As battery-electric vehicle technology has advanced, startups from all over the world have rushed to capitalize on a new vehicular frontier. Starting any business isn’t cheap, but making motorbikes of any type is usually a less daunting task than building cars. That’s probably why we’ve seen so many electric motorcycle and scooter startups come (and go) in a very short period of time.
Most of the time, EV bike startups concentrate on building a new machine from scratch—not on converting existing combustion bikes over to electrics. Still, whether your primary interest is in giving a perfectly good older machine a new lease on life, or you just want to lower your emissions as much as you can, this area seems ripe for additional exploration.
That’s why the E-Core project exists. The Belgium-based team consists of Ben Surain and Guy Salens, who have together presented a prototype E-Core unit that they’re looking to develop further. It’s essentially a one-to-one replacement for the 50cc single-cylinder Honda engine found in so many Honda vehicles and their copycats.
Gallery: E-Core Prototype
That single 50cc mill has been and continues to be extremely popular around the world, in a multitude of vehicles that riders use every single day. Thus, the inventors reason, if E-Core could be produced in a low-cost, efficient manner, in a way that could easily be swapped into existing machines, it could be a serious game-changer for the advancement of both electric mobility and clean energy pursuits.
As they see it, either the E-Core becomes a high-priced, boutique item available only to the very few—or it’s produced on a massive scale, which can keep costs down and make it more accessible to more riders that may wish to make the switch. "The E-Core project is a paradigm shift in the usual design of my two electric wheels,” Surain said in a statement.
“I always drew and prototyped from scratch, creating an entirely new model. This required a lot of drawing, CAD and manufacturing time as well. As parts were not standardized, this generated high costs, many hours of drawing, manufacturing, assembling, testing, corrections but [a] lot of satisfaction when some problems were solved,” he continued.
"Admittedly, this allowed me to present unique models of their kind and master all the process, as I did through the Surain Electrocycles project since 10 years. To be viable, this type of unique concept must be sold at very high price or being produced on a large scale to decrease the cost and requires a heavy structure in organization, industrialization, communication and of course large financing needs,” said Surain.
"The prototype is working and several tests are done as we speak. The E-Core will be an economic alternative for an LEV. Now, we are looking for investors who believe in this project and who can give us a little push with the production and the distribution of the product,” he concluded.
While the team obviously don’t want to give away all their secrets, here are the specs provided so far. The battery is an 1,800-watt, removable lithium-ion unit. The motor is a three-kilowatt, permanent magnet synchronous motor (which can produce eight kilowatts at peak). The prototype utilizes both 3D printed and laser-cut parts, and the unit of course has full Bluetooth connectivity.
The idea certainly seems promising—but it remains to be seen whether E-Core or something like it will ever become a full-scale and practical reality. Here’s hoping it does—solutions like this seem to address a multitude of pain points with regard to EV adoption by a large portion of the public.