Electric Motorcycle Racing

Date: February 9th at 4pm

Location: Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab (Makerspace, directions here).

Designing electric motorcycles for the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – the world’s oldest and most dangerous motorcycle races

This talk will describe the process of designing, building and testing electric motorcycles for the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) Zero race and more recently the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC). The TT is the oldest existing motorcycle race (est. 1907), and is known for high speeds, over 200 sharp turns, and danger to the rider. PPIHC is a similar age, shorter distance, but with more extreme mountain conditions. These demands created a challenge to engineer machines capable of finishing the entire course on a single battery charge in the fastest time possible. The design process consisted of systems engineering, subsystem design, final system design, testing, and model validation. Real-time sensing provided a rich data set that was used to validate the models; it was found for the TT that the models were able to predict the acceleration, maximum speed, and energy consumption to within 10% of the actual values. Finally, a related project with BMW will be described where the objective was to understand and improve an electric vehicle’s “distance to empty” algorithms.

About the speaker: Lennon Rodgers is the Director of the Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab (Makerspace) at UW-Madison. He earned his PhD and M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (all mechanical engineering). Previously he worked at MIT as a Research Scientist and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an engineer. All of his research is related to engineering education and modeling, designing, building, instrumenting and testing complex systems ranging from spacecraft to electric vehicles.