Motoring / Cars and Bikes

More than Chocolates & Watches: ETH Zurich Ethec Electric Motorcycle

Designed by an Ethec team comprised of 16 students, the Ethec Electric Motorcycle is a symbol of the future of electric bikes.

Jun 21, 2018 | By Jonathan Ho

The Ethec Electric Motorcycle is a technological marvel.  Designed by an Ethec team comprised of 13 mechanical students and a sole electrical engineering undergrad from ETH Zurich and 2 industrial design students from the Zurich University of the Arts, the Ethec Motorcycle addresses the lack of energy efficiency when it comes to conventional motorcycles.

Ethec Electric Motorcycle

Conventional motorcycles lose 75% of energy which comes from braking on the front wheel as braking energy is converted into friction and heat and little else. The Ethec Electric Motorcycle integrates a world first front wheel-hub motor which is used to recuperate braking energy and obtain higher efficiency, safety, and thus a superior driving experience.

The team from ETH Zurich and Zurich University of the Arts also conceived of a lithium-ion battery, consisting of 1260 cells, kept at its ideal operating temperature through innovative use of a thermoelectrical cooling system. In doing so, the Ethec Electric Motorcycle possesses a reliable and impressive power source through the combination of a low-maintenance cooling system and a direct-cooling oil stream around all cells. What this translates into is a 15 kWh battery which is efficient enough to give the Ethec Electric Motorcycle a 250 mile range. Furthermore, the ingenious  air and oil cooling system reportedly keeps the Ethec Electric bike at optimal performance in the long run.

Design of the Ethec Electric Bike

The futuristic monobody construction of the Ethec Electric Bike’s design follows the organic form of the human body; as a result, the extended headlight becomes a key design feature which characterises the overall look of the motorcycle. Prominent front wheel spokes with a single central suspension spring bequeaths the Ethec Electric Motorcycle a powerful countenance. Tapering off at the midpoint, further accentuated by a slim seat which then flares out with a broadening rear which emphasises the monobody construction of the Ethec Electric Bike, underlining the dynamic appearance of the motorcycle even at standstill.

That said, the Ethec Electric Bike doesn’t entirely abandon classic motorcycle architecture, classical elements can be found in the frame, designed using a proven and lightweight tubular frame construction. The trapezoidal fork allows for geometry adjustments based on mathematical optimization. The optimised double-sided swingarm-topology generates a solid suspension for the Ethec electric motorcycle resulting in increased stability.

Hence, with advanced construction and engineering methodology, the 67 horsepower Ethec with both front and rear hub-mounted motors are emblematic of what personal mobility devices can truly become.

From first draft to the technical engineering, design, production and even marketing, students from ETH Zurich Zurich University of the Arts managed the whole process.


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