LAS VEGAS – A new electric motorcycle will use an innovative ultracapacitor system to capture energy from its own brakes to extend its range up to 180 miles, more than 50 percent further than other electric motorcycles.
Called the Nawa Racer, the e-bike will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in January. It was developed by the French energy technologies firm Nawa.
The Racer will have a 99-horsepower motor allowing it to go from 0-62mph in under three seconds.
The real star, however, is the unique ultracapacitor system that acts as a secondary power source for the engine and which is housed elegantly above the 9-kWh lithium battery pack in the motorcycle’s frame.
The extra range is made possible by a unique system that captures energy generated when the bike brakes.
Unlike traditional lithium batteries, which are both slow to recharge and have a limited number of times their cells can discharge energy before wearing out, an ultracapacitor can be charged quickly and repeatedly discharge small amounts of electricity with minimal wear.
This makes it an ideal power source for in-city driving, where frequent starts and stops will wear on a traditional lithium battery.
“The urban environment is where this combination truly shines,” Nawa’s Ulrik Grape told New Atlas.
“All the stopping and starting, that’s lost energy that we can reclaim. The u-cap only stores a small amount of energy, but it’s being used very efficiently.
“We’re basically pumping that ultracapacitor in and out the whole time through acceleration and braking.”
Nawa doesn’t intend to bring the Racer to market, but hopes it will inspire other motorcycle manufactures to consider their ultracapacitor system, which adds a small additional cost to the manufacturing process but delivers savings in use and maintenance and charging
“I don’t think in this kind of configuration it’ll add more than a few hundred dollars,” he said.
“We’ve said before, if you reduce the size of the battery and add an ultracapacitor, it would not be an overall cost adder.”
“It would likely make the overall package a lower cost solution.”
While Nawa created the motorcycle’s energy system, the overall design, including the distinctive freestanding rear wheel design, came from the Envisage Group.