Saturday, June 30, 2012

KillaJoule Racing going for electric motorcycle land speed record at Loring LSR event

KillaJoule Racing just announced their next event is the Loring Land Speed Record event at the former Loring Air Force Base.  The racing action is from July 13-15.

The event is formatted differently from Bonneville.  Where Bonneville is on salt, and records the average time over a mile (flying mile), the Loring event is on what used to be the runway of an Air Force Base, and your speed is measured at the end of a 1.5 mile run.  This makes it more like a loooong drag race.

See for event information.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Audi R8 e-tron sets fastest yet electric car lap record at Nürburgring

Audi is the latest automaker to set an electric car lap speed record at the Nürburgring.  This week the company brought a pair of Audi R8 e-tron's to the fabled 20.8-kilometer (12.92-mile) race track to have a go at the lap record for series production electric cars.  They achieved success with a 8:09.099 minutes lap time.

Following the lap record of 8:09.099 minutes, driver Markus Winkelhock took out a second R8 e-tron onto the Nordschleife, this one was limited to a 200 km/hr speed, and took two hot laps. The 8:30.873 and 8:26.096 minutes lap times were meant to "underscore the production-relevance of the R8 e-tron and the capability of its drive technology."

“The R8 e-tron has given a magnificent demonstration of its potential on the toughest race track in the world,” said Michael Dick, AUDI AG Board Member for Technical Development. Dick, who completed a fast lap himself in the R8 e-tron, added: “The record-setting drive confirmed that we are on the right track. To us, electric mobility has never been about sacrifice, but rather is about emotion, sportiness and driving pleasure.”

Those with a good memory may recall that the Toyota Motorsports Group EV P001 ran a 7 mins 47.794 secs lap at the Nürburgring.  How, then, can Audi claim a lap record when Toyota's EV P001 is faster?  It's simply a matter of how you define each car.  The EV P001 is a race car, while the R8 e-tron is a series production car.

But, the electric R8 e-tron is not in production as an electric car?  That's true, however the gasoline powered R8 is in production, and the electric R8 e-tron is slated to go on sale at the end of 2012.  Further, Audi says the drive train used for this lap record is the same as will be on the production version.  It has two electric motors, each generating an output of 280 kW and 820 Nm of torque. This gives the R8 e-tron a 0-62.14 mph (100kph) time of just 4.6 seconds. Top speed is normally limited to 200 kph (124.27 mph), and a 250 km/h (155.34 mph) limit was approved for the record-setting lap. It carries a lithium-ion battery pack with 49 kilowatt-hours of capacity, which Audi claims will give a 215 kilometers (133.59 miles) driving range, but the company does not specify the test protocol behind that range claim. The battery pack is in a T shape, allowing it to fit into the central tunnel, and behind the passenger compartment. The car body is primarily made of aluminum along with carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastics (CFRP) giving it a weight of just 1,780 kilograms (3,924.23 lb), despite the large battery pack.

A curious little detail I noticed in the pictures below.  That is the charging port uses a Yazaki charging connector of the same style used for CHADEMO electric car fast charging systems.  Audi is one of the 8 companies signing onto the SAE fast charging standard, making it odd that they would use a CHADEMO connector to charge the car.  Plausibly, Audi went with a CHADEMO off-board charger to a) save weight, b) for pragmatism because it is the only available electric car fast charging system on the market today.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Global warming & epic fires delays Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

The 90th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was due to run on July 8, and feature several electric cars racing to the top.  However global warming has caused a massive heat wave, dry conditions, and a massive fire in the mountains near Colorado Springs.  Because Pikes Peak is in the mountains near Colorado Springs, the "epic conditions and safety concerns related to the wildfires threatening Colorado Springs and nearby communities" have forced a "postponement" of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb event until "later in the summer."

Clearly the delay is a disappointment to Electric Racing Fans, because this year the PPIHC was to see 8 electric cars in competition.

I read a report on CNN a little bit ago that all the hotel rooms in Colorado Springs are booked solid with refugees from the fire, and that hundreds of homes have burned in the area.  The map of the fire shows it is located just across the highway from Pikes Peak.

These conditions clearly make it impractical to hold the Pikes Peak Hill Climb at this time. “We have been informed by the U.S. Forest Service that conditions are so extreme, along with the inability to forecast the future of the fire, and with access to Pikes Peak in jeopardy that the agency can’t permit the event to go as scheduled, “said Tom Osborne, Chairman of the Board of the PPIHC and President & CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.

Osborne goes on to vow that “The 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be run,” and that a new race week will be chosen to be compatible with the drivers, racers, pit crews, and multiple agencies which must coordinate so the PPIHC can be held, later this summer.

The race is the second-oldest motor sports race, behind the Indianapolis 500. “This race began in 1916 and it has earned its place among the world’s greatest motor sports events, and it is an important part of the sports heritage of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region,” said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach. “We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition. We are disappointed, but our first concern is our city, its residents, their homes, businesses and public safety.”

