Motorcycles

Voxan and Max Biaggi take aim at the electric motorcycle land speed record

A partially streamlined version of a Voxan Wattman
A partially streamlined version of a Voxan Wattman
View 5 Images
Max "The Emperor" Biaggi will pilot the Voxan Wattman in its land speed record attempt
1/5
Max "The Emperor" Biaggi will pilot the Voxan Wattman in its land speed record attempt
A partially streamlined version of a Voxan Wattman
2/5
A partially streamlined version of a Voxan Wattman
The Voxan Wattman launches in Paris in 2013
3/5
The Voxan Wattman launches in Paris in 2013
The Voxan Wattman electric power cruiser
4/5
The Voxan Wattman electric power cruiser
Designed in Monaco, built in France
5/5
Designed in Monaco, built in France

When Voxan launched its Wattman electric motorcycle back in 2013, it staked a claim as the most powerful electric motorcycle in the world with its 200 horsepower (150 kW) and ludicrous 200 Nm (148 lb ft) of torque available from zero up to 10,500 rpm. Certainly enough to keep most of us awake.

Side note: we get a lot of comments here on electric motorcycle stories saying "why doesn't somebody make a cruiser?" Well, the Wattman (pictured below) is a kind of electric cruiser, albeit a weirdly faired one. We can see how designers will struggle to make electric cruisers visually appealing without the traditional visual focus of a beautifully finished V-twin to design around.

The Voxan Wattman launches in Paris in 2013
The Voxan Wattman launches in Paris in 2013

Anyway, six years after its launch in 2013, we haven't seen squat from the Wattman. It doesn't appear to have hit the road or made production. But Voxan (now owned by Venturi) still has plans for its cataclysmic e-power cruiser – plans involving Max "The Emperor" Biaggi of MotoGP fame, a big fat fairing and a large amount of Bolivian salt.

Voxan has its eyes set on a land speed record in a very specific category: "electric motorcycles propelled by the action of one wheel in contact with the ground, partially streamlined, under 300 kg (661 lb)" – a record Voxan says is currently held by Lightning Motorcycles' SB220 which reached 327.608 km/h (203.566 mph) in 2013. Thus, the Voxan team is aiming for 330 km/h (205 mph) and beyond when it hits the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia with Biaggi at the throttle.

Max "The Emperor" Biaggi will pilot the Voxan Wattman in its land speed record attempt
Max "The Emperor" Biaggi will pilot the Voxan Wattman in its land speed record attempt

We find this a little puzzling, having laid our own eyes on Lightning's land speed record trophy from Bonneville Speed Week in 2011, when what became known as the LS-218 hit 351 km/h (218 mph) on the way to a 347.5-km/h (215.96-mph) two-way record. (You can see it at the bottom of this gallery). Perhaps that bike weighed more than 300 kg, or wasn't defined as partially streamlined, or simply didn't enter that category.

The Voxan will meet those criteria. It will not, by a long stretch, be the fastest vehicle Venturi's responsible for – the company's own Buckeye Bullet, created by Ohio State University students as a joint project with Venturi, remains the outright fastest EV in the world. This fully streamlined bullet car hit a whopping 549.4 km/h (341.4 mph) back in 2016 and has utterly dominated the record books since 2010.

We look forward to seeing how the team fares. Land speed racing is not only a huge technical challenge, it also relies on conditions being favorable. But given Biaggi is on board, we suspect he'll look like he's clearly going to grab the record until the very last seconds, when it'll be snatched by Valentino Rossi.

We promise, that last MotoGP gag would've been funny 15 years ago.

Source: Voxan/Venturi

2 comments
Gannet
Or he would need Mick Doohan to tow him up to speed? But 330kmh shouldn't be too tricky for a MotoGP bloke ( or was it 500s back then?)
SimonClarke
Electric motorbikes are certainly getting there. Unfortunately it is the lack of space that limits their range, as well as styling, at the moment. The big Japanese four Suzuki, Yamaha etc. are working on more dense batteries. the problem at the moment is that you can't squeeze in more than 100 miles worth of batteries. 100 miles might sound like a nice ride out but you wouldn't want to get below 20 miles with out finding a charging point, and if you can rapid charge it takes 40 minutes to get to 80% and several hour to top off to 100%. This means that you get 80 miles out of your overnight charge but only 60 miles from a top up. Several cars this are coming out with 60 KWH batteries that give them a really useful range of 300 miles, that is 180 miles with the 20%/80% charge. it might just take another couple of years for Motorbikes to catch up. I will personally be interested when they start hitting the 200 mile range.