Students who built an electric motorbike from scratch have successfully completed an 80-day ride around the world, as Jim Drury reports.
80-day round-the-world trips aren't new - but using an electric motorbike built from scratch by students on them certainly is. Eindhoven University of Technology riders drove up to 500 kilometres a day on their self-constructed STORM Wave bike, relying entirely on battery power. Other students rode behind in a bus, with one change of driver and battery swap per day. SOUNDBITE (English) BAS VERKAIK, SPOKESPERSON FOR STORM EINDHOVEN, SAYING: "With a full pack you can ride 400 kilometres on one single charge. But during our tour we had to drive more, so we had to re-energise quickly. So we just took the empty ones out, replaced them with charged ones, and we could ride again." Key to the STORM Wave is its unique modular system of 24 individual batteries. This helped ease navigation of difficult roads in countries like Turkmenistan and Uzbekhistan. SOUNDBITE (English) BAS VERKAIK, SPOKESPERSON FOR STORM EINDHOVEN, SAYING: "When we faced those bad roads we just took, for example half of the batteries out, we have a lighter motorcycle, lower centre of gravity, which makes it easier to handle." STORM Wave also contains a gearbox, unusual for an electric motorcycle, but allowing greater acceleration and efficiency at high speeds. SOUNDBITE (English) STORM WAVE DRIVER AND LOGISTICS CO-ORDINATOR, YORICK HEIDEMA, SAYING: "The misconceptions people have about electric vehicles is that either they're slow or they don't have enough power or they can't drive fast or far enough. With our motorcycle it can go from zero to 100 (kilometres per hour) in under five seconds, and probably could go even faster if we changed some specs... I think it looks pretty nice. That's also a misconception that people have, that electric vehicles have to be futuristic and they don't like the design, but I've only heard good things about this motorcycle." The 23 students returned home in November after receiving huge interest in cities they drove through. They say they've showed the world that long-distance electric vehicle travel isn't just feasible, but cool too.