In an effort to develop the world’s fastest and most aerodynamically efficient motorcycle, UK-based company White Motorcycle Concepts has developed a technologically innovative new design that is moulded around a massive duct.
Launched last week at the home of motor racing at Silverstone in England, and aimed at breaking both the British and world electric land speed records, White Motorcycle Concepts unveiled its highly anticipated WMC250EV motorcycle, which looks like no motorcycle you’ve ever seen before.
It is the brainchild of company founder and CEO Rob White, and is built around a massive duct – essentially a hole – that runs through the entire body from front to back.
Reportedly capable of speeds in excess of 400km/h and boasting a drag coefficient of a mind blowing 0.118, the WMC250EV is powered by a 15kW lithium-ion, low-voltage 60V battery, and four motors – two 20kW synchronous AC motors driving the front wheel and 2 30kW synchronous AC motors driving a chain-drive rear wheel.
Because there is a giant hole running through the middle of the bike – akin to the giant Venturi tunnels sometimes found on the higher-end hypercars – all of the bike’s inner workings have had to be built underneath the tunnel.
This not only includes the bike’s electric drivetrain and battery packs, but also steering head and forks. As such, the WMC250EV uses double-swingarm suspension for the front and back and integrates the rear chain drive transmission into the rear swingarm.
This is not just any consumer available bike, though, as it was designed specifically around the body of its rider, White, who was laser-scanned in an extreme racing crouch, allowing the design team to build the bodywork of the bike to match White’s specific frame.
White Motorcycle Concepts claims that the bike is built around “three market-disruptive technologies”, including the company’s ultra-low drag system called V-Air – aka, the bike’s big hole – as well as the D-Drive motor powering the front wheel, which allows it to harness regenerative braking, and the F-Drive final drive system which is fitted to boost power and enhance the bike’s efficiency.
It is this last technology that White Motorcycle Concepts hopes could be translated onto existing roadgoing bikes, but all the new technologies that make up the WMC250EV could, if adopted by major manufacturers, dramatically reduce CO2 emissions across the industry while helping to rapidly accelerate the mass-market decarbonisation of motorcycles across the globe.
“If you want to demonstrate to the rest of the world that you’ve just invented a new aerodynamic concept that means you can go faster for a given power, the best thing to do is go as fast you can,” said White.
“That’s why we created WMC250EV high-speed demonstrator, the most radical version of this concept, to challenge for the world land speed record.
“It is electric, as that is the pre-eminent zero emissions power source at the moment, but as the aerodynamic concept provides efficiency benefit, it could just as easily be hydrogen or any other future power source.”
“While this technology allows you to go faster, it also allows you to go much further for the same amount of energy. This has a direct and tangible benefit on C02 reduction. Market-disruptive ideas like this are uncommon, and if successful, have the potential to revolutionise industry.”
Of course, given the necessary extreme riding crouch needed to ride the prototype, we’re not likely to see Rob White riding the WMC250EV around the backroads of England. It is specifically designed for the maximum amount of drag reduction so that it can challenge the land speed record.
But White Motorcycle Concepts is already working on a real-world application for its technologies and is producing a 300cc three-wheel hybrid scooter – the WMC300FR – that includes V-Air technology and reduces drag by 25%, improving fuel efficiency by 18%.
When coupled with a small hybrid system that enhances the scooter’s performance to something close to 500cc, the scooter will be producing 50% less CO2 emissions.
“What we’ve managed to do is create something for the world market sector where people can use these vehicles in a city where the population is most effected by C02 output and pollution – and we’ve managed to cut C02 by 50% through aerodynamics and hybridisation,” said White.
Meanwhile, White and White Motorcycle Concepts will be challenging the land speed record over the next 12 months. Already well underway, White and the WMC250EV are undergoing shakedowns through the next few months in advance of an attempt on the Motorcycle Electric Semi Streamliner British Record planned for later on this year.
The company will then switch focus to the world’s largest salt flat, the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, where White will attempt to set a new mark for the Electric Semi Streamliner World Record in July 2022.
“What started off as some sketches of an idea I was pondering, has become an initiative that can potentially change the motorcycle industry,” said White.
“I’ve always loved speed, and motorcycles. The challenge of breaking the world record satisfies a tenacity to achieve great things. But more importantly, it’s the perfect way to practically demonstrate that the theory behind this technology works.”