EVERY GOOD IDEA begins somewhere small. For 16 Swiss design and engineering students, that meant imagining what the future of electric-powered motorbikes might be like. They came up with the Ethec prototype. It isn’t exactly what you’d call sleek, but it does win in the functionality department. And with a bit more work, it actually could be great.
This bad boy can go as far as 400km on a single charge. That means it could get you from Ku De Ta to Uluwatu – not a bad deal for a two-wheeler, even if it’s a chunky monkey.
Range Anxiety Takes A Backseat Here
With the exception of the Brutus V9, electric bikes have rarely been satisfactory when it comes to range. This is where the Ethec bike gets the nod of approval. Most e-bikes get by with 300km, but Swiss e-bike maker Ethec wanted to top that by another 100km.
Battery range is maximised with the help of a rather awkward-looking 1,260 cell lithium-ion battery. The performance of lithium-ion batteries is greatly affected by polarising temperatures, and the designers wanted to keep it at its ideal operating temperature. All this made possible by a thermoelectric cooling system of oil-cooling, fans and cooling fins.
Turning Lost Energy Into Power
It also employs regenerative braking, a technology also found in a Tesla Roadster or Prius. An average bike wastes 75 per cent of its energy on braking. The Ethec thumbs its nose at such waste. A front wheel motor brings this lost energy to life by recharging the battery with it.
Not a lot more is said, but here’s what we know: It has a peak output of 50kW, it’s built on a lightweight tube frame and it can travel as fast as 135km/h. It also has a keyless start and a seven-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation.
Cool, but the clumsy body and its unimpressive horsepower of 67 means more time in development has to happen before it ever goes into production. Until then, it remains an idea that could become great someday – we hope.