Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Czech scooter company AKUMOTO sets range record in 24 hour endurance test

Czech scooter company AKUMOTO is claiming to have set a world record for the longest distance covered by an electric scooter in 24 hours.  The endurance run was made during European Mobility Week, the 19-20th of September 2011, at the Prague Strašnice.  The team rode the electric scooter 1136.3 kilometers, or 706 miles, which is the distance from Prague to Paris.  They consumed 40.8 kilowatt-hours of electricity, at a cost of Kč 190, around €8, in terms of normal electricity prices.

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“The aim of the action was to demonstrate the traveling qualities and uses of electric scooters,” said AKUMOTO’s sales manager Lukáš Drahovzal. “Given that modern electric scooters in principle have exchangeable batteries, we were interested in learning just how far electric scooters could go in a set period,” he added, saying that the final result was beyond their most optimistic forecasts.

Their scooter design is on the smaller end of the scale and uses a "three pole brushless motor" embedded in the rear wheel.  They don't publish spec's on their website like speed, range, motor power, or battery pack capacity.  However the design includes regenerative braking, and most importantly for this endurance run the battery pack is easily swappable.

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The battery pack is a small unit with a handle that fits under the seat.  Hence one method to recharge the bike is to stop, open the seat, pull out the battery pack, and insert a new one.  No word on whether there's a network of stations at which you can swap battery packs.  However during the 24 hour endurance event they clearly would have utilized the quick swap capability of the bike to keep the bike on the track, while keeping several packs freshly charged in the pit area.

Assuming the pack capacity is a fairly typical 4 kwh, they would have swapped packs 10-15 times during the 24 hours.

This isn't the first endurance test with electric bikes.  In April 2009 Zero Motorcycles ran an 24 hour endurance race at a dirt bike track in South San Jose, CA.  In that case they also relied on quickly swapped battery packs to keep bikes on the track.  Not to diminish AKUMOTO's achievement, but to remember our history.

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Czechs set electric scooter world record - Prague-to-Paris equivalent on 40.8 kWh or €8 electricity cost

The Zero Motorcycles 24 hrs of Electricross

Video from the 24 Hours of Electricross race

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this David, it's a compelling achievement!

    This makes me wonder how far an electric car with swappable batteries such as Renault's could drive in the same time period and with how many battery swaps. Most importantly, how much energy would that car use to cover the same distance and thus what is the difference in the amount of environmental impact, assuming of course both use a source of electricity with the same energy mix.