A daring challenge motivates environmentally minded engineering students.
Travelling around the world in a mere 80 days seemed like a preposterously ambitious idea when Jules Verne wrote his celebrated novel in 1873. Today a pair of Dutch master’s students have raised their sights even higher: to achieve the same goal on an electric motorcycle.
The students will be competing in the 80-Day Race, a new challenge that hopes to attract 30 teams in 2017. Among the few rules is that competing vehicles may not be supported by any sort of fuel-combustion engine. Together with 28 fellow students at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Wilco Pesselse and Texas van Leeuwenstein have built a prototype of an electric motorcycle whose most innovative element is a battery divided into 24 cartridges that produce 28.5 kWh, allowing a range of about 380 kilometres.
“It means we can renew our energy faster and even carry charged cartridges with us,” explains van Leeuwenstein. The team can also adapt the motorbike to the conditions. “If we are going through difficult terrain, we can choose to use only half the cartridges, bringing down the weight and increasing driveability”. Adds Pesselse: “We wanted a bike that could go far and fast, but one that was still comfortable without being like a couch”.
Called Eindhoven Storm, the team will now start testing and improving their prototype.
“We’re hoping we can turn this adventure into a start-up. But no matter what, the experience we’re gaining is priceless,”
says van Leeuwenstein.
Discover more about STORM, the electric motorbike!