The 211 race crews and competitors were due to begin arriving in Colorado Springs this weekend.  Obviously an influx of people into an area already stressed by an emergency fire condition would not have been good.

Tickets already purchased will be honored for the new date and the events for the fans and competitors will be rescheduled. All sponsor, vendor and supplier agreements will be fulfilled, according to Osborne.

P.S. In case of negative reaction to the claim that "global warming" is causing this delay - okay, yes, it's difficult to pin a specific event on global warming, I know that.  However, on the Climate Progress blog yesterday, Joe Romm noted that "Record-setting heat waves, wildfires, and deluges" are exactly what climate scientists have predicted for decades.  There is extreme heat in the midwest, which leads to dry conditions, more likely to cause fires, and if one steps back far enough the fire near Pikes Peak is part of a larger pattern of weather this year which looks like global warming in action.   See

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Videos of MotoCzysz battery pack thermal event at TTXGP 2012 Portland International Raceway

As I reported earlier, last weekend during the TTXGP race at Portland International Raceway, one of the MotoCzysz bikes nearly had a battery pack thermal runaway in the pit area.  A couple videos have since been posted that show what happened.

The videos below agree with the story Michael Czysz gave me on Sunday morning.  Shortly after when Chris Ancien brought in the bike he was riding, the battery pack became hot and started letting out the magic smoke.  You can see in these videos a white cloud which may be steam, or may be from the battery cells.  The pack nearly went into thermal runaway (Czysz agreed with that description when asked) and if that had happened it would have meant a fire, one that would have been difficult to put out.  Instead, as you can see in these videos, the MotoCzysz crew first pushed the bike out from under their awning, then poured a bucked of water into the battery pack.

That, I think, is a similar sort of desperation move as pouring ocean water into an overheating nuclear reactor.  In both cases you're not expecting to reuse the gizmo, but are trying to avoid a worse problem, such as a fire.

As shown in the videos the gambit worked, the white cloud diminished, and there was no fire.

The first video doesn't appear to allow me to embed the video on this blog post, so you'll have to go to Google+ to view it: 

The second was shot by Travis Gintz, whom you can see standing in the previous video.  In other words, the two videos were shot at the same time, and you can see two different views of the same event.  There's apparently a third video, shot by a person who appears to be liveforphysics532 on Youtube, but he appears to not have posted the video.  (Luke, if that's you, wink wink, nudge nudge)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brammo's Atlas wins TTXGP at PIR after MotoCzysz pulls out

After yesterdays wet weather, and the snafu with the battery pack on one of MotoCzysz' bikes, the TTXGP electric motorcycle race today, at Portland International Raceway (PIR), went off pretty well.  The weather was clear, partly cloudy, modest temperature, and an excited group of fans to watch the race.  As expected, Brammo's Steve Atlas stole the show unimpeded by competitors MotoCzysz and Lightning Motorcycles neither of whom were present.   This meant the real battle was for 2nd, 3rd, and in the eSuperStock and TTX75 award categories.

If Lightning and MotoCzysz were to have been present, this would have been a different race, with a big battle among those giants for 1st, 2nd, 3rd.  Lightning's Richard Hatfield communicated with me that parts and equipment and bikes had not made it back from the Isle of Man in time for the PIR race.  In the case of MotoCzysz, as I reported earlier (see link above), one of their bikes nearly caught fire, and they decided to not risk running the race today.  Clearly the short time between the Isle of Man race and PIR was too tight for either Lightning or MotoCzysz to adequately turn around their bikes, and reconfigure from IOM to PIR.

As has been true with TTXGP for awhile, this was two races.  The first race was the solo ride by Steve Atlas, on the Brammo Empulse RR.  His bike is so much faster than the others that he was passing everyone as if they were standing still.  The rest of the pack was more evenly matched, with the two TTX75 bikes both running faster than the Zero S bikes in the eSuperStock group.

When the Empulse RR passes by on the straight (and this is true of the Lightning & MotoCzysz) the sound is this amazing whoosh, and high pitch metallic whine, that carries power and speed without all the noise and stink of the gas bikes.  These bikes have to be witnessed to be believed.  It's too bad that there are so few of them in existence.

Atlas finished the race having covered 9 laps, having lapped the whole field and lapping two bikes twice, with a total time of 11:49.901, and a best lap time of 1:17.768.  This is a bit faster lap time than during qualifying yesterday.  Both MotoCzysz bikes had turned in even better lap times yesterday, which should have meant both will have beat him had they been able to race.

In the TTX75 award group, Matt Kent, of VA Tech, came in 1st, covering 8 laps, total time 12:27.921, best lap time 1:32.613.  Ely Schless came in 2nd, having covered 8 laps, total time of 13:03.608, best lap time of 1:36.009.

