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Checklist for Electric Motorcycle, Scooter and Cycle-Car Development


Building of prototype electric two-wheelers by Cedric Lynch over the past 15 years has yielded a large amount of experimental data from which a number of successful vehicles have been developed.

These fall into the following main classes:

Long-range 2 wheelers

For each class of vehicle, detailed measurements have enabled the main energy losses to be calculated- eg aerodynamic drag, tyre losses, rolling friction of motor and transmission, viscous losses of oil in gearboxes &c.

This has confirmed that aerodynamic losses predominate above a relatively low speed - eg the air drag of a moped can be several times that of a streamlined motorcycle below 45 kph.

We are now investigating more systematically the principal design parameters of 2-wheelers with
a. conventional frames,
b. conventional frames with increasing amounts of aerodynamic enclosure,
c. monococq construction with fully protective aerodynamic enclosure.

A great advantage of electric vehicle development is that both on prototype drive units and complete vehicles the total power input can be read off continuously (Amps x Volts). This means that the results of small changes are immediately apparent.


The principal factors to be examined include the following:

Performance - Cruising and max speeds, on level and hill-climbing; max gradient, speed.

Vehicle weight - Acceleration and hill-climbing. Effect on range. Implications of weight distribution; location of main masses - motor and batteries, front or rear; sprung/unsprung weight ratios.

Wheels and Tyres - Wheel size, diameter & width, in relation to aerodynamic enclosure, turning circle, stability, suspension (unsprung weight) &c.
Tyres - rolling resistance, ply construction, material (hysteresis &c), stability, performance in wet.

Enclosure - Aerodynamics and air drag - drag coefficients. Enclosed structures structural strength, monococqs and space-frames; surface skins & foam inserts; use of reinforced plastic composites.
Accessibility - tyre repairs, servicing.
Safety - cornering ability, stability in cross winds (eg rear wheel compliance), collision protection (30mph crash testing). Low speed stability of 2-wheelers - use of feet or stabilising wheels; effects of kerbs, other obstacles, traffic &c. Stabilising wheel size, type, materials - pneumatic, solid or filled?
Ergonomics - seating position, visibility, steerability.

Drive system - Motor position, front or rear drive. Transmission - variable ratio required? How to reduce transmission losses, relative merits of different systems.

Controllers - desirable control characteristics, efficiencies. Electric assistance of pedal vehicles with torque-sensitive control.

Power supply - Evaluation of battery characteristics and types. Safety on collision.

Statutory Reqts - Construction & Use regulations; number plates, L plates, lights, mirrors &c, effect on body shape & aerodynamics, vehicle classes and speed limits.


a. Improved ‘rolling chassis’ to evaluate mechanical structures, wheel sizes, steering and rear stabilising systems, seating positions, stabilising wheels where needed, motor and component positions (eg front or rear wheel drive) &c.

b. Composite structures - reinforced resin, dual-skin foam-filled &c. Transparent plastic enclosures. Comparison with conventional tubular steel construction.

c. Drive-train test rig - rolling road to evaluate complete motor-transmission systems, including tyres.


Data from above programme to be used for design of electric two-wheelers and cycle-cars with maximum range, safety, collision-resistance, weather-protection &c - to determine optimum speeds, acceleration and hill-climbing.

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