Designing an Electric Motorcycle for the World's Oldest and Most Dangerous Motorcycle Race
I will describe the process of designing, building and testing a high performance electric motorcycle for the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) Zero race. The TT is the oldest existing motorcycle race (est. 1907), and is known for high speeds, over 200 sharp turns, and danger to the rider. These demands created a challenge to engineer a machine that was capable of finishing the entire course on a single battery charge in the fastest time possible. The design process consisted of systems engineering, subsystem design, final system design, testing, and model validation. Real-time sensing provided a rich data set that was used to validate the models; it was found that the models were able to predict the acceleration, maximum speed, and energy consumption to within 10% of the actual values. I will also discuss the lessons I learned from this and other experiences for teaching complex system design through extracurricular student teams and senior capstone design courses.
Lennon Rodgers is a visiting researcher at Bern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland and previously a post-doctorate researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He earned his PhD and M.S. from MIT and B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (all mechanical engineering). He also worked for three years at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. All of his research is related to modelling, designing, building, instrumenting and testing complex systems ranging from spacecraft to electric vehicles.
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