It was the summer of 2012. Me and a friend were riding 2 big Harley Davidsons across the USA from New York to Los Angeles. Nearly halfway the road trip, on the “Extraterrestrial” highway in the hot Nevada desert, we ran critically low on fuel. Jokingly, while managing and minimising their fuel consumption, they discussed the idea of a motorcycle adventure on a capable electric motorcycle. The batteries could be charged using solar panels, rolled out in the sunny desert.
Quickly it became apparent that hauling along solar panels isn’t a practical solution, still the idea of an electric adventure motorcycle stuck in the back of their minds. The next years, step by step the idea became more concrete and in 2015 I quit my engineering job and devoted all my time on this project.
Several of my passions come together in this development project:
- The passion for motorcycle adventures
- The passion for lightweight & efficiency
- The passion for new concepts, technologies and innovations
I financed the development of the adventure motorcycle project by performing engineering consultancy assignments for automotive, consumer, marine industry and industrial customers. The focus for these assignments have been on concept development, additive manufacturing (3D printing), composites and material reduction by using generative design. The knowledge and experience gained with these projects is applied for the motorcycle and vice versa.
The adventure motorcycle is both an excelent demonstrator project and a project to pioneer new principles and ideas. Eventually there is the ambition to bring the project forward into an actual exclusive product.
We set ourselves some challenging objectives:
- Leave nothing but tireprints
- No emissions while riding
- No waste during production
- Be fully customisable and updateable to the rider
- The comfort and smart storage of a heavy adventure bike
- The dynamics and nimbleness of a lightweight motorcross bike
- Be a work of art on 2 wheels
So what is the current status? When can we ride this electric adventure motorcycle? In short, the project is slowly progressing, primarily because of one reason:
An electric adventure motorcycle is a complex engineering challenge. Comfort, driveability, practicallity, efficiency and performance are tightly linked and influence each other. One of the critical components influencing all aspects of the motorcycle is the high voltage battery.
A large capacity battery pack will offer a high power output and a desired long range but at the same time it adds weight and limits space available for luggage, suspension and comfort solutions.
Energy density, kWh/kg, is herein the defining parameter for battery packs. The higher this value, the smaller and lighter the battery pack will be for a given range. At this moment, energy density values are not yet near the desired values I need to develop the electric adventure motorcycle to my standards.
R&D advancements have increased energy densities over time and will keep on increasing. In my opinion, solid-state batteries will be one of the technologies that will unlock a substantial energy density increase. When I started the development of the motorcycle I anticipated on quicker increase in energy density. This has not materialised however, therefor the project, although continuing, is on a low burner at the moment.
The electric adventure motorcycle project has gained a lot of accolades over the years. In 2015 Fransiscó won the Additive World Design Challenge with an optimised motorcycle swingarm.
Over time, several media outlets reported about the project:
- GRIP – KNMV
- 3D Print Magazine