As motorcyclists, we enjoy the smell of burning gasoline and oil. We brand the motor’s vibration as its “character”. We revel in the roar of the exhaust. However, very few residents near road raceways and motocross circuits feel the same way. For that reason, many noise restrictions have limited race events or shuttered tracks altogether.
With increasingly strict regulations on emissions and noise, Yamaha Motor Europe partnered with battery producer SPIKE, e-mobility engineering firm Dohms Projects, and the Royal Dutch Motorcyclists Association (KNMV) to develop an electric powertrain to fit into a YZ250F chassis. Based in the Netherlands, the consortium pooled resources and data from individual areas of expertise. KNMV investigated electric sustainability in motorsports while SPIKE developed battery cells and Dohms designed the drive and weight distribution of the bike.
For the all-new electric motocrosser, Dohms and SPIKE are developing a swappable battery system that should benefit dedicated track rats. With interchangeable power cells, racers will be able to charge additional batteries while they’re on the circuit and quickly change them out between heats.
“I am convinced that the electric motorcycle we build will soon be faster than the current generation of dirt bikes,” said Bas Verkaik of SPIKE. “The higher torque of the electric motor is a big advantage and enables much higher traction on the circuit.”
While the project’s potential is undoubtedly high, utilizing an existing chassis and load-sharing among the Dutch firms should help with development costs. We’ve seen garage mechanics turn ICE dirt bikes into electric torque monsters, and if this concept from Holland adds some sophistication and sustainability to the mix, Yamaha is in for a treat.
“We are happy to support this project as we feel it is important to boost developments in electric technology,” said Yamaha Europe Product Manager Leon Oosterhof. “We are very much looking forward to test and evaluate the prototype to understand how the technology from Dohms and SPIKE performs in our YZF chassis.”
Depending on the success of the project, maybe we’ll see interchangeable battery technology joins Yamaha’s new electric crate motors. First, the team needs to build the prototype and move into testing, but if the concept photo is anywhere near the final product, we can’t wait to see the results.