21st February 2012
Honda enter electric racer in Isle of Man TT
By Leo Kent

Honda's first electric bike concept, the RC-E, unveiled at Tokyo Motor Show.

When it comes to electric vehicles, speed is not the first thing that comes to mind. I mean, an owner of a G-whizz is not going to fare too well against some souped-up sports car in a race at the traffic lights.

Speed means prizes

Electric motorcycles haven’t received anywhere near as much coverage as electric cars but these bikes are getting seriously fast as has been proved at the Isle of Man TT races where the TT Zero class is in its fourth year. In order to be eligible for this race the motorcycle has to have an engine that emits absolutely no CO2. The mountain course is 37.7 miles long and it is done by time trials. The Isle of Man government is giving away £10,000 to the first team to average the lap at 100mph. Last year MotoCzysz’s electric bike was five seconds off this target.

Mugen’s new electric bike will be competing this summer. Mugen are closely associated with Honda due to the former company being set up in 1973 by Soichiro Honda’s son, Hirotoshi and they still work very closely together. With this in mind Mugen may well have used Honda technology to help develop its motorbike, possibly the Honda RC-E electric concept bike (pictured above) that was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Just the beginning for electric bikes

“We are keen to use this excellent event to educate and prepare the engineers of the next generation for the use of future technology,” Satoshi Katsumata of Team Mugen said in a statement. “We are very excited about adding to the long history of Japanese manufacturers on the Isle of Man.”

So far only small bike firms have entered the TT Zero competition and this is perhaps because larger manufacturers fear being outdone in the time trials by lesser-known bikes. If Mugen is successful this year it is likely Honda and other major firms will start entering their electric bikes into the competition next year.

For more on electric vehicles please read:

The electric Rolls-Royce you can plug in at home

Getting electric cars off the grid

Parisians pilot world-first electric car hire

The car that can jump start a house

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