Monday, April 14, 2014

“48″ Tesla Races the Fastest Track on the West - Willow Springs

TESLARATI “48″ Tesla Races the Fastest Track on the West (via Teslarati)
Home »Featured » TESLARATI “48″ Tesla Races the Fastest Track on the West Posted By Tesla Racer on Apr 11, 2014 The Circuit Willow Springs, also known as Big Willow, is a 2.5 mile long track in Rosamond, California touted as one of the fastest…

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mission Motors supplying improved motor/controller components to 2014 Mugen SHINDEN SAN

It pays to carefully study the sponsor graphics when a team releases specs on their new bike, eh?  When you don't you tend to miss big pieces of news - such as Mission Motors supplying drive train parts to Team Mugen.  And it turns out that the 2013 Mugen Shinden also had Mission Motors parts.

Mugen just released specs of the 2014 SHINDEN SAN, and while I reposted the pictures I didn't study them closely.  However my colleagues at Moto Elettricheblog did, and posted this picture showing Mission Motors as one of the sponsors.

In the facebook conversation that ensued, Kyle Givanen (of the OSU Buckeye Electric Motorcycle Race team) says that at the 2013 TT ZERO he had been invited into the Mugen paddock and saw a Mission Motors MC600 controller sporting Mission Motors logos on the 2013 SHINDEN.

If we zoom in on the sponsors:

Nothing else is a surprise.  Maxell is Mugen's cell supplier.

Mission Motors and Mission Motorcycles are two separate companies.  The latter is working to commercialize the Mission R design that Mission Motors has used as their testing mule.  Mission Motors began almost a decade ago with the goal of becoming the Tesla of Electric Motorcycles, but later refocused on developing and selling high performance electric vehicle drive train components.

In fitting with the theory that Mugen is acting on Honda's behalf, we do see that Mission Motors and Honda have a history of working together.   At the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race in 2010, the Honda CR-Z ran with MissionEVT components, according to a report on Asphalt & Rubber.  

Mission Motors has long been extremely tight-lipped about their customer list for drive train components.  That the company is still in business indicates they do have some customers, but the company is extremely quiet and rarely issues press releases at all.

They did, today, issue a press release, Mission Motors' first press release since June 2012, titled - Mission Motors Supplies Team Mugen for 2014 Isle of Man TT Zero Race which reads as follows.


San Francisco, California, USA – April 2, 2014

Mission Motors, a developer of cutting-edge electric vehicle technology, has been named a supplier and sponsor of Team MUGEN SHINDEN SAN superbike for the 2014 Isle of Man TT Zero Challenge.

“Mission has an active motorsports program, with projects in both hybrid and electric racing,” said Mission Motors CEO, Derek Kaufman. “We are honored to be a marquis supplier and sponsor to Team MUGEN Shinden as they look to eclipse last year’s records.”

Team MUGEN Shinden director added, “Mission Motors and MUGEN have had a good relationship creating and developing exclusive electric power units for the Isle of Man TT project.”

Mission is a leading specialist in electric powertrain innovation, working with many major vehicle manufacturers on all aspects of HEV/EV powertrain technology. Mission’s project team employed this expertise to support Team MUGEN Shinden during engineering design and development activities. “We are introducing some exciting new technology for the MUGEN SHINDEN SAN race bikes,” said Mission’s Director of Powertrain Systems Engineering, Mark Sherwood. “Our engineers have worked alongside Team MUGEN Shinden to learn from their race data. For the 2014 Isle of Man TT, we have engaged in rapid new product development that truly raises the bar for electric motorcycles on and off the racetrack.”

With initial integration work now completed, track testing will continue through the spring. Mission is confident that Team MUGEN Shinden has what it takes to capture their first TT Zero victory and a new lap record.

About Mugen Motorsports

MUGEN designs, develops, assembles, and markets automotive engines for racing. Mugen also designs, develops, manufactures, and markets motorsports engines, chassis, parts, and components for Honda cars, including technical services at racing circuits. Learn more at

About Mission Motors

Mission Motors designs, develops and produces optimized electric powertrain components that incorporate the company’s proprietary technology. The company offers energy storage systems, drive systems, control systems, and software intelligence for automotive, powersports, marine and heavy equipment applications. Mission Motors is a full partner to vehicle manufacturers, meeting their development, production supply and aftermarket needs. Mission helps its customers bring higher performance electric and hybrid vehicles to market faster and at lower development cost. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Mission’s team combines expertise from the automotive, powersports, robotics, battery and software industries. Learn more at

TT ZERO 110 miles/hr lap speed sure to fall to the 2014 Mugen SHINDEN SAN?

Mugen earlier announced they would field two bikes in the 2014 TT ZERO, that they're calling the SHINDEN SAN.  Today Mugen has released details, pictures, specs, so let's take a look.  It looks like a sure bet to beat the 110 miles/hr lap speed threshold.

As last year they've repeated the bright colors and graphics, and centering on the lightning bolt imagery.  Shinden is the god of lightning, after all. 

As we noted earlier Mugen will have two riders, John McGuinness and Bruce Antsey, both of whom have won other races in the TT multiple times. 

