"Big hole" land speed electric motorcycle hits the track for first tests
There's no bike on earth remotely like the bizarre WMC250EV, an electric land speed racer built to slash aerodynamic drag by taking the radical step of tunneling a giant hole through the middle of it. The target speed is 250 mph (402 km/h), and its creators say its huge Venturi tunnel reduces drag by an astonishing 69 percent compared against "the world leading motorcycle."
The whole bike has been designed around this giant hole, which sits right where a lot of the components of a motorcycle usually would. White Motorcycle Concepts has done some design-sheet gymnastics to make the whole thing work, squashing not only the battery, dual motors, drivetrain and electronics, but also the suspension and a hydraulic hub steering system, into the bottom of the chassis.
Indeed, WMC founder and chief rider Rob White doesn't escape a good squashing himself, thanks to a rather extreme riding position that places his torso nearly horizontal. Nothing obstructs the tunnel, so air is free to go through, and the result is a drag coefficient of 0.118. That's an absolutely tiny figure, and it was recorded with White on board, in his leathers.
Currently, the WMC250EV is running an "interim low-voltage powertrain" at 60 volts, making about 100 kW (137 hp). That'll be replaced with something about 2.5 times as powerful when it's time to go record-hunting next year.
Recently, the team moved to start testing the thing on track at the storied Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in the UK. First on the agenda was to make sure everything worked, which it did. The bike will go on to do some medium- and high-speed testing with the current powertrain; aerodynamics tend to be much more important than horsepower when it comes to high speeds, so the team is confident they'll learn plenty even without the eventual 250-kW (335-hp) powertrain they'll be fitting in time.
We asked White what this oddity is like to ride. "Our early tests are on the Bruntingthorpe two-mile runway, but it is also required to go around the whole circuit, so it needs to be able to turn. Given the motorcycle is designed to work primarily in a straight line for the land speed record, it's surprisingly nimble,” he told us. "As the speed increases, the motorcycle becomes increasingly stable as the aero loads become more influential."
"The seat has the same height as an R6, though this optically looks higher due to the nature of the design," he continues. "The upper torso position is similar to that of a Moto3 rider, although there is an extreme foot and leg position. Straight ahead vision is completely clear in the squat."
WMC has captured a video of the testing, which can be seen below.
Source: White Motorcycle Concepts