle development resources, it was only natural that they created this 1.6 liter inline-6 for their bread and butter sport touring motorcycles. It just so happens that it’s also an ideal engine for the many motorcycle/car hybrids coming to market like the T-Rex and the Monotracer. These types of vehicles are starting to get a lot more popular for their combination of motorcycle performance and gas mileage with car safety and practicality.
The podium for the 2013 Isle of Man TT Zero electric motorcycle time trial looks a lot like the 2012 podium. MotoCzysz took the top place with their E1PC and Mugen/Honda came in second with their revised Shinden Ni (the Japanese god of lightning). The Isle of Man TT YouTube channel released some on-board footage from both bikes that should dispel a lot of notions about electric vehicles being slow and not sounding very cool.
Here’s Michael Rutter on the MotoCzysz E1PC:
This is Isle of Man TT Master John McGuiness on the Mugen Shinden Ni: