In July 2020, student electric superbike builders Warwick Moto unveiled the Aurora, their very first superbike design. Based on a Honda Fireblade, the multidisciplinary group of students at the University of Warwick built an electric motor, battery, cooling systems and all the components needed to create an electric superbike. They had started the project long before the pandemic hit, with the intention of competing in a future Isle of Man TT Zero race. Once COVID shut things down, they just continued to work quietly on their construction.
As every small racing team and student project manager knows, building any type of independent racing bike is expensive. The same goes for new technologies. When you do both at the same time, like Warwick Moto does, it’s important to have good sponsors on your side. Fortunately, in October 2020, Norton Motorcycles stepped in for Warwick Moto and started supporting their electric superbike ambitions.
Norton donated a high performance bike frame and various unspecified data to the students, which is quite useful. What’s even cooler, however, was that students got to consult with experienced Norton engineers as well. It allows them to tap into that repository of experiential knowledge that you really can’t get elsewhere. Sometimes the most important benefits are intangible.
The Warwick Moto team created their new electric superbike, called Frontier, based on what they had previously developed combined with the new Norton frame and data. The electric powertrain found in Frontier makes 160 kW, or 201 horsepower and 400 newton-meters (or 295 foot-pounds) of torque. It’s worth noting at this point that the team haven’t made the weight of the bike or many other details available, but it’s still impressive.
The battery, which Warwick Moto designed and built in-house, is immersion cooled. The team uses robust thermal management strategies to help the battery last longer, as well as to better handle the short-term power spikes required in racing bikes. This immersive cooling system can also help the team define precise temperature requirements for optimum performance on each track, based on real-time conditions.
Frontier uses a CHAdeMO connector to make things easy and accessible, and the battery can reach a full charge in just an hour, or up to 80% empty in just 32 minutes. Thanks to the shorter charge time, it’s easier for the team to continue their track tests without a ton of downtime.
âSince we started the Warwick Moto project, the overall goal has always been to learn and improve our engineering experience. We have gained hands-on experience in our research that is needed to deliver a real-world project, as well as balancing considerations such as tight budgets and deadlines, while learning the logistics and all that goes into making it happen. an industrial project. It made us all the more proud of the Frontier’s appearance, âWarwick Moto chief engineer Aman Surana said in a statement.
âTo have access to the Norton engineering team, years of experience and data has been a great resource, integral to the design of the bike. Combining Norton’s motorcycle knowledge with cutting-edge research from WMG, the University of Warwick has been a fantastic learning opportunity for all students involved. We are very excited to see what this collaboration leads to, âhe concluded.