In the eSuperStock award group, the four bikes rode together as a group through the whole race, until the last lap or so.  Zero's crew had configured the four bikes with different gearing during practice rounds, so they could determine which gearing was best for PIR.  Then for the race they configured the four bikes with identical gearing, and unsurprisingly the four bikes performed almost identically.  They were also having fun with the horns, one time passing by the start/stop line they honked the horns in unison, getting a chuckle from the onlookers.  The racers in the eSuperStock group were all racing against each other, and traded places several times.

The same moment that the eSuperStock passed the start/stop line is when Atlas was crossing the start/stop to get the checkered flag.  Three of the eSuperStock Zero's were across the start/stop line when Atlas went across the line, with the fourth passing the start/stop line after Atlas.  This means three of the eSuperStock Zero's had 8 laps (being lapped by Atlas only once), and the fourth had only 7 laps, being lapped by Atlas twice.

Troy Siahaan came in 1st, total time 13:32.065, best lap time 1:38.249, Chris Page came in 2nd, total time 13:32.218, best lap time 1:38.400, Kenyon Kluge came in 3rd, total time 13:32.437, best lap time 1:37.668, and Don Headrick came in 4th, total time 11:51.599, best lap time 1:37.727, and again having been lapped twice had only 7 laps.

I want to reiterate - the eSuperStock and TTX75 were "awards" not "classes".  This means that while I'm reporting the eSuperStock and TTX75 with 1st/2nd/etc there was also an overall 1st/2nd/3rd, which you could derive from the above, but is:  1st: Steve Atlas (Brammo), 2nd: Matt Kent (VA Tech), 3rd: Ely Schless (Proto Moto).

A most unfortunate incident occurred during Steve Atlas' parade lap, one that ticked off one of the Zero riders enormously.  The story hadn't been entirely verified by the time I left the track, and the Brammo crew is denying the incident occurred.

It's claimed that, during his parade lap, Steve Atlas pulled over to the side and stopped in turn 4, and one of the Zero riders pulled in behind Atlas to stop as well.  While Atlas was in a parade lap, all the other bikes (except for that 4th Zero bike) were still racing hard to determine the rest of the ranking.  So when that Zero rider pulled in behind Atlas and stopped, that messed up his ranking in the race.

UPDATE:  Troy Siahaan posted a video/story of the race, which includes video showing what Steve did.  He was riding slowly, waving to the crowd, and was basically in the way when the Zero riders caught up with him.  You can see the video here:

My opinion is that Atlas, as a Pro rider, should have understood the other riders were still racing and should not have done something like pull over to the side.  It's unclear why the Zero rider would have pulled off along with Atlas, unless the location where Atlas stopped was inconvenient for the Zero Riders?  This happened on the other side of the track from my vantage, and I'm repeating on second hand reports.  FWIW Atlas denies he stopped.  UPDATE: The video mentioned makes it clearer what happened.

In all it was an excellent race where the major part of the drama was not with the 1st place finisher (Atlas) but the rest of the pack.  There were many more watchers lining the pit wall for this race, than for the other gas bike races, which I see as a positive sign of a high degree of interest.

The other item to note is that Portland Mayor Sam Adams was on hand to present some of the trophies. He is apparently a strong proponent of electric vehicles.  It was also interesting seeing him in person, considering the bit part he plays in the Portlandia TV series.

TTXGP qualifying round, 2012 PIR - MotoCzysz pulls out

As I reported yesterday, the operative word for the day was "WET" with rain on-and-off all the day.  The qualifying round yesterday was supposed to be at about 3:50 PM, but a heavy rain squall piled in at 3:00 PM, with cats and dogs falling from the sky and everything.  But it was a short rain shower that lifted off pretty quick, necessitating a rain delay, with the bikes going out for qualifying round at 5:00 PM.  By that time a couple rounds of gas bike racing had gone out, and the track became dry.

As a surprise, two of the Zero S's went out during the Ninja 250 race at around 4:00 PM.  The 250's turned in lap times around 1:34-1:38, and the Zero's consistently gave lap times of 1:43-1:44, which meant the Zero's fell behind throughout the race.

Those two Zero's also went out during TTXGP qualifying, which raised a question of "well, how did they pull that off?"  Namely, to go out, race, then go out and race again just a few minutes later.  What Zero engineers explained to me is that, because the Zero charging setup allows multiple chargers to work together to charge the same bike, what they do is run several chargers per bike, effectively getting a fast charge.  Secondly, the 250 race was only 6 laps which pulled only half the charge from the bikes.  Between those two factors, fast charging by ganging together several chargers, and only using half charge, meant they could completely recharge in 1/2 hour.

