Engineering bright sparks launch electric drag race world record attempt

Engineering bright sparks launch electric drag race world record attempt

Motorsport graduate Rob Moon in gear at the University's Engineering and Computing Building


Thursday 11 April 2013

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A former Coventry University student is setting his sights on breaking the record for the world’s quickest electric motorcycle.

Motorsport Engineering graduate and competitive racer Rob Moon from Battle in East Sussex is working towards the world record attempt with Phil Edwards, head of Sussex based high-powered, low carbon vehicle specialists Weald Technology Ltd (Weald EVT).

Rob, 23, who graduated with first class honours, currently works as a consulting engineer in speed work development and he has joined forces with Phil and the team at Weald EVT to launch the EV1000 challenge. A crowd funding campaign is now open to raise money for the initial stage of the project.

The crowd funding target is £7,000 which will go towards the construction of the bike. Donations, large and small can be pledged online where further information and a video about the project is also available. Funds raised will help the team build the rolling chassis, buy the rear wheel and drive package, and mould the body panels.

The EV1000 challenge builds on earlier attempts that Phil and Rob have made in the world of motorsport. Back in 2011, Weald EVT designed and built a bike that set the then UK record for electric motorcycle drag racing. Rob rode the machine at the Alternative Energy Racing Day at Santa Pod in May that year, smashing the previous speed of 14.99 seconds for a standing start quarter-mile race with a best time of 14.124 seconds.

Competition at international level is far more intense however. With American electric drag-bikes running the quarter-mile distance in under 7 seconds at speeds of 200mph, Phil and Rob are now setting their sights on the more ambitious target of breaking the world record.

Their goal is to build an electric motorcycle with 1,000 horsepower of clean energy that can accelerate to 60mph in under one second, 200mph in just four seconds, and then on to 225mph in just a quarter of a mile.

The green credentials of the project mirrors work that Coventry University is undertaking in delivering efficiencies in the next generation of transport – the development of Low Carbon Vehicles is one of its Grand Challenge Initiatives - and Weald EVT are looking to work closely with the University as the project progresses; involving its engineering students in design, construction and testing of the bike.

Phil is also planning to visit schools, colleges and science fairs to talk about the project. He has already been invited to attend the ‘Big Bang South East’ and the Crawley ‘STEMfest’ engineering showcase events.

At this stage however, Phil is looking to raise enough money to build the chassis that Rob has designed. Together they have assembled a team of dedicated experts who have given up their time to work on the project but they are now at the point where they need to call on some specialist skills and buy more components, hence the launch of the crowd funding campaign.

Phil Edwards of Weald EVT said:

We’re really excited by the prospect of challenging for the electric drag race world record and while we’ve got a great team together we’re now in need of further support to take the challenge to the next level.

It’s tremendous fun but there’s a serious point to it all as we’re trying to push forward the boundaries of green transport. That’s an ambition that I know Coventry University shares, which is why I am keen to work with them on the project.

Demonstrating that you can build an ultra-fast, super-efficient racing machine using clean, green energy is a fantastic message for the future and I’m hoping that this endeavour will showcase UK talent and inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

Lead Chassis Designer Rob Moon won the Baroness Platt of Writtle Award for outstanding engineering student as an undergraduate at Coventry University and he has a successful track record in motorcycle racing. He is also delighted to be taking part in the EV1000 challenge.

Rob said:

As an engineer it’s great to be involved in the technical aspects of this project.  As a motorsports enthusiast I also have the added thrill of riding the bike to what I hope will be a new world record.

I think the challenge epitomises that British sense of adventure which is quite a romantic notion.  On a more practical level, we want to demonstrate that the UK is at the forefront of developing low-carbon vehicle technologies.

I think they’re both strong messages, which I hope will capture the imagination of the Great British public.

Bernard Porter, Director of Low Carbon Vehicle Programmes at Coventry University said:

Projects such as this demonstrate the way in which new vehicle technologies can be harnessed to deliver any combination of power, performance and efficiency, and we are delighted to be working with Weald Technology Ltd.

Weald Technology Ltd and the EV1000 Challenge
For further information about Weald EVT and the EV1000 challenge please visit the EV1000 website. Donations can be pledged online .

All contributors receive rewards which, depending on the amount pledged, include T-Shirts and mugs, a signed copy of Phil Edwards’ book about the project, an opportunity to see the bike being built, and even be a guest of the team at the racetrack. Businesses will get valuable exposure in return for their contribution.

Rob Moon
Rob Moon runs Eclipse Performance Engineering and is the Lead Chassis Designer for the EV1000 challenge, as well as being the man who will ride the bike for the world record. He holds a first class honours degree in Motorsport Engineering from Coventry University and has raced petrol and electric-powered motorcycles in the UK and Europe.