Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Will electric Car Buyers Win as EV Racing Goes From Two Wheels to Four? Will Mavizen/TTXGP win in the shift to car racing?

“Electric racing offers the potential to both accelerate the development of electric drivetrain technology in the crucible of competition, but also to show how exciting zero-emissions race cars can be and so shift consumer attitudes towards the adoption of EVs,” said Drayson Racing chief Lord Paul Drayson.  So far the most widely known electric racing action has been the TTXGP electric motorcycle race series.  A recent Wired article talked about the application of electric motorcycle components to electric cars, both electric race cars, and cars meant for the public, as well as a shift to electric car racing when (?if?) the Formula E series launches in 2013.

Azhar Hussain's hope in launching the TTXGP was to, as Lord Drayson said in the quote above, accelerate electric vehicle technology via electric racing.   Hussain's other company, Mavizen, is looking to take technology they developed for electric motorcycle racing and apply it to electric car racing.  The claim is that any technological gains along the way might make their way into regular cars as well, and benefit us all.  Whether or not specific technologies make it from the track to consumer vehicles, electric vehicle racing action has a tendency to blow up the stereotype that electric cars can only be slow boring ugly golf carts.

The mantra in racing has long been “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” - meaning, the race is on Sunday and the fans will often show up at the store on Monday looking to buy whatever they saw winning on Sunday.

Hussain owns two companies, Mavizen and TTXGP.  Mavizen is working with Drayson Racing on the technology for B12/69EV, their electric race car intended for the Formula E series expected to launch in 2013.  Mavizen is supplying the battery pack's for Drayson's race car.   The Wired news article (linked below) claims this battery pack design was used in the TTXGP electric bike racing series, but this is almost certainly inaccurate.  To understand we must review the history of Mavizen's technology.

During the 2010 season Mavizen leased several TTX02 race bikes to race teams.  Those bikes used battery packs with A123 cells.  However not all the TTXGP race teams used Mavizen's technology.  The Mavizen bikes generally gave middle-of-the-pack results compared to some other bikes on the grid - such as eCRP, Meunch Racing, and Lightning Motors.  Lightning's battery packs also used A123 cells, but using Lightning's own design rather than Mavizen's.  Mavizen's technology was not in any way impressive during 2010, except in-so-much that they managed to supply electric race bikes for six or so teams.  One of Mavizen's purposes was to enable there to be more racing teams on the TTXGP grid, and in 2010 they did so even though their teams generally gave poor-to-middling results.

In the 2011 season Mavizen did not lease out any bikes, and instead started a strategic move to become a parts and services organization rather than supplier of race bikes.  One move they made made was to become a reseller of A123 technology, both battery cells and complete battery packs.  They're also looking beyond the TTXGP electric motorcycle race grid for customers, such as their deal with Drayson and the Qimera electric race car.  I do not yet know whether the packs being sold to Drayson Racing are the A123 design, or Mavizen's design.

Mavizen's eye is on a future which is more than electric motorcycle racing, but also car racing.  Such as the Formula E series expected to launch in 2013.


Electric racing vehicle and components suppliers in 2011

The changing role of Mavizen within the TTXGP

A123 Systems sponsoring the 2011 North American TTXGP race series

Mavizen signs battery distribution agreement with A123 Systems

Car Buyers Win as EV Racing Goes From Two Wheels to Four


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