For the qualifying round, all the teams went out:   Brammo (w/ Steve Atlas), the two MotoCzysz bikes (Michael Czysz, Christopher Ancien), Proto Moto (Ely Schless), VA Tech (Matt Kent), Zero (Kenyon Kluge, Troy Siahaan, Don Headrick, Chris Page)

TTX75 Award: As was true earlier in the day, the VA Tech bike looked excellent, and ran stronger than the Zero S's.  Ely Schless had slightly slower lap times, at 1:37.441 versus VA Tech's 1:34.494.

eSuperStock Award: For most of the race three of the Zero riders ran as a cluster, with the fourth trailing behind them by a couple hundred yards.  This showed both collaboration between the riders, as well as how closely matched these bikes were.  Prior to the qualifying round the teams switched rear sprockets for a different gearing ratio.  The best lap times for all for were in the 1:40-1:41 range, a little faster than they ran during the 250 race.

Top bikes: Brammo and MotoCzysz were duking it out big time to be the top dogs.  Because Lightning wasn't able to make it (their gear was still in transit from the Isle of Man), that left these two teams for the top position.  Both bikes looked excellent and turned in very fast lap times.  It was clear however that MotoCzysz was running faster than Brammo, and the lap times agree.  Brammo's best lap times was 1:18.949, with both MotoCzysz bikes giving 1:15.839 and 1:15.958 lap times.

Both the MotoCzysz riders came into the pits a couple times, and word is they may have adjusted controller settings.  Towards the end of the qualifying Ancien came into the pits for conferring, then slowly rode down the pit area watching the track as Steve Atlas passed at full speed on the track, and taking care to rejoin the track just as Atlas passed.  By the end of that lap Ancien had passed Atlas, demonstrating again that the MotoCzysz bikes are faster than Brammo's.


At the end of the Qualifying, the bike ridden by Christopher Ancien had an issue that I did not directly witness.  I've talked with Michael Czysz to get clarification, and I've watched a video taken by an onlooker.

What happened is that in the pits, a cloud of smoke engulfed the bike and the pit crew pushed the bike to the side and poured water on the battery pack to cool it down.  As a result the MotoCzysz team has pulled out of this weekends'  TTXGP race.

What happened is the bike was set up with a battery pack meant for the Isle of Man.  This means building the pack from "Energy Cells" that support a lower C rate than the "Power Cells" they'd use for a TTXGP race.  The difference is that the Isle of Man, at 38 miles distance, is longer in length than the TTXGP races.  This means for a TTXGP race they can run with higher C rate cells to run at higher speeds, whereas for the Isle of Man they need a lower C rate allowing for more total kilowatt-hours to make the full length of the race.

Because the pack supports a lower C rate, and because Ancien ran more laps than did Michael, the pack was stressed more.  The pack got hotter (while Michael's pack stayed within the target temperature) and got close to the temperature that would trigger a thermal runaway.  Meaning the bike nearly caught fire.

With concern that a) the MotoCzysz team has spent several months busting butt to make it to the Isle of Man, and b) the bike had the wrong pack for todays race, the team chose to back out of the race.  While they had one bike in running order, and could have raced with that today, it would have been with the risk of the same thermal problem occurring today.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Opening of the TTXGP 2012 at Portland International Raceway

The TTXGP has finally come to Portland Oregon, one of the hotbeds of electric motorcycle and electric vehicles in general.  The series had been slated to come to PIR last year, but something happened (I never bothered to find out what) and it didn't happen.  This year the series is on the track alongside club racing with the OMRRA.  In addition to the TTXGP appearance is the EV LIVE event, a showing of electric vehicles, solar electric systems, and other green technology.

The primary word to describe the weekend so far is WET.  Earlier in the day it was raining hard, and the morning practice round was held on a wet track.  Only the VA Tech and Zero teams went out however.

VA Tech team
Present are:

  • MotoCzysz: Two bikes, direct from the Isle of Man.  Their bikes arrived from the Island just yesterday.
  • VA Tech (7.5kwh Award): One bike, it's their first appearance in any TTXGP
  • Zero (eSuperStock Award): As in the Infineon round, Zero is sponsoring four bikes, and racing for the eSuperStock award.
  • Brammo: One bike, and to those of us who wanted to know of Steve Atlas's condition after his wreck at Infineon, he is here, and planning to race.  
  • Proto Moto (7.5 KWH Award): Ely Schless, he raced last year and this is his first TTXGP race this year.

This is the VA Tech bike.  This is a student run team, that is in its second year of existence, but is in its first year of actually racing.  One of the primary sponsors is Kollmorgen, an electric motor and controller manufacturer.  Their bike is in the 7.5 KWH award group, but is faster than the Zero bikes by a decent amount.

Here's the Brammo Empulse RR, ready to race.

Here's some views of the two MotoCzysz E1PC bikes, fresh from the Isle of Man.  It's even more interesting in person.

Under the seat are a pair of wings, and on the front fairing is another pair of wings, and the tail section has a bit of an opening, all signs of working with the design to make it slip through the air more smoothly.

