Elements of electric motorcycles

The Ego Corsa for the MotoE World Cup

An electric motorcycle is a bike in which the combustion engine is replaced by an electric motor. The same applies to the auxiliary components of the engine: the tank, the fuel system and the exhaust are replaced by the battery and the converter/inverter. From the mechanical point of view, however, there are no substantial differences: the chassis, suspension and brakes are conceptually the same between the two types of bike.
The wheel motion comes from a traditional transmission which, for the MotoE, it's a chain. On the bike designed by Energica , the transmission pinion is rotated by the electric motor through a series of gears integrated in the same motor housing. Other manufacturers adopt different solutions: some have the pinion rigidly mounted on the shaft of the electric motor, coupling it to a large crown to reduce the number of revolutions, but there are also those who have chosen to keep the clutch and a traditional gearbox.

The MotoE without fairings in front of a charging station

On the MotoE the motor rotation speed is defined by a converter that works together with an inverter; the latter is a device that transforms the direct current from the battery into alternating current which powers the motor. The converter instead, modifies the frequency of the electric current that feeds the motor thus varying the number of revolutions. When the rider keeps the throttle closed when the bike is stationary, the electric motor does not turn so the clutch does not need to be present.

Detail of the left handlebar of the Ego Corsa

In addition, an electric motor produces less heat than an internal combustion engine; as a consequence, the Ego Corsa has neither a heat exchanger nor a radiator because there is little thermal energy amount to dissipate. The energy for the motor is taken from the battery: the continuous electric current supplied by the battery is transformed into alternating current at the frequency set by the accelerator control. While the electric motor has a limited footprint, so it is not for the battery which is very heavy and bulky. The autonomy of an electric motorcycle depends on how much energy can be stored in the battery, so the more km you want to do, the heavy the battery must be.

The deep analysis of the main components of electric motorcycles are described in the technology section of the website.

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