The record for the fastest lap at the Isle of Mann TT (IoM TT) aboard an electric motorcycle has been broken again. This time, Michael Rutter and Team Mugen set a new electric superbike lap record. The team posted an average speed of 121.91 miles per hour during the course of the 37.73-mile lap.
2010 marked the inaugural TT Zero (electric motorcycle) race. Since then, electric motorcycle performance has increased dramatically. That race yielded an average lap speed of 96.82 MPH. But in 9 short years, the record has increased by over 25 MPH.
Gas versus electric motorcycle
While the electric bikes are slower than the gasoline-powered superbikes, they are already faster than other IoM TT gasoline classes such as the lightweight and sidecar series machines.
While electric motorcycles only complete a single lap of the circuit, their gas-powered counterparts complete a full 4 laps. In order for electric bikes to compete head to head with gasoline machines, battery technology must increase. But as battery technology has been improving by approximately 5 – 10% each year, it won’t be long before gas and electric powered bikes compete against each other.
Sound and fury
Critics of electric motorcycles claim that the sound is an integral part of the motorcycling experience. Internal combustion engines make exciting noises. In contrast, electric motorcycles are far quieter and muted.
But as this video shows, there’s something about the sound of an electric motorcycle that is equally exciting in my book. As a pilot, I love the sound of turbine engines spooling up to do their work. That together with the now audible wind noise, electric bikes are looking better and better.
To me, the sound of the electric Mugen machine nicely replicates that sound, especially from onboard. Watching and listening to the electrically powered machine is exciting, just from a different perspective.
The two types of machines are very different. One is raw and the other more refined. But can both be equally exciting? What do you think?