Fans of classic-styled motorcycles will have to go to Japan to find the 250cc Kawasaki Estrella. The Estrella has been around since 1992 but apart from a few years of European availability in the late ’90s, has mostly been confined to Kawasaki’s home market. Updated for 2014 with a new seat and color options, the […]
Kawasaki-Supported Zytek ZX10ev TT Zero Electric Racer
British Superbike race team Bournemouth Kawasaki and electric powertrain maker Zytek Automotive will compete in the 2012 TT Zero on the Isle of Man with an electric ZX-10R with support from Kawasaki UK.
The Zytek-Kawasaki ZX10ev uses the chassis of a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and an oil-cooled Zytek permanent magnet electric motor. Zytek is a race-proven electric powertrain supplier, though its expertise is primarily with cars.
The Zytek-designed motor claiming 134 hp is based on a Zytek design used in hybrid race car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The motor is also equipped with Zytek’s Kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) which recovers energy from braking. Unlike some other forms of regenerative braking, the energy recovered by KERS isn’t used to charge the main battery but to provide a burst for acceleration. In 2009, Zytek supplied its KERS technology for the Mercedes-McLaren F1 team.
Taking a page from Brammo’s book, Zytek has equipped the ZX10ev with a six-speed transmission system from a Kawasaki ZX-10R to match the motor’s power to race conditions.
“I watched the TT Zero race last year from the Gooseneck corner at the start of the steep ‘mountain’ section and, frankly, many of the entries were very slow,” says Des Hill, Zytek project manager. “Using direct drive and no gearbox they simply didn’t have the torque to pull away from Ramsey Hairpin and accelerate up the mountain in same way as a conventional engined bike would.”
Rather than having a single large battery, the ZX10ev’s 11.8 kWh battery is separated into four components distributed within the ZX-10R’s frame.
“The shape of the Ninja ZX-10R frame is designed to curve around a conventional engine, and does not lend itself naturally to the fitment of a battery,” says Hill. “We have ended up filling the area normally use by the tank, air-box, radiator and exhaust with four sculpted packs. In total we have 240 power cells carefully distributed around the bike.”
Bournemouth Kawasaki lends its racing experience to the project, with BSB racer and 2008 Isle of Man TT “Best Newcomer” winner James Hillier riding the ZX10ev in the TT Zero.
Record Number of Entrants (Sort of) for 2012 Isle of Man TT Zero