What does the future have in store for motorcycle racing? That's a question that the current team at Nova Electric Racing, formerly known as NovaBike Racing Team Delft, has been working to answer for the past several months.
The DreamHall-based team was originally founded in 2009 when bio-ethanol seemed like the best alternative to more traditional but environmentally destructive fuels like diesel. With electric automobiles becoming more commonplace on highways around the world, the team decided that it was time to switch gears in more ways than one. "Currently, we're noticing an increasing number of electrical vehicles already driving around, such as Tesla cars. Charging stations are also getting more common and faster," team manager Nico van Leeuwen said. "The revolution towards electrical mobility is already happening, except for in the motorcycle industry."
Van Leeuwen and his colleagues are eager to help bring this still emerging technology to the racing world. They're currently working on the NovaBike 07, their latest motorcycle. The team is putting the finishing touches on the bike and they plan to do a few tests in Delft before they begin a more extensive series of speed trials at the Circuit Park Zandvoort later this summer.
They‘re aiming for a top speed of 250 km/h and hope that the NovaBike 07 will be able to go from zero to 100 km/h in under three seconds. One of the key factors that could impact these goals is the motorcycle's weight. They're trying to keep it under 250 kg in order to adhere to the rules and regulations that govern the 2016 MotoE Cup, a competition for electric motorcycles that they'll be participating in this August. "We really want to keep the bike as light as possible," Van Leeuwen said. "The battery pack is the biggest challenge to achieve this but, luckily, the other competitors experience the same struggle." On its own, the battery they’ll be using will contribute a substantial 80 kg to the vehicle.
Since the team is currently immersed in the difficult process of transitioning to an electric motor, Van Leeuwen and his colleagues are determined to keep their expectations realistic for the MotoE Cup. They‘ll only be participating in a few of the competitions and the chances of them returning to the Netherlands with a big win are slim. Instead, they’re focused on using renewable energy to achieve these results while they promote the future of electric mobility.
They‘ve also teamed up with Rintje Ritsma. The former Dutch speed skater earned the nickname 'Beer van Lemmer' ('Bear From Lemmer') for his muscular physique, which helped him beat four world records and earn two silver and four bronze Olympic medals. He now prefers motorcycles over skates and plans to race for Nova Racing at the MotoE Cup. The team hopes that Ritsma’s involvement will help them become more competitive in the years to come and draw attention to the brave new world of electric motorcycle racing. "We believe in the appeal of electric racing," Van Leeuwen said. "We want to prove that electric mobility, especially when it comes to racing, can be done with renewable energy and no compromises on performance."