Team members explained to me the main difference between the 2011 E1PC and 2012 is the fairing design.  The motor and frame was the same, the batteries more-or-less the same, but what made the difference with this years Isle of Man is the fairing design.

One of the little details is the "<22:38.28" on the front fender - that's the lap time they needed to beat, to break the ton at the Isle of Man.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Audi in historic first Hybrid Race Car win at 24 Hours of Le Mans

At the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, Audi made a historic achievement with the first hybrid cars to win that race.  While the title of this site is Electric Race News, we'll mark this achievement under the rubric of "Electrified Vehicle Racing" because it was an electrified vehicle which won the race.

The vehicle in question was four Audi R18 e-ton Quattro's.  With this car Audi Sport Team Joest took 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th places in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Marcel Fassler (CH), Andre Lotterer (D), Benoit Treluyer (F)

“By achieving this further success at the world’s most important endurance race our engineers demonstrated their high technological expertise in a particularly impressive way,” commented Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, who personally watched the race on location. “With the e-tron quattro in combination with ultra lightweight design, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it – this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans. This weekend again showed the type of things that can happen in this race and how important perfect preparation is.”

The winning group, consisted of drivers Marcel Fässler (CH), André Lotterer (D) and Benoît Tréluyer (F), who were also the winners of the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Audi describes the drive train as the "all-wheel drive of the future in which the conventional drive system is intelligently combined with an electrically driven axle." Audi is already testing this technology in which the drive shaft is replaced by electric cables for use in production vehicles. Operating at the rear of all four Audi R18 cars was the latest evolution of the compact V6 TDI engine with VTG mono turbocharger that was used at Le Mans for the first time in 2011. The new ultra-light transmission with a carbon fiber housing – a novelty in a Le Mans sports car – held up to the Le Mans endurance test covering a distance of 5.151 kilometers in all four vehicles without any problems as well. Like quatto all-wheel drive, ultra-lightweight design is a core competency of the company.

In addition to this marking the first time a hybrid car has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it was also the first time a hybrid car took the pole position to open the race. André Lotterer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro designated as car number “1” to achieve a fastest lap of 3m 23.787s in the final qualifying session on Thursday night shortly after 22:00 – and thus an improvement of last year’s best time by nearly two seconds. André Lotterer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro designated as car number “1” to achieve a fastest lap of 3m 23.787s in the final qualifying session on Thursday night shortly after 22:00 – and thus an improvement of last year’s best time by nearly two seconds.

Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen in the number “2” Audi R18 e-tron quattro set the fourth-fastest lap (3m 25.433s) behind the quickest hybrid vehicle from Toyota. Le Mans rookie Marco Bonanomi in the number “4” Audi R18 ultra took grid position six (3m 26.420 s. This meant that all four vehicles fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest qualified for the three front rows.

Audi is fielding two varieties of the Audi R18 in this years FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC); the R18 ultra and the R18 e-tron quattro. This first diesel hybrid race car at Le Mans fundamentally differs from the conventionally powered model in some respects. The e-tron quattro, for example, has an electrically driven front axle in addition to the conventional rear-wheel drive, a motor generator unit (MGU) on the front axle, a rotating mass storage device, an additional cooling system and new detailed solutions.

"This makes it all the more surprising that our engineers have implemented a principle featuring a high level of carry-over parts,” emphasizes Dr. Ullrich in praise of his team’s achievements. "The R18 ultra is the basis that has made it possible to make the R18 e-tron quattro reality in the first place. We would have had no chance if we hadn’t achieved the weight saving between our 2011 Le Mans winner, the R18 TDI, and the current R18 ultra because we had to additionally package the entire hybrid system in the vehicle. And in spite of this, we continued to pursue the aim of staying below the minimum weight of 900 kg in order to have some latitude to balance the car with ballast.”

Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Marcel Fassler (CH), Andre Lotterer (D), Benoit Treluyer (F)
Start with leading Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Marcel Fassler (CH), Andre Lotterer (D), Benoit Treluyer (F)

Audi R18 ultra #3 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Romain Dumas (F), Loïc Duval (F), Marc Gene (E)
Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Marcel Fassler (CH), Andre Lotterer (D), Benoit Treluyer (F)
Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest), Marcel Fassler (CH), Andre Lotterer (D), Benoit Treluyer (F)

Technical data Audi R18 e-tron quattro / ultra (2012)

