Sometimes, the coolest projects are right on your doorstep, like the Electric Superbike Twente. A team of students fueled by an urge to contribute to sustainable ways of mobility have created something very special.

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The girls and boys at EST (Electric Superbikes Twente) have a point to prove, which is that electric mobility is not only sustainable but also a lot of fun. And if you say “fun” and “motorcycles” in the same sentence, chances are that you arrive at the subject of racing really soon.

Having previously teamed up with the Storm project - where a team of students from Eindhoven University created a motorcycle that went around the world - we ended up a little more to the north of the Netherlands in another unique project around electric mobility, this time, with a little more speed involved.

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Located in a place aptly called “The Future Factory,” Electric Superbike Twente is all about paving the way for motorcycle racing in a possibly gasoline-free future. With e-mobility becoming more and more of a hot topic amongst those looking for sustainable ways of transportation, the students from the University of Twente and the Saxion University of Applied Sciences have joined forces not only to look for efficiency in electric mobility, but also for ways to unlock performance needed to go racing.

On May 25, 2018, they unveiled their very first Electric Superbike, the “Liion-GP” in front of a crowd of over 500 people. And with the unveil of their machine, it became clear that their ambitions were lofty: race in the MotoE competition with their eyes on the podium. They did just that, and then some, clinching the European Championship title in their first year.

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It’s still the “early days” for electric-powered racing, and at the moment, it’s often labeled as a support class, at best.

That said, it doesn’t hinder the ambitions on EST’s end, as their future ambitions become clear when talking to team manager, Julian Hamar de la Brethoniere.

“Our goal is to develop an electric racing motorcycle that can compete with a MotoGP bike in terms of performance in the next five years. For this to happen, we need to progress steeply every year. That’s why this year’s motorcycle is a big step in terms of performance.

We run a stronger engine than last year, for which we changed the lithium ion cells to polymer cells. With this battery pack, we can run more power to the stronger engine, meaning we can make optimal use of its capacity.”


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When aiming for something that is not understood by others, using Howard Hughes’ quote, “the way of the future” probably explains it best.

Although nowadays, the majority of all things moving are powered by a combustion engine, Electric Superbike Twente looks at the future in its own way. De la Brethoniere continues:

“Looking at E mobility in general, you see it’s getting popular among the masses, and it is developing rapidly. There are manufacturers who can already offer products that comply with the consumer’s needs - especially car manufacturers - but recharging is still time consuming compared to vehicles running on fossil fuels.

That’s why there’s emphasis on fast-charging solutions, or even modular battery systems than keep you going. Currently, electric powered vehicles are suitable for inner city commuting, but for long distance travels or cargo transport, there’s still a lot of development needed if we want to outclass existing technologies.”

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And when asking about the future in regard to their racing efforts in the short-term, they also have a clear vision:

“At the moment, the bikes we build are developed to compete in the Open Electric Superbike Competition.

In this class, we battle with other electric bikes and our goal is to win this competition this season.”

As of this year, there is also the MotoE competition as a support class within the MotoGP paddock- where long-time REV’IT! rider, Randy de Puniet, is one of the riders.

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“At the moment,” de la Brethoniere says, “it’s a single-brand championship, but if the competition opens to other brands, we are ready to compare ourselves with the top of electronic motorsport. At the Isle of Man TT, this option would already be there, but our bike isn’t developed for this type of racing.

We are investigating if we could adapt to the TT, but only if we could be competitive. First of all, we will start at the Gamma Racing Days for round one of the Open Electric Superbike Competition, in front of our home crowd of about 100,000 people in Assen.”

Find out more about Electric Superbike Twente here.

Photos: Jesse Kraal & Sebastiaan Bors


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