The Isle of Man TT race is renowned amongst the motorbike fraternity as the pinnacle of competition. In many ways the TT race has put the Isle of Man on the map and true to form, the island will now be hosting the latest Isle of Man TT challenge with a difference. The Isle of Man TT Zero challenge offers participants the chance to race on the latest electric motorbikes which take in an array of new technology. The electric motorbike race started in 2010 and every year since then we have seen momentum building and now a number of corporate teams have their eye on the prize.
The main participants this year are teams from the University of Ohio and MUGEN Honda will also be entering two bikes in the race. The one lap 60 km race will take place on Wednesday, 4 June at 10:45 and with the different mix of competitors this year it is eagerly awaited.
The speed of modern day electric motorbikes
Even though many people have a very old-fashioned opinion of electric motor travel you may be surprised to learn that the modern day electric motorbike can hit in excess of 110 mph. Even though the industry is still very much in its infancy it is worth noting that each year since 2010, when the Isle of Man TT Zero challenge commenced, we have seen year-on-year record-breaking speeds. Last year saw speeds of around 109 mph and this year experts believe this record will be broken.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The Isle of Man TT Zero race gets more and more crowded each year."
Aside from the fact that the motorbikes in question have no CO2 emissions it is interesting to learn from riders that there are no handling issues. Indeed many professional riders cite the fact that because there is no engine braking they feel more confident driving through corners at high speed. There is no doubt that momentum is building within the electric car and electric motorbike industries with the onset of Formula E nearly upon us.
Electric vehicle test beds
Even though billions upon billions of dollars have been spent on the electric vehicle industry over the last few years, nothing beats the feedback and the data that you receive back from constant testing in racing conditions. Who would have believed that an electric bike would be able to reach speeds in excess of 110 mph around the difficult Isle of Man TT 60 km track?
Historically the Isle of Man TT Zero challenge has been dominated by private individuals and while some are concerned at the increase in corporate activity this year, it was in many ways inevitable. If private individuals, with a passionate interest in electric motorbikes, can come together with their corporate counterparts (who have significant financial backing) then it should be possible to push this industry much further, much quicker. We wait with bated breath for the outcome of Wednesday's latest helping of the Isle of Man TT Zero challenge and will report back on what promises to be an eventful race.