Voxan Wattman - first high-performance electric motorcycle

Voxan Wattman - first high-performance electric motorcycle

01.07.2020: The Wattman is the first high-performance electric motorcycle made by Voxan, specially designed for our latest world speed record project. In July 2021, the Voxan Wattman will attempt to set a new world speed record on the Salar de Uyuni salt flat

 
The Wattman is the first high-performance electric motorcycle made by Voxan, specially designed for our latest world speed record project.



In July 2021, the Voxan Wattman will attempt to set a new world speed record on the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia. Riding this exceptional machine will be six-time motorcycle racing world champion Max Biaggi.


 
Voxan Motors, part of the Venturi Group, is proud to be partnered by global telecommunications innovators ROKiT Group. No strangers to speed and the power of electric mobility, the ROKiT Group are also title partners of Venturi’s Formula E Team, ROKiT Venturi Racing.
 


Commenting on the partnership, ROKiT Group Founder, Jonathan Kendrick, said: “When Venturi President Gildo Pastor showed us the Voxan Wattman and talked me through the world speed record attempt we were very impressed by his vision, ambition and the commitment of his team in creating the technology involved.



To have our ROKiT red livery on such a unique piece of electric engineering reflects our ethos as a group of companies and is a real honour. Gildo is a true pioneer and we are delighted to partner with him and Voxan Motors on what we hope will be a highly successful and ground-breaking record attempt.”
 



Like every vehicle manufactured by the Venturi Group, the Voxan Wattman is the product of a pioneering development process, in terms both of its design and the technology behind it.



Uniquely, the Wattman is an entirely new concept, not based on any existing vehicle. When the teams at Voxan Motors first began working on the project in the autumn of 2018, they started totally from scratch with a blank page. From there, everything quickly snowballed: "We were keen to move fast", explains Louis-Marie Blondel, who both oversaw the project’s development and personally test-rode the motorcycle.


"So we focused on two main points: drag (aerodynamics) and stability at high-speed. We were aiming to have the smallest possible projected area, but with a long wheelbase and a large rake, so the rider would be positioned as low as possible.




We then identified a target speed, based on the existing record, which was originally 327.6 km/h (203.56 miles/h), but which was set at just over 329 km/h (204.48 miles/h) (by Ryuji Tsuruta, riding a MOBITEC EV-02A) in the autumn of 2019. That made no difference to our roadmap, as we were already aiming for a minimum of 330 km/h (205.05 miles/h)."

 

Aerodynamic tests




"The aim of the test was to confirm the machine’s aerodynamics, and study its behaviour at the simulated speed", says Franck Baldet, the project’s technical director.



"We were able to do aerodynamic calculations up to more than 240 km/h (149.1 miles/h), which provided us with a wealth of information. Above that speed, we were getting into uncharted territory, but we learned other things from our track testing, and the thousands of computer simulations we did.



On a very low-grip track, the slightest deviation can have very significant implications for stability. That’s why the design and aerodynamic profile of the motorcycle are so important."



To get a closer look at how the record-targeting Wattman behaved, Voxan’s engineers began by testing a prototype in a wind tunnel.




Ground braking front axle and chassis




In addition to its futuristic carbon fairing designed specifically for the task at hand, the Voxan Wattman boasts some special technical characteristics that set it apart from conventional motorcycles.


To maximise the distance between the front and rear wheels (a longer wheelbase provides more stability), Voxan’s engineers designed the motorcycle with a double-wishbone front suspension, rather than a telescopic fork. This keeps both sides of the wheel clear, a practical solution that helps lower drag while allowing for quicker and easier replacement.



The bike is steered by a link and swingarm, allowing the rider to sit further back and lowering the machine’s centre of gravity. The chassis is made from aerospace-grade steel, while the running gear and wheel rims are aluminium.


"There is no front brake, for several reasons", continues Franck Baldet. "Firstly, it’s better aerodynamically at high speed, but also on the vast salt flats it takes quite a while to accelerate (due to the low grip surface) and we have plenty of room to slow down.



Last, but most importantly, front wheel braking at very high speed on a salt flat can unbalance the motorcycle and cause a fall. We aren’t using a parachute, but the rider does have a rear-wheel brake, which he controls with the left handlebar grip, and also engine-braking controlled by a small lever on the right handlebar grip."





Dry ice cooling




Unlike other motorcycles, the Voxan Wattman has no conventional cooling system. This means it is able to dispense with a radiator, something that is seen as an aerodynamic disadvantage.



To prevent overheating, the fluid present in the circuit is cooled by dry ice (carbon dioxide compressed to the solid state, "dry" ice that does not become water when it melts), contained in a tank mounted under the seat. The cooled fluid is then pumped through the cooling circuit which runs through the heart of the powertrain.




Standard tyres tested in extreme conditions




To do that, the teams from Voxan Motors and Michelin used test benches normally reserved for aircraft tyres! This enabled them to work with higher loads and speeds, and verify that the tyres selected for the Voxan Wattman were capable of withstanding speeds of up to 450 km/h, providing a sufficient margin of safety for the 2020 testing programme.



For this first world record attempt, and despite the Voxan Wattman’s weight, both Voxan Motors’ own engineers and their counterparts at Michelin, the Monegasque constructor’s technical partner for its world speed record attempts, concluded that there was no need to develop a custom tyre.



The tyres used are Michelin Pilot RS+, 190x55R17 for the rear wheel, and 120x70R17 for the front. They are both grooved, as required under FIM rules for record attempts. Officially approved for a maximum speed of 350 km/h, the tyres were tested to determine their true limits.
 



FABRICE BROUWERS- photos Voxan

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/voxan-wattman-first-high-performance-electric-motorcycle---208354.html

01.07.2020 / MaP

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