TTXGP Electric Bikes Racing – Final Round At Wakefield Park
Formula Xtreme hosted the last round of the Australian TTXGP Electric Bike Racing Series at Wakefield Park (in Goulburn, NSW, Australia) on 8th and 9th of October 2011. At the time of writing this, race 1 was completed, but race 2 to be held on 9th October is still to be done.
Why am I discussing this considering ElectricCarConversionBlog.com is about Electric Car Conversions? A lot of the technology and lessons learned from Electric Racing Bikes is transferable to Electric Car Conversions. Also, Electric Motorsport (particularly those where the rules permit a degree of freedom in terms of technology like TTXGP, is a good laboratory for Electric Vehicle Development.
There were 3 Electric Bikes competing at this round of the TTXGP. There was the Voltron of Dr Chris Jones, the Catavolt of Jon Eggenhuizen (ridden by legendary Super Moto rider Jason Morris) and the Ripperton of Daniel Sailer. Each bike had different types of motors and batteries which is great to see from an Electric Car enthusiast as it provides an opportunity to compare the different set ups in harsh racing conditions.
|Donor Bike:||Suzuki RG250||Daelim||Yamaha R1|
|Owner:||Dr Chris Jones||Jon Eggenhuizen||Daniel Sailer|
|Rider:||Dr Chris Jones||Jason Morris||Daniel Sailer|
|Motor:||2 Agni Brushed DC Permanent Magnet Electric Motors||Enertrac Brushless DC Permanent Magnet Hub Electric Motor||Modified Mars Brushless DC Permanent Magnet Motor|
|Controller:||Kelly Contoller 1200 Amps||2 Kelly Controllers KHB14601 24V-144V||Kelly Controller HP12101 24V-120V|
|Battery pack:||117 Volts comprised of A123 20Ah cells packaged to make a 60Ah pack||150 Volts comprised of LiFePO4 cells||Li Ion pack|
Race 1 was quiet as you would expect from Electric Bikes. The bikes were raced competitively and some had challenges before even coming to the starting grid. The Voltron had a damaged motor due to an incident in qualifying where the bike slipped. The Catavolt started the race with batteries that were not fully charged (due to a charging issue with the off board charger), so not bike related. During the race, race positions were swapped. The Agni motors of the Voltron were starting to smoke up and you could smell it as it went past. Just before the finish line on the last lap, the Ripperton’s motor was smoking up. The Ripperton finished first with the Catavolt not far behind. I believe there are enough points for the Catavolt to take out the championship as the Ripperton is unlikely to compete on Sunday.
Unfortunately, it means that for race 2, the Voltron and Ripperton will not be appearing.
However, from my perspective, it will be interesting to analyze what happened, what can be done to prevent these failures and how reliability can be improved. It should be remembered that race conditions are much harder than highway or street commuting conditions which means that if these bikes were ridden on a public road under normal commuting conditions, these issues will probably never have occurred.