Will this be the fastest electric drag bike?
Having held the record for the fastest electric drag bike in 2011, Phil Edwards is setting his sights on breaking it again with a new and improved racer.
“It came about by accident really,” said Phil Edwards, Project Director of Fast Charge. “I was combining my love of design and engineering with a hobby that involved restoring 1980s Japanese 4-cylinder bikes.
“Browsing the internet in late 2009, I discovered Alternative Energy Racing at Santa Pod and, digging around a bit more, was fascinated by the home-built and university-led projects where people were converting existing sports bikes to electric power. I liked the idea, saw that Kingston University were currently the fastest in the UK – which gave me a target to aim for – and decided to see if I could beat them.”
In May 2011, Phil and his team recorded a time of 14.124 seconds for a standing-start quarter-mile run at Santa Pod Raceway, a terminal speed of 96.53 mph. This was comfortably faster than Kingston’s 14.99 seconds, although the pioneering university regained their title later that year.
Phil, however, is back for more. Having spent the past few years getting Fast Charge off the ground, his latest attempt to break the electric bike drag speed record is now in full swing.
“We finally got underway properly in May 2015,” he said. “Yes, it takes a long time to get a project this big off the ground, and we’re aiming to do bench testing in spring and start slow-speed running on the track in July or August.”
The Fast Charge project is using and developing technology that is yet to be applied to electric motorcycles.
Laila Duffy – formerly of Kingston University’s Ion Horse project – has been working on the capacitor pack for Fast Charge since June of last year. She explained: “The raison d’etre for us is to provide a fast acceleration method for heavy vehicles such as trucks and trains. However, the technology in a shrunken form should be able to provide a reserve for harsh acceleration in an electric motorbike, and possibly in a hybrid motorbike.
“The capacitors would act in the same way as the float in carburettors: drain during acceleration, and refill once cruising again, for example.”
Modifying technology for which its primary intention is heavy-duty machinery creates obvious potential to make an extremely powerful motorcycle. It could also offer a glimpse into the future for the development of high-performance electric bikes.
An experience like no other
Riding a motorcycle powered by a capacitor designed for trains and industrial mining equipment is, not surprisingly, an experience like no other. Although more conventional electric bikes are hardly the baby cousins of the Virgin Pendolino train, they do pack a punch.
When asked how riders can be convinced to go electric, Phil simply said what Ted Foreman, Alex Hogg and the Zero guys said: try it for yourself.
“Riding an electric bike is a good way to convert people as they are amazing to ride and huge fun, but you’ve got to get bums-on-seats for that to happen so someone has to make an up-front commitment to offer their customers the chance.”
To find out more about Weald’s record-breaking electric motorcycles head to weald-tech.co.uk
Main image credit www.BlackettPhotography.com