Published on June 14th, 2010 | by Susanna Schick1
CRP Technology Launches the eCRP Electric Motorcycle for TTXGP and Beyond
The first Italian purpose-built production electric superbike, the eCRP takes full advantage of CRP Technology’s rich history of race engineering success. CRP has been making critical parts for Formula 1, WRC, MotoGP and top Italian supercar manufacturers since the early 1970’s.
I was lucky enough to be treated to a full tour of their Modena headquarters, just around the way from the Ducati, Lamborghini & Ferrari factories. Given Italy’s rich history of high-performance motor vehicle design and CRP’s deep experience in the field, I suspect the eCRP has a good chance of holding her own against her legendary gas-powered sisters — Ducati, Aprilia, MV Agusta et al. As you can see in the photo above, this bike is clearly designed in Italy. OK, so it’s not red, but the lines are gorgeous. The bikes for the TTXGP will be delivered unpainted so teams can paint to their sponsor’s specs.
First, the Specs
The eCRP 1.2 is loaded with the following:
- Twin Agni 95 DC motors
- Voltage: 92V
- Batteries: Packs starting from 7.4 KWh
- On-Board Battery Management System
- Charging Time: ~3 hours
- Endurance: Over 40 Km in TTXGP Configuration
- Top Speed: ~200 Km/hour
- Weight ~160 Kg
- Custom Ohlins rear shock
- Marzocchi D.43 Superbike forks
- Floating wave rotors
- Brembo 4 piston radial caliper front brakes
- Marchesini or OZ wheels
- CRP-built Aluminum cast alloy Chassis
- Windows software
- USB based system to enable peripherals
- MSRP €40,000
- Lease options also available: €5,000+VAT for single race or €18,000+VAT for entire season, + €10,000 Deposit
Race Engineering Runs in the Family
Franco Cevolini, Chairman and Technical Director, pictured above with Technical Director Giampiero Testoni, showed me the broad range of equipment and materials they use to manufacture high-performance parts. CRP is most well-known for their proprietary polyamide carbon blend material, Windform, which they use to build a wide range of parts using selective laser sintering. Unlike most rapid prototyping, these are not molds or samples but the actual parts, everything from valve covers to critical fairing (bodywork) sections. Race teams email their new technical drawings before the day’s end, then CRP fires up the SLS machine and have a new part ready to ship to the track the next morning.
The family-owned company is run by two generations of Cevolini family engineers. The bulk of my information came from Livia, the youngest, and CRP’s Marketing & Sales Director. Her brother, Franco Cevolini joined us to give the tour of the factory and racing departments. In the racing department we met with the founder, Franco and Livia’s father Roberto, who was busy working on their Moto2 bike.
Because all Moto2 competitors are given a sealed engine, they had tested the bike in their wind tunnel to see if there was any way to improve the bike’s aerodynamics. They had a rather interesting tank cover, but essentially had found no real advantage could be made in the wind tunnel, so he was working out how to make the bike exit turns more quickly. With a field of around 40 of the world’s most blood-thirsty young riders on identical engines, Moto2 is the most competitive series today, making it an extreme proving ground for all involved. I suspect that a lot of the lessons they’re learning in Moto2 will translate well to the twin Agni-powered eCRP.
Technical Details of the eCRP
CRP Racing’s managing director, Giampiero Testoni, walked me through the on-board computer and the rest of the bike. I mentioned that it was strange to see a solid triple clamp, then Giampiero told me to reach under the triple clamp. It was quite hollow, of course. The smooth top makes it a great place to mount peripherals. The on-board computer is a Windows OS. Giampiero showed me the screen pictured below, which is so small I would have trouble reading it even at a stop. However, the display for actual riding will be much more user-friendly. When discussing the practicality of placing the motors on either side, as many others have done too, I told Giampiero about how overheating seemed to be the most common problem at Infineon. He explained that they were developing a product that would enable more air to reach the intake ports which are essentially perpendicular to the air flow.
TTXGP rules state that each bike must have an emergency stop button somewhere behind the rider. Most of the bikes I saw at Infineon put this button on top of the tail section, making them look a little silly and a little dangerous all at once. I haven’t done a deep enough dive into the TTXGP rules wiki to understand the reasoning, but I like that CRP installed it The Italian Way. They tucked it under the tail section, so that it doesn’t mar the beauty of the lines they painstakingly designed.
Livia was excited about the functionality they are planning for the eCRP. She told me the production version will have GPS built-in so that riders can easily plan their route to find charging points as needed. The eCRP 1.2 is designed to TTXGP specs, which means a longevity of 40km at race speeds, enough for a typical TTXGP race. Livia explained to me that they are striving to create a bike that can spend a day exploring the Dolomites, not just run to the office and back. Here you can see former MotoGP star Roberto Locatelli completing the first test of the eCRP 1.2. He’s quite a bit smaller than me (I’m 6′ tall) but I felt right at home on the bike when I sat on it. It felt a lot like my Aprilia RS250, with the handlebars tilted inward more like a 125. I can’t wait to ride one!
Photo Courtesy CRP Racing.
Racing The eCRP
I was prepared to ask Livia what inspired them to create the eCRP and get so deeply involved in the Italian TTXGP, but she volunteered this information. Livia explained that they had tried to get involved in racing electric cars, but that it was prohibitively expensive. When her friend Chris Aylett from the Motorsport Industry Association suggested she get involved in TTXGP, Livia thought it would be even more costly and difficult than cars. However, after speaking with Azhar Hussain, TTXGP founder, she decided it would be a worthwhile endeavor.
We both agreed that Azhar is such a compelling person and passionate entrepreneur that it’s impossible to resist joining his cause. I am actively trying to convince many of my racer/engineer friends to form teams, particularly for the Italian series, which will now start August 29 instead of in June, giving teams more time to prepare. Check eGrandPrix’s news site for the full update soon. So not only are CRP building bikes for the series, Livia is also doing a tremendous amount of organizational work for TTXGP Italy. Soon I will post a short video of the eCRP 1.2 in action at the first test, which took place June 10th.
Upon discussing the cost of racing in the TTXGP with a potential team owner, I found that it’s actually cheaper than racing a 125cc 2-stroke in the Italian Championship series. (much cleaner, too!) With the blistering pace set by the MotoCzysz in the TTZero at Isle of Man last week, the bar has been raised, and I am excited about the level of competition this brings to the sport. I suspect it won’t be long before there needs to be two classes of electric motorcycle races to separate the fast from the very fast.
The eCRP team poses with TTXGP CEO Azhar Hussain (far left) and the 1.0. From right: Giampiero Testoni, Franco Cevolini, Livia Cevolini, and MIA representative Chris Aylett. Photo Courtesy CRP Racing.
All photos by Susanna Schick, except as indicated.