The 2014 Mugen Shinden San has improved motor, suspension, battery pack capacity, and aerodynamics
The development for this year sees a new oil-cooled 3-phase brushless motor that is increased in power output while at the same time is lighter and reduced in size. The team has taken the opportunity afforded by this new layout to increase the battery capacity over the 2013 machine and installed new control systems take advantage of the performance capabilities.

Also with SHINDEN SAN the engineers have used the data gained from previous years racing and testing to optimise the aerodynamics of the machine and adopted newly-developed suspension in order to maximise the speed potential.
Increased power density and energy density should mean they'll hit and sustain higher speeds.  According to the specs (below) the peak power is 100 kilowatts, and it gives 220 nM torque.  The 110 miles/hr lap speed is sure to be beaten this year.

Mugen's press release does contain an attempt to rewrite history:
The TT Zero Challenge class was first run in 2009 as a time trial format over the 60km mountain course on the public roads on the island, with the regulations requiring a zero CO2 clean emission power unit.
In 2009 the name of the race was TTXGP, and it was not conducted by the Isle of Man government, but by the TTXGP/eGrandPrix. 

 Machine Name – SHINDEN SAN
  • Overall length/width/height (mm) – 2,125/680/1,130
  • Wheelbase (mm) – 1,485
  • Ground Clearance (mm) – 130
  • Seat Height (mm) – 840
  • Total Weight(kg) – 240
  • Tyre
    • Front – 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
    • Rear  200/55ZR17M/C (78W)
  • Motor Type – Oil-cooled, 3-phase, brushless motor
  • Maximum Output (KW[PS]) – 100 [134]
  • Maximum Torque (N-M (kgf-M]) – 220 [22.4]
  • Battery Specification – Laminate-type Lithium-ion
  • Battery Output Voltage (V) – 370 or more

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Brutus Motorcycles unveils race graphics for Jeremiah Johnson's Pikes Peak bike

Brutus Motorcycles is sponsoring Jeremiah Johnson to race their electric motorcycle on Pikes Peak this year.  I covered the information a month or so ago.   They just posted some pictures of the race bike with the graphics, as well as the race trailer and some other things.

From the looks of this, Jeremiah should take a finishing position a fair bit higher than he did last year, riding a Zero S.

This looks like a real serious race bike.  Hmm.. I wonder if it has enough power on board for a 38.4 mile race around a certain island?

One quibble I have is that in the background of one picture you see a large 18 kilowatt portable generator.  They'll have that on hand for fast charging the bike.  Notice the Manzanita Micro logo on the side - Gene Seymour's former employer - that gives you a clue which charger they'll use.   In any case, charging the bike off a generator somewhat negates all the goodwill that comes from this being an electric race bike.  Okay, not everyone see's the need to take the extra step to build a solar panel array onto the race trailer, and incorporate a large energy storage unit into the trailer.  Pragmatism can say it's easier to just go with the genset and...

Oh, I'm just digging myself a deep hole aren't I?  Guys.. we're all friends here, and I am just saying it would be that much better to take the next step and carry solar panels.  Please?

A cool looking bike like this deserves to be a great testament to sustainability and clean energy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

OSU's Buckeye Current aims to win TT ZERO 2014 podium position

In 2013 the OSU Buckeye Current team made their first trip to compete in the TT ZERO, and took third place overall.  The team's website currently says they are building a new bike, the RW-2, and are looking to ride their momentum and again take a podium spot.

Mum is the word regarding specifics about the bike, at least on their website.  Their Facebook page has been busy showing some incremental progress towards building it.

Donor bike:

They're building some interesting looking custom parts, such as an electronics enclosure and this motor mount:

Battery pack:

Mugen plans two bikes for 2014 TT ZERO, with McGuinness and Anstey riding

We'd love for MotoCzysz to be at TT ZERO 2014, and we completely understand why they won't.  It means that Mugen, which took a very close 2nd place in 2013, will possibly be a shoe-in to win.  Except there are plenty of teams saying they're planning to win a podium spot in 2014.  In the case of Mugen, they're bringing two bikes to TT ZERO 2014 and have two top riders who've won the TT several times apiece.

John McGuinness has twenty TT wins under his belt, and New Zealand racer Bruce Anstey has nine.  Mugen has assembled a formidable rider lineup.

The 2014 bikes, named Shinden San, are described as more power and the team anticipates breaking more records.

A team spokesman said: "We are extremely excited to have secured the services of two such experienced, proven winners around the TT mountain course, and the team will be pulling out all the stops to provide them with the machinery to go for the first TT Zero victory for Team Mugen."

No further details are available for Shinden San at this time, and the bike will be revealed later in the spring.

MotoCzysz taking a year off from racing

Earlier in the day I saw a Facebook posting saying, unconfirmed, that MotoCzysz was not going to participate in the TT ZERO 2014.  Not wanting to publish something without confirmation, I sent an email to Michael Czysz asking for clarification.  I haven't received an answer from him, but halfway through the press release announcing that Mark Miller will race with Team Vercarmoto, there is confirmation:
I want to wish MotoCzysz and Michael Czysz all the best as they take a year off from racing ...
 Last year we were saddened to learn that Michael Czysz had come down with a serious illness, which prevented him from being at the Isle of Man for the 2013 TT ZERO.  The team pulled off excellence last year, and surely made him proud.

If Michael responds to my e-mail, I'll update this post, but this is enough perhaps.