Student-built electric motorbikes complete round-the-world journey

8 pictures

The Storm bike has a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph)(Credit: TU Eindhoven/Bart van Overbeeke)

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If you're creatively minded and looking to push the boundaries of electric vehicle technologies, there are more than a few ways to do it. You could build an 18-rotor personal flying machine, for example, or whip up some electric off-road rollerblades. Or you could develop a pair of electric motorbikes and then ride them all the way around the world. This was the challenge taken up by a group of 23 students from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, who have today rolled into town bringing a momentous 80-day journey to an end.

In the center of Eindhoven on August 14, the team waved goodbye to a crowd of well-wishing onlookers and embarked on a 23,000 km (14,291 mi) road trip. The pre-planned route would take them through Europe, onto Central Asia, into North America before circling back to Eindhoven.

The path was ridden by a pair of self-built electric motorbikes called Storm. The bikes are powered by swappable 28.5 kWh battery packs developed by the students. This propels them along at up to 160 km/h (99 mph) and for 380 km (236 mi) before needing a recharge, which was catered for by local power grids along the way.

The students experienced a slight complication on the second day of the trip, when a malfunctioning inverter stopped them in their tracks. A full day and two nights of tinkering in Vienna got them back on the road and from a technical perspective, that would be the last of the hiccups.

Throughout their travels the students had their motorbike appear on Times Square billboards in New York, traverse the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and catch the attention of friendly locals in Iran and China. They report that the bike preformed better than expected and worked perfectly across the journey, and what a journey that was.

You can see the Storm bikes in action in the Kyrgyzstan leg of the journey in the video below.

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