The upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas—from January 7 through 10—will see the public debut of the Nawa Racer—an electric motorcycle concept that combines a traditional lithium-ion battery pack with an ultracapacitor which will boost range and performance to levels even gas-powered bikes struggle to reach.
French company Nawa Technologies is responsible for the Nawa Racer, a futuristic café racer designed in conjunction with British engineering firm Envisage Group to show off Nawa’s ultracapacitor system. But rather than Nawa being a new motorcycle manufacturer itself, the company plans for its tech to be incorporated into existing designs.
The technology opens up the hybrid sector for motorcycle propulsion and works by supplementing the power on offer from the lithium-ion set-up—in the concept’s case, a relatively small 9kW/h unit producing 100 hp—with a 0.1 kW/h ultracapacitor known as the NawaCap, mounted on top of the battery unit in the area a conventional bike’s gas tank would sit. Power is converted into forward motion by the hubless rear-wheel-drive system.
Where Nawa’s configuration works at an optimum level is in stop/start city riding. The company claims its ultracapacitor captures as much as 90 percent of the energy expelled during braking and puts that back into the power unit, ready for your next burst of acceleration. By comparison, a lithium-ion battery alone can reuse roughly 20 to 30 percent of the available braking regen.
The ultracapacitor gives the Nawa Racer a claimed range of 186 miles (300 km) from its 9kW/h battery unit, as opposed to about 80 miles that could reasonably be expected from a power unit of this size, sans ultracapacitor. The company also claims the NawaCap can be fully recharged in just two minutes, with the lithium-ion battery pack taking an hour from zero to 80 percent capacity from a home power supply. The gain in projected vehicle range is due to the ultracapacitor’s ability to capture the regenerative braking much more efficiently than a standard lithium-ion battery pack.
“The Nawa Racer is our vision for the electric motorbike of tomorrow—a retro-inspired machine, but one that is thoroughly modern,” says Ulrik Grape, CEO of the firm. “Nawa Technologies’ next-gen ultracapacitors have unleashed the potential of the hybrid battery system—and this design of power train is fully scalable. There is no reason why this cannot be applied to a larger motorbike, or car or other electric vehicle. And what is more, this technology could go into production in the very near future.”