Buckeye Current's 2013 TT Zero entry (Image: Buckeye Current on Facebook)Enlarge Photo
Electric vehicle technology is finding its way into various motorsport disciplines, but few are more exciting than the world of electric motorcycling.
Not only did an electric motorcycle win the two-wheeled class at last year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, each year one race at the world's most famous motorcycle event is dedicated to electric power alone.
It's called TT Zero, held during the Isle of Man's Tourist Trophy races in June. And this year, a team from Ohio State University is aiming to take the top spot.
Student motorsports team Buckeye Current is preparing for its second run at the event, following a landmark third-place finish on their 2013 debut.
The stakes are high, not just for victory but to navigate the course itself.
The annual TT races are held on the Isle of Man, a small island between Great Britain and Ireland. Riders navigate the 37.733-mile Snaefell Mountain Course, one of the fastest, most dangerous street circuits in the world. Since 1907 over 240 racers have died in practice and racing events on the course.
While top TT riders now average over 130 mph during the course of a lap--with the fastest classes hitting 200 mph at some points--TT Zero racers currently aim to beat a 100 mph average over a lap.
Top speeds are lower than the big boys, at around 120 mph, but despite a few slower sections on the road-based track, the TT is largely about high-speed riding. Julia Cline, Buckeye Current team leader, describes it as "the most difficult, most prestigious, most challenging course in all of motorcycle racing."
The team says its motorcycle, RW2.X, has 70 horsepower, operates at 450 volts and holds the same amount of energy as a Chevrolet Volt. The entire electronics system has been designed and built by the students, and the bike's aerodynamics have been carefully honed for optimal efficiency.
It's a huge undertaking and one that needs support--the team is always open to funding partners, promising public exposure on an international stage in return. Any backers will be helping the future of electric vehicle technology, too.
For more information and constant updates from the team, head over to the Buckeye Current Facebook page.