WMC and Mahle partner for electric "big hole" three-wheel police scooter
Following the development and rollout of a "big hole" hybrid three-wheeled scooter for police and emergency services, UK-based R&D outfit White Motorcycle Concepts has teamed up with Mahle Powertrain to produce a fully electric version.
Like the hybrid WMC300FR that was developed in collaboration with Northamptonshire Police, the upcoming electric scoot will be based on a Yamaha Tricity 300 tilting three-wheeler, and will include a central air duct design inspired by drag-reduction technology from White Motorcycle Concepts' electric land speed moto, the WMC250EV.
That means a gaping hole – or V-Duct – running through the middle of the electric scooter to cut down on drag as it zips along. While the focus for the record attempt is increasing top speed, the idea with this iteration is to get more range per charge, with the project engineers aiming for at least 100 miles (160 km). And the plan is to include fast-charging capabilities too, so the ride is ready to roll as quickly as possible.
Coming up with the best electric drivetrain for the tilting three-wheeler will be the job of technicians at Mahle Powertrain, who will analyze real-world data in a virtual environment to select the optimum mix of components and technologies for this specific use case. So why not just adapt an e-scoot or e-moto already in production?
"Existing electric motorcycles have been designed with the retail market in mind, and can be both expensive and slow to charge," said Mahle's head of research and advanced engineering, Jonathan Hall. "Because emergency services require high levels of availability and have an unpredictable demand, retail electric motorcycles are unlikely to present a cost-effective solution."
Various battery, charging and motor options will be looked into, as well as how best to squeeze them into the modified Tricity 300's chassis. It's early days, but the collaboration has confirmed that recycled carbon fiber will be used in the e-scoot's construction, the aim is to make use of a "downsized battery pack" to reduce the need for rare earth minerals, and the traction motor and transmission that make it through the selection process will be installed in a new rear swingarm.
That's about all White Motorcycle Concepts and Mahle Powertrain have shared for the moment, but we do know that the feasibility part of the process is due to close next month, after which project will move to prototyping and eventually to limited series production.
The hybrid WMC300FR scooter fleet has already allowed officers in Northamptonshire to become more visible in the area's communities, and it's expected the all-electric version will meet with similar success. Riders won't require any special training or additional permits, and the Metropolitan Police has indicated its suitability for high-speed work, even with fully packed panniers.
The tilting "big hole" e-scoot is not just being developed for police officers and emergency first responders either, it could also find use in inner city package delivery operations. The project is being funded by the Niche Vehicle Network, with support from the Department for Transport and Innovate UK.
Source: White Motorcycle Concepts