Version: February 2012

Model VehicleAudi R18 e-tron quattro / ultra (2012)
Vehicle typeLe Mans Prototype (LMP1)
MonocoqueCarbon-fiber composite with aluminum honeycomb, tested according to the strict FIA crash and safety standards
BatteryLithium ion batteries
EngineTurbocharged 120° V6, 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC, 1 Garrett turbocharger, mandatory intake air restrictor of 1 x 45.8 mm diameter and turbo boost pressure limited to 2.8 bar absolute, diesel direct injection TDI Fully stressed aluminum cylinder block, diesel particle filter
Engine managementBosch MS24
Engine lubricationDry sump, Castrol
Displacement3,700 cc
Power Over375 kW / 510 hp
Torque Over850 Nm
Hybrid system*
Type of accumulatorElectric flywheel accumulator, max 500 KJ, WHP
Motor Generator Unit (MGU)MGU on the front axle, water cooled with integrated power electronics, 2 x 75 kW
Drive / transmission
Type of driveRear wheel drive, traction control (ASR), four-wheel drive e-tron quattro from 120 km/h*
Clutch Carbon clutchGearbox Sequential, electrically activated 6-speed racing gearbox
DifferentialLimited-slip rear differential
Gearbox housingCarbon-fiber composite with titanium inserts
DriveshaftsConstant velocity sliding tripod universal joints
Suspension / steering / brakes
SteeringElectrical assisted rack and pinion steering
SuspensionFront and rear double wishbone independent suspension, front pushrod system and rear pull rod system with adjustable dampers
BrakesHydraulic dual circuit brake system, mono bloc light alloy brake calipers, ventilated carbon disc brakes front and rear, infinitely manually adjustable front and rear brake balance
WheelsO.Z. magnesium forged wheels
TiresMichelin Radial, Front: 360/710-18, rear: 370/710-18
Weight / dimensions
Length4,650 mm
Width2,000 mm
Height1,030 mm
Minimumweight 900 kg
Fueltank capacity 58*/60 liters
*Different specification for R18 e-tron quattro

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Matthias Himmelmann Munch Motorbikes Falkenbergs Motorbana TTXGP European Championship 2012 - filmed by @egrandprix

Matthias Himmelmann rides the number 49 Munch Racing Motorcycle during practice for the opening round of the TTXGP European Championship 2012, at Falkenbergs Motorbana in Sweden. Thanks to Munch for the speed & lap data and video.

Munch are making this bike and others available for individuals or companies to rent and test ride at TTXGP races this year. Contact for more information

Infineon Raceway TTXGP 2010 North American Championship - by @egrandprix

Round 1 of the North American TTXGP 2010 Championship took place at Infineon Raceway, in Sonoma, near San Francisco, California

Interview with Mugen Europe's Colin Whittamore at 2012 TT ZERO - filmed by @pinkyracer

2012 SES TT Zero Awards Ceremony - filmed by @pinkyracer

The podium finishers accept their awards and have a few words to say about racing electric bikes. They each got awards for breaking the ton as well as for where they finished.

Azhar Hussain on the State of the TTXGP, the eSuperStock award, and TTXGP grid size

At the TTXGP race recently held at the Infineon Raceway, some chaps with Motorcycle.COM interviewed Azhar Hussain on the state of the TTXGP.

The video is really just a teaser of some longer piece they have posted on their website, in that this sounds like the beginning of a longer piece of conversation, which I haven't looked at, but since I've talked with Azhar a zillion times on this topic, here's my take.
TTXGP 2010 Infineon, Saturday Afternoon
What Azhar talks about here is the high level status of the TTXGP.  The organization has grown from offering a single race in 2009 on the Isle of Man, as well as an exhibition event at the Mid-Ohio Raceway later that summer, then in 2010 they launched regular race series in Europe and North America, followed in 2011 with the launch of an additional race series in Australia.

This sounds impressive, until you realize the race grid has never been very large.  The largest starting grid I recall was 12 bikes, which is a lot smaller than typical race grids.  The problem Azhar talks about in the video is the expense of developing a team to race a high end bike, and the lack of suitable production bikes that teams can just buy and modify.  In the gas bike world a team can just by an "RR" version of a bike, set it up the way they want, and go racing.  In the electric bike world, getting a high-end electric superbike requires having top notch electrical engineering skills.  For example, the video shown below spent a lot of time in the Lightning Motorcycles paddock, a team with extremely deep electric racing and electric drive train development experience.

That same race weekend saw the introduction of eSuperStock, a concept that might eventually become a race class within the TTXGP.  It's definition includes any manufactured electric motorcycle which has had sales of more than 25 units, and at the moment the only qualifying electric motorcycle is the Zero S and Zero DS from Zero Motorcycles.  As a "stock" bike, it is to have minimal modifications, only enough to meet TTXGP technical regulations, and whatever suspension changes are required to make the rider happy.  Four Zero S's ran as eSuperStock bikes that weekend, and it was somewhat successful.

The point being that it's a heck of a lot less expensive for a team to get going by buying and modifying a Zero S, than to build an electric superbike.  The TTXGP desperately needs a lot more bikes on the grid.  So the question is, how to get there?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Documentary-like video on the TT ZERO race, and MotoCzysz's involvement in the series

A little documentary about the TTXGP / TT ZERO on the Isle of Man, and especially focusing on MotoCzysz's involvement in the series.

