Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quimera's most powerful electric car in the world exhibited at GT Club in Barcelona

Quimera's AEGT01 (All Electric GT) is being displayed in a window at the GT Club in Barcelona, starting last week.  It's described as "the very first of a high performance electric racing cars family".  Specs are three electric motor of 700CV (525 kW), and a maximum Torque of 1000 Nm, a 0-100 km/hr (0-60 miles/hr) time of 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 300 km/hr.

The prototype has a carbon fiber chassis and has been tested in extreme conditions.  Quimera claims it represents the beginning of a new generation of motorsports.

It is being developed in partnership with the IMSA (International Motor Sport Association) and ALMS (American Le Mans Series). QRR - Quimera Responsible Racing is a joint venture between Quimera, IMSA - International Motor Sports Association, ALMS - American Le Mans Series, TTXGP, Formulec, Formula Drift and Altran, to spearhead next generation of non fossil fueled racing.

The presence of "TTXGP" in this list of partners is a little curious because TTXGP focuses on electric motorcycles.  I do know from talking with Azhar Hussain that Mavizen is involved in the technology development, even though Quimera's press release only discusses Altran (as the drive train supplier).  TTXGP as an organization is involved with race series operations and promotions, not technology development.  It has been discussed before that in some future, TTXGP and ALMS and perhaps others will be holding electric racing events involving both motorcycles and cars in the same event.  Perhaps Quimera means that TTXGP is involved for that purpose?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Late night update from TTXGP Daytona

I feel okay now reporting the full situation for Catavolt due to them posting details on their Facebook page. Earlier I reported they had some problem and exited the qualifying round after one lap. They reported that in an earlier practice round they'd had a coolant leak (again, their hub motor is water cooled) which they fixed. In addition to being a water cooled hub motor, the Enertrac hub motor is actually two motors in one housing. Jason Morris, the rider, had to return to the pit right away and they found that one of the two motors was toast (had a short circuit). With some emergency repairs (and, no, you do not want to know the details) they converted it into a single motor and the bike is running again. Albeit with half the motor they intended. So obviously they won't be as fast as they hoped. At least they'll be in the race which is all that counts.

In other news, Adrian Stewart reported that Eric Bostrom hit 170.1 miles per hour absolute top speed during qualifying. He believes that is the highest speed for any electric motorcycle in race competition.

Having seen the majority of electric motorcycle competition I have to agree. It helps that Daytona has such long straights in which to build up speed.

There is a difference here that this is a road race track condition, not a land speed record event. Land speed record events has the bike going straight, no turns, for over a mile and the record is the average over the mile. In a road race you're always having to adjust for the next turn coming up.

The record for land speed with electric motorcycles is held by Lightning Motorcycles, with a 216 miles/hr average, set in 2011.

Speaking of Lightning, I now have news why the team is not here at the race. There are certain life events that one simply cannot avoid attending, or rather would not miss for the world. In this case, not even for the TTXGP World Championship race, it would seem. I'm not going to give details, but when Richard Hatfield explained what it was it made total sense.

Post qualifying round TTXGP Daytona

We just had the qualifying round for the TTXGP and as expected Brammo and Muench came in the fastest.

Brammo's two riders came in 1st and 2nd with Eric Bostrom barely edging out Steve Atlas to take the pole. Both looked fabulous on the track and were going so fast in front of us it was impossible to take their picture. But, both had some trouble. Bostrom hit a dragonfly while riding and it smeared his visor. But more seriously, both riders came into put lane complaining the bike kept cutting out and they had to reset while riding.

Both were hitting speeds near 170 miles/ hour.

Meunch's matthias Himmelmann looked great and fast but because it was easier catching a picture of him I could tell he was a bit slower. Indeed, his best lap time was 2:04.897 and best speed was 101.171.

Catavolt came in not even finishing one lap. The motor was leaking coolant - this is a liquid cooled hub motor which is by itself rather amazing. Unfortunately things do not look well though the team was gamely working on the bike when I left the track and they may well get it running again. In practice round they had a 2:33.732 best lap time and best speed 82.105. Those who'd seen them in practice said they looked great.

Jeremiah Johnson was the most reliable rider out there. We should not be surprised as its been the Zero's that have been most reliable all season. His best lap time was 2:50.624 and best speed 74.058. By the way is was real easy to take pictures of him.

The pictures I mentioned will be in a different posting.

Walking the TTXGP pit at Orlando

Jeremiah Johnson is in the race by dint of doing major changes to the Zero S owned by his friend Terry Hershner owner of the lifeoffthegrid Facebook page. It's hard to recognize this is a Zero S. Among the mods is a Sevcon Size 6 controller configured to talk with the Zero software. He hit 99 miles per hour in practice and is RPM limited and looking for another sprocket.

Brammo is ready to roll with Steve Atlas and Eric Bostrom. They've been out for a couple sessions and between problems hit speeds in the neighborhood of 165 miles per hour. Problems were with a position sensor but they believe that has been fixed. Their paddock area is well organized and professional looking.

Muench is ready to go and their safety inspector is happy. 2:08 mins lap times and 246 km/hr top speed that's 152 miles/hr

Catavolt is here with the owner of Enertrac, the inventor of the motor on their bike.

Friday, October 19, 2012

TTXGP World Final at Daytona Raceway this weekend

It's here, the final race of the 2012 TTXGP with the world final in North America for the first time. As I write this I am on the airplane heading to Daytona to bring you the racing action as it happens. Unfortunately I don't have an official entry list to share, but a few of the teams have posted pictures and stuff about being on their way or have already arrived at the track.

What I've seen so far is: Catavolt tweeted last week that they were packed up and already on their way to Daytona. Muench has posted pictures on Facebook of the Elam lounging around in a hotel bar, indicating they are not worried. Brammo has posted a teaser video and I've seen a tweet from Steve Atlas yesterday that he was at SFO on his way to Florida. No word from Zongshen or Lightning. I did see a note from Jeremiah Johnson that he will get to ride some kind of motorcycle in the race, but not his own build. It was reported on Richard Dorts podcast that both Zero and Virginia Tech have pulled out.

This means it looks like the field will be the Top Bikes, except for Catavolt which I believe is not in the same performance league. I can't imagine that Lightning will skip the World Final, so let's just assume they will be there. Whether Zongshen will be there I have no idea, but one hopes they do come.

With a field primarily containing Top Bikes we should see the first TTXGP that is a full-on superbike level of performance. In every other TTXGP event the field has been split into Top Bikes and the Slower ones. Not to disrespect anybody's contribution to the effort of electric racing, but this disparity in performance is something whose time needs to pass. The sport needs to move towards separating the fast bikes and slow bikes into their own races. The slow bikes look bad when they're getting passed like they're standing still.

But that's tangential to the race this weekend.

Earlier I wrote up a prediction of the results, but came to the conclusion it would be a race between Brammo and Lightning for the top spot with Meunch behind them. A lot depends on whether Lightning does indeed attend, and unfortunately they have been known to disappoint us in the past. The wild cards are whether Zongshen shows up, how they perform, and additionally whether the teams have amped anything up since their last races.