Piers Prendergast, a 2009 graduate of Transport Design at Coventry University, sent me these images of his final year project. It’s a fuel cell motorcycle concept with hubless wheels which are kind of unique:
The hubless wheels work though a fixed inner rim and a rotating outer rim that spins on internal bearings. The concept doesn’t technically have any motors; the rear wheel is a sort of exploded brush less motor. The rim mount (where the swingarm is attached to the inner wheel) houses an electromagnet which when magnetised with a current spins the magnet track which is mounted on the inside of the outer rim. This makes the outer rim spin on its internal bearings. The rear wheel is in fact a giant bearing with the tyre fitted to the outer rim. The electromagnet makes the outer rim spin while the centre remains fixed. This gives the appearance of a floating wheel. The electromagnet also helps recover a small amount of electricity through regenerative braking.
Compressed hydrogen cylinders are in the usual fuel tank position to supply a 5kW fuel cell having a range of around 150 miles. Piers anticipates performance would be comparable to a 125cc/250cc sports bike.
Obviously, these computer images are far from a real bike at the moment but I think the hubless wheels that act as the motor are interesting. With all of the TTXGP interest from recent weeks, this could be a possible direction for future developments, or for any electric motorcycle, for that matter.
The fuel cell idea might help with extending range, though fuel cells seem to be always on the verge, never actually getting here. Maybe one day they will but government support of the idea seems to be slowing and without it, they may never be competitive.
Piers has some nice ideas and dressed up in Kawasaki colors, it looks pretty cool.