Toyota Motorsport to race to the clouds at Pikes Peak with new electric race car

Toyota Motorsport Group last year took an electric race car, the EV P001, to the Nürburgring to set a lap record for electric cars.  This year TMG is taking the next iteration, the EV P002, to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, to see about racing to the clouds.  The specs on the new machine are a step forward from the EV P001.  Along the way Toyota seems to have changed their intent from being the sole provider of electric drive train components to a race series, to being one participant in a range of components suppliers in the burgeoning field of electric racing.

The TMG EV P002 being tested at Paul Ricard Circuit in France.
Let's start with the EV P002.  It, like the EV P001, is built on a Radical chassis but with electric drive train components.  The twin axial flux motors produce a 350 kilowatt output (approx 470 horsepower), and a maximum torque of 900 Nm.  Each motor has its own TMG-designed inverter.  It is powered by a massive 42 kilowatt-hour battery pack, and has an off-board DC charger.  TMG predicts a top speed of 150 miles/hr, in the Pikes Peak configuration.  The EV P001 had twin motors, supplied by EVO Electric, but with a maximum output of "only" 280 kilowatts.  TMG does not disclose the supplier of the EV P002 motors, but a close look at one of the pictures published by TMG and we see a motor that suspiciously looks like EVO's.

TMG’s high-performance electric powertrain, with axial flux motors and TMG inverters visible
Japanese rally champion Fumio Nutahara will drive the car. In May, TMG conducted extensive testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France to verify car and drive train performance.

Last year TMG described the project as a collaboration among several organizations, but this year the only listed collaborator is RK1 Inc.

What may be the most important tidbit is the quote down at the end of the press release:
Ludwig Zeller, General Manager Electric & Electronics: “Pikes Peak is a great showcase for TMG’s electric powertrain technology. We already proved at the Nürburgring that TMG is leading the way in developing such powertrains for motorsport and this is another sign of our commitment to this technology. TMG wants to be increasingly involved in electric motorsport and we believe our powertrain technology is an industry-leading combination of performance, durability and packaging. Electric powertrain technology in motorsport is still in its development phase but through projects like this one, TMG is laying the foundations for the future of high-performance and motorsport cars.”
The context is that there are several organizations developing electric car racing series.  TMG clearly wants to be a supplier of components to the teams which will race in these series.   TMG's purpose is to supply parts and expertise to racing teams, and if the future of racing really is electric, then TMG would be foolish to ignore the wave of change.

Last year, after attaining the Nürburgring lap record for electric cars, TMG said that event proved their drive train technology was "ideal to power any future single-make electric motorsport series."  This was clearly meant to appeal to the racing series organizers, and position TMG as the supplier to some kind of spec racing series.  This press release does not contain such a statement, but still works to position TMG as a supplier to electric racing teams.

TMG EV P002 Technical Specifications
Top Speed
240km/h (Pikes Peak configuration)
Maximum Torque
Maximum Power
Maximum Revs
Electric Motor
2 axial flux
2 x TMG inverters
Gear Ratio
Single-reduction gearing
Lithium ceramic
Battery Capacity
42 kWh
Charging Technology
Off-board DC charging


Toyota's electric race to the clouds at 2012 Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Toyota electric race car sets EV lap record at Nürburgring

Toyota Motorsport GmbH Brings Electric Technology to Pikes Peak

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kleenspeed reports on testing the EV-X11 electric race car at Infineon Raceway

Kleenspeed, developer of electric vehicle drive train components, just distributed a press release going over results of their recent testing with the EV-X11 electric race car.  This car is based on the West WX-10 race car chassis, and has been outfitted with electric drive train components for Kleenspeed to use in testing the technology being developed by the company.  The company has taken the vehicle to all the REFUEL races, and intends to do so again this year.  Their results at the REFUEL series lets the company go around claiming the EV-X11 is the fastest electric race car in the world.  I suppose Toyota or Quimera or Drayson might quibble with that claim, but Kleenspeed may be correct in that the EV-X11 is the fastest electric race car in some precise categorization.  In any case, the EV-X11 holds the track record at Laguna Seca for electric race cars.

Getting to the report - in May the company spent two days at the Infineon Raceway doing tests on days that other gas race cars were testing.

Since REFUEL 2011 the company has improved the battery management system, data collection and telemetry, and the motor controller has been turned up to 100% from the 65% it was at in 2011.  As a result of the higher power levels, they've switched from a Gates belt to a chain drive, and have upgraded the suspension system.

The first session, on May 7, Kleenspeed CEO Tim Collins took the car through 5 laps without incident.  However, they determined the car was very much faster than last years setup and needed more suspension work.

After adjusting suspension and dampers Kleenspeed brought the EV-X11 back to the track on May 14.  This time they tapped on Kevin Mitz of Rennworks Motorsports to be the driver.  They report hitting a top speed of 125 miles/hr on the front straightway at Infineon, and Mitz supposedly thinks the car can do low 1:30's lap times.

"The EV-X11 is really a revelation to drive and I'm impressed with the sophistication of the KleenSpeed powertrain. The unique EV torque curve gives me extra pull off he corners and the elimination of the constant shifting a gasser requires keeps the EV-X11 in a steady state that makes for smoother, faster laps. No question, KleenSpeed's EV technology offers significant advantages in a race car." said Kevin Mitz

KLEENSPEED President, Tim Collins offered the following insights after the sessions.

"Wow ... we really have made progress in the past year. All the data we acquired and the move to 100% power have made a huge difference in the feel the car. It is so strong now that I have to be very careful in putting the power down, as it is very easy to spin. I think the chassis tuning has helped corner speed significantly and I feel that putting a full time racer behind the wheel is really necessary now."

"In addition to the added power and torque, the car is clearly more capable. I'm really impressed with the 2012 updates to the EV-X11. All credit goes to Dante Zeviar, our CTO and chief designer, and the KleenSpeed mechanical and electrical engineers and crew members, with the input of pro racer, Kevin Mitz on chassis set up. "

"KleenSpeed wants to retain our lap record at Laguna Seca during the upcoming ReFuel TT and keep the EV-X11 as the fastest electric race car in the world. I'm very excited and looking forward to ReFuel on July 1st with confidence."

The ton breaks at 2012 TT ZERO with podium finishes for MotoCzysz and MUGEN Shinden

Mike Rutter, MotoCzysz, breaks the Ton at the 2012 TT-ZERO electric motorcycle race on the Isle of Man.  Team mate Mark Miller and John McGuiness, riding for Mugen Shinden, also broke the Ton, with Rutter turning in the fastest time of 21:45.33 mins at an average speed of 104.056 miles/hr.

The race started at 3:40 PM today local time after several rain delays.  Riders interviewed by Manx Radio were worried about track conditions, and IOM TT officials issued an official warning of damp patches and possible reduced visibility around the track.  Nervous riders aside, the race went off and the teams did very well with three teams breaking the 100 miles/hr lap speed goal.  At the same time several teams either did not even make it to the start line, or retired part way into the race.  The Isle of Man Mountain Course is a tough test of men and machines.

The race was all about Rutter, Miller and McGuiness duking it out for the podium as well as the prize for besting the 100 miles/hr lap speed.  All three achieved increasing lap speed, reaching nearly 120 miles/hr indicated lap speed, that is until they reached the mountain portion of the course.

Mike Rutter

At the Sulby speed trap the three were a bit slower, in the 120-130 miles/hr range, than Rutters 154 miles/hr speed he set during practice on Saturday.  It was reported at that time that Rutter's power was pretty well drained by that practice lap, so clearly the strategy had to be to tone it down a bit for the actual race.

A surprise came at the Bungalow timing point when the transponder system indicated McGuiness reached that timing point first.  Did that mean Rutter and Miller had bowed out of the race on the mountain?  Nope, both showed up again at the Cronk ny Mona timing point, so the transponder system simply missed registering them.

Of the other riders, only Rob Barber managed to finish the race.  He turned in a 78 miles/hr lap speed.

Of the 9 teams starting the race, only four finished.  Clearly there are two ideas to take from that:  1) the Mountain Course is very tough, 2) the electric bikes still need some testing and refinement.  For example the Ecotricity bike, the Ion Horse, ridden by George Spence, had trouble at the starting line with starting, then got underway, but by St. Ninians the bike developed some trouble, with Spence pulling over to the side of the road and then eventually retiring.  Antonio Maeso, riding for Tork India, retired even earlier.   Yoshinari Matsushita of KomattiMirai Racing made it to at least the Ramsey timing point before retiring.

I don't have a complete list of teams who were on the Island but didn't even make it to the starting line.  One was Lightning Motorcycles whose rider, John Burrows, was down at the start line and got interviewed by Manx Radio.  He felt completely let down by that team, complaining that the bike didn't make it to practice and now didn't make it to the start line, even after he had flown to California for testing the bike.  Having seen the Lightning team at a dozen or so races, I'm sure that Hatfield and everyone he had on hand had busted their butts trying to get ready, but what counts is the results of the race.

Final results:

  1. Mike Rutter, 2012 Motoczysz Elpc / Team Segway Racing MotoCzysz, 21 45.33 mins, 104.056 miles/hr
  2. John McGuinness, MUGEN Shinden / Team MUGEN, 22 08.85 mins, 102.215 miles/hr
  3. Mark Miller, 2012 Motoczysz Elpc / Team Segway Racing MotoCzysz, 22 23.97 mins, 101.065 miles/hr
  4. Rob Barber, Zero Emission TGM / TGM IOT - Vienna, 28 56.45 mins, 78.221 miles/hr

Monday, June 4, 2012

Random TTZERO tweets, Monday June 4, 2012, Lightning seen, MotoCzysz breaks ton, etc