Open wheel racing fans have Formula E, the series for electric race cars. Starting in 2019, MotoGP fans will get to enjoy electric motorcycle racing during race weekends. That’s according to MotoGP promoter Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta, who tells Motorsports.com that the foundation for the new racing series is already being put in place.
The closest thing to world class electric motorcycle racing available today occurs every year at the Isle of Man TT. See the video below. For MotoGP to put its prestige and marketing heft behind such a program marks a major commitment to alternatve fuel technologies.
Ezpeleta says the plan is to have the electric motorcycle racing act as a support series alongside MotoGP. He expects up to 18 bikes to take to the grid at as many as five MotoGP races in the first season. The Dorna chief says at least four manufacturers have offered to supply bikes for the electric championship.
The series will be similar to Formula E in that it will use spec built racers, at least to begin with. All the bikes on the grid will be identical with the same batteries, motors, and battery management systems. That approach worked well for Formula E because the cost of getting involved in the series was kept low at a time when nobody knew if fans would turn out to watch electric open wheel racing.
The electric motorcycles are expected to hit speeds of around 200 kmph, which makes them slightly slower than the current Moto3 versions. The races are planned to last around 10 laps each. It’s also said that independent teams and leading Moto2 teams will be given slots on the grid if they want to participate in the all-electric race.
Ezpeleta says that unlike Formula E, which uses carbon-neutral glycerine generators to recharge its cars, the MotoGP support series could make use of solar panels. That way, the series would leave a valuable asset behind for track owners after the weekend is over. It is likely that the five race season will be a Europe-only series, at least at first.
As Formula E is currently in its third season and is thriving. Most of the small, independent teams on the grid the first year have now been taken over by large global manufacturers anxious to demonstrate the electric car prowess to the world. Electric bike racing is not for the faint hearted. Feast your eyes on this video showing bike pilot extraordinaire John McGuinness setting the electric bike record at the Isle of Man TT on board an electric Mugen Shinsen machine.
Source: Car and Bike