Ludicrous torque: France's hybrid rotary motorcycle concept
This concept from French company Furion pairs a twin-rotor, compact 654cc Wankel rotary engine with a 40-kilowatt electric motor to produce a massive 180 hp (134 kW) and a ludicrous 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) of instant, tire-deforming torque. Could a hybrid streetbike deliver the same kind of street lunacy as the BMW i8?
Some of the most exciting machines in the car world are using hybrid drive to get the best combination of electric's instant torque and efficiency, and the roaring emotional soundtrack, high-revving horsepower and easy refueling of a combustion engine.
Take BMW's extraordinary i8, with its compact three-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels and a smaller electric system driving the front ones. The combination makes for just about the ideal car for driving thrills at road speeds.
You don't see a lot of hybrid motorcycles, though – these sorts of systems are big, complicated and tough to squeeze into a bike frame where space is limited – which makes this set of CAD renders from Furion an interesting proposition.
To fit the whole shebang in, this team has gone for a compact rotary engine – a dual rotor, 654cc Wankel making 125 horses (93 kW), paired with a 55-hp (41-kW) electric motor to give a total of 180 hp (134 kW).
That's a lot of horses, it's up there with the new KTM 1290 Super Duke R at the top of the super-naked food chain. But as with the i8, it's the torque that matters here. If the Furion delivers on its spec sheet, you're looking at a monstrous 151 lb-ft (205 Nm). That's around 45 percent more torque than the Super Duper Duke, which is an absolute stomper in and of itself. And thanks to that electric motor, you're getting all that twisting force a lot sooner.
Power is put down through a typical six-speed transmission, and it's not clear how the two drive systems combine. Likewise, we don't know how big the lithium battery pack will be, or what all-electric range it'll have if any. However, diagrams indicate the battery pack will live under the slim seat unit, which doesn't allow space for anything very substantial.
But according to the company's calculations, the hybrid system should be great for fuel economy, with a 16-liter (4.2-gal) tank delivering more than 400 km (249 mi) of range. That's the equivalent of 4 l/100km, or just under 59 mpg.
Furion lists the wet weight of the M1 Wankel Hybrid as 209 kg (461 lb), or about 5 kg (10 lb) lighter than a fully fuelled Super Duke R. With its tasty trellis frame, digital dash, stubby bellypan exhaust and bodywork reminiscent of the Kawasaki Z series, it's not a bad looker, either.
It'll likely be complicated and fiddly to tune and service, so there are plenty of ways for this kind of concept to go wrong. But having experienced just what an awesome road car the i8 is, I'm mad keen to see what hybrid drive can bring to the bike world. I can definitely see room for a super-naked hybrid rotary streetbike in my garage, if Furion ever gets it to production, of course.
You can check out the bike's design in the video below.
Source: Furion Motorcycles