Back in the days before carbon-fibre and other lightweight materials, racers had an adage, when stripping down their bikes: “There’s nothing lighter than a hole.” White Motorcycle Concepts has taken that concept to the 21st century, and built an entire motorcycle over one giant hole.
The WMC250EV doesn’t get its weirdo hole-centric design because the designers wanted to make it lighter, though. Instead, this electric land speed racer is built around a massive hole running right through the bike’s body in order to achieve streamlining effects. This oddball design is intended to reduce drag.
This is important, because in its current form, the WMC250EV is a land speed racer. Here, aerodynamic efficiency plays a massive role in determining your top speed. Typically, land speed racers overcome this problem by building slipstreamer fairings. Obviously, looking at the WMC250EV, the designers built highly efficient fairings. However, the main aerodynamic feature is the massive wind tunnel that runs through the centre of the motorcycle.
White Motorcycle Concepts calls this “V-AIR technology.” Here’s what the company says about it on its website:
The V-Air is a patent granted (UK) and pending (Europe, USA & Japan) proven technology that reduces the motorcycle’s aerodynamic drag by 69% (in its most extreme form).Without changing the rider experience, increasing downforce and stability this simple solution is the Holy Grail in motorcycle efficiency enhancement.Whilst the trajectory of battery technology improvement is steep there is still a distance to parity with existing models, particularly at high speed and acceleration the aim is to have this technology incorporated into all motorcycles and facilitate mass market acceptance of electric motorcycles.
So, while White Motorcycle Concepts currently has this tech installed on a land speed racer, its long-term plan is to use it on the street.
While the bike has a very bizarro look, when compared to traditional motorcycles, it makes sense when you realize that White Motorcycle Concepts is simply taking advantage of the possibilities offered by electric motorcycle design. In the past, you couldn’t build a motorcycle with an aerodynamics-enhancing tunnel running through the centre because there was a massive engine in the way.
With a battery bike, that isn’t a problem. Both front and rear wheels are under power, with two 20kW motors driving the front wheel, and two 30 kW motors driving the rear. The form factor of these motors allows White Motorcycle Concepts to tuck them away under that unique bodywork. The idea of a powered front wheel is pretty bold, especially in the world of land speed racing, but White Motorcycle Concepts believes its design will keep the front wheel planted at high speed, giving the rider the benefit of not only a second driven wheel, but also added regenerative braking benefits. It should also add stability at speed.
For now, White Motorcycle Concepts is simply working out ideas as it benefits from non-profit funding (it’s receiving government funding, and has sponsorships and other partnerships with these companies). The bike is testing on-track; it’s not building these for consumers yet. Instead, White Motorcycle Concepts wants to challenge electric land speed records in coming months. It will be doing so with a much less muscular bike than those previously used to set these records; the WMC250EV will use brain, not brawn, to build its speed.
However, in the long term, White Motorcycle Concepts plans to develop street-legal applications for this tech. As the world pivots towards EV tech, outside-the-box thinking like this is going to be a major part of the moto industry’s move forward.