A wind-powered electric superbike, developed by one the UK's leading universities and backed by Britain's leading green energy company, is taking to the famous Isle of Man TT circuit to become the first electric bike to complete a 100mph average lap.
The £150,000 bike, named the 'Ion Horse', has been developed from the ground up by a team at Kingston University London (KUL) and incorporates radical features unseen on an electric bike before. Its lithium polymer cobalt cells power the bike from 0-60mph in three seconds, with a top speed of 140mph. These include a unique new direct drive system expected to give the team the competition edge, whose exact details are being kept closely under wraps.
The team is being backed by Britain's first green energy company Ecotricity, as part of its mission to help make sport more sustainable and show that electric vehicles can be fast and fun without damaging the planet. The bike will completely powered by wind energy, which will come from Ecotricity's fleet of 52 windmills. In October 2010, Ecotricity founder Dale Vince unveiled the all-British Nemesis wind-powered sports car, capable of 0-100mph in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 170mph, with the aim of "blowing the socks off Jeremy Clarkson".
The TT Zero race on Wednesday 8 June 2011 will see electric superbikes from all over the world compete around the Isle of Man's twisting 37 mile road circuit. The first electric bike to do a 100mph lap will receive a £10,000 prize from the Isle of Man Government that has remained unclaimed since the race began in 2009.
Ecotricity founder and keen biker Dale Vince said:
"Following hard on the heels of our wind powered car, the Nemesis - comes Ion Horse our wind powered bike. The guys at Kingston have built an amazing machine and we expect it to take the TT by storm. It's another great demonstration of how transport of the very near future will be - powered by renewable energy, made in Green Britain - and with zero pollution."
Kingston University London Ion Horse team manager Paul Brandon said:
"The Ion Horse is the culmination of years of cutting-edge technology coming together for one purpose – to take the TT's 100mph lap record. But it's also a design showcase for what electric bikes could be like, and thanks to the support of Ecotricity, completely powered by wind energy."
This will be the third year that KUL has entered a bike, having come fifth in 2010, and will again be ridden by George Spence with Paul Brandon as team manager. The team will take part in qualifying sessions on 4 and 6 June before the main race itself.