The Electric Motorcycle – Research and Development

For my CAS project, I wanted to do something different. Instead of doing a mainstream project that were being run by school groups, I decided to do something related to my passion for automobiles. I have completed an internship at Force Motors where I learnt the basics of software aided automotive and component design. I would leverage these skills to develop plans for building an electric motorcycle. This project was executed in October and ended in December, 2019. This project mainly relates to Learning outcome 6 – global engagement as that focus of this project was to develop a plan for a carbon-neutral motorbike. Otherwise, it relates to my personal strength and growth in the field of automobiles, promoted collaboration and required commitment and perseverance. I put together a team of experienced people with whom I have worked previously. They are not a part of the school and hence this project was externally based. My supervisor was the most experienced person in the group when it came to the overall knowledge about EV’s and this enabled us to get a headstart. We divided roles and responsibilities based on personal knowledge and experiences. I would be researching about Electric Motors and Battery packs that we could use. This research was very crucial as it consisted of the key components required to propel the bike. I read about various types of motors – from active magnet to simple ac, I also conducted a few tests to gauge the heat and speed produced by the motor. In the end we decided that the drivetrain would employ a 3.8kW single phase ac motor as it was simple and reliable. For the battery pack we would be using a Lithium Ion Battery pack having a capacity of 55kWh. My research into these battery packs were intense, I came across many new innovative ideas – using niobium as a material in the cathode due to its high energy density, methods to produce graphene through chemical vapour deposition and using a wheel driven high output alternator, driven by the front wheel to charge a reserve battery pack while the bike is in motion. The 4 of us had a lot of research to do in a span of 7 weeks. Through debates and constructive arguments, we were able to conclude the final spec list. We jointly researched on a few topics that included sourcing a pre owned KTM RC390 or Yamaha R15 so that we could use its frame as a platform to develop and house our drivetrain. By working with my colleague who specialises in manufacturing carbon fibre components, I learnt about the idea to develop kevlar reinforced carbon housings that would serve as a lightweight yet strong cover for the battery pack. Working with the operations manager made me realise the importance of keeping things straightforward as an idea maybe very innovative on paper but there is no point if it cannot be executed effectively. In conclusion, I saw this project successfully develop two things – the final plan for the electric bike and an attitude to think differently and implement effectively. I promoted the project on my automotive blog on Instagram – @arihant_taleras_garage with the help of which not only did we get many more ideas for refinements but also got the attention of respected automotive influencers.