Here’s another high school motorcycle project, this time the design was aimed at building a highly efficient, environmentally friendly commuter with safety features not found on most bikes. The result is this lithium phosphate ion powered electric with an enclosed structure designed to keep the rider inside in the event of a crash and protect him with crush zones of compressible material. There’s even a seat belt!
Saint Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Minn., received a $10,000 InvenTeams grant from the Lemelson-MIT program which, along with a number of other sponsors and supporters, provided the financial backing to get things going.
The 19 member student team researched other electric motorcycles first and then began designing their own in the summer of 2007, creating the plans in SolidWorks.
The frame and full roll cage is built from TIG welded 4130 chromoly tubing. The 60-volt primary system with 5 lithium phosphate ion batteries drives a Briggs and Stratton ETEK electric motor for a range of 40+ miles and a top speed of 60 mph. The on board 110 volt charger can recharge the batteries in less than 3 hours. The body is a molded composite of carbon fiber, Kevlar, and Nomex honeycomb, providing both protection from the weather and minor collisions with impact absorbing foam housed in the collapsible composite framework.
Advisor, Mark Westlake sent along some information summing up the project:
The Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team was created in an effort to take students out of the textbook and provide budding engineers with real life problem-solving activities. Students are pushed to realize that science is not always easy, that it does not always work, and that the answers are not always at the back of the book. … In the past ten years, students on the team have designed, built, tested, and competed with small one-person vehicles that are as varied as the contests they were built for. The team has put its inventive talents to use in Supermileage, Electrathon, The World Human Powered Ice Race, Solar Bike Rayce, The National Indoor Electric Ice Vehicle Challenge, and the Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge.