New Electric Motorcycle - More Star Trek Or Mad Max?

The world could be getting a peek into what tomorrow’s everyday motorcycle may look like. It’s electric, comes from the South Coast of England and invokes the science fiction classic, Star Trek.

Called Phaser 1, a new electric motorcycle still in its trial stages has received two accolades, one from the business world and the other from a magazine. Designed and built by Union Motion at the FIELD workshop on the outskirts of the Sussex University Campus in Brighton, it has emerged from its testing country onto the world stage in a matter of just one year.

The project was selected as one of 100 to be showcased at Manchester’s ‘Innovate 2016’ show, which puts the global spotlight on UK innovation. This is where Phaser 1 had its first public outing, catching the eye of driveEV Magazine’s Stephen Brown.

“The vehicle incorporates a high performance electric powertrain into a beautiful, hand crafted form,” Brown writes. “I have to confess, with body panels stripped and custom parts added, creating something Mad Max would be certainly pleased to [be] seen riding, the Hollywood movie styling of the Phaser really caught my eye.”

Built on a 1998 Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer, utilizing its rolling chassis, just frame, forks, swingarm and wheels, the powerhouse of the Phaser Type 1 is an electric air-cooled motor, with a peak output of 48kW, equivalent to 64bhp. The motor offers 110Nm of torque, which is available from standstill. 

“Energy for the machine is stored in a stack of lithium ion cells, which appear to be taken from a Nissan LEAF and holds over 6kWh of power,” Brown writes. “Held in a beautiful custom designed housing with the vertically mounted cells still visible where traditionally a fuel tank would be seen.”

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Phaser 1 - Source Union Motion

The Phaser’s clean lines are the creation of designer fabricator Dominic Warman Roup, whose product design skills come from the world famous Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Roup acknowledges trying to find the perfect blend of attracting new riders to this very modern form of motorcycle without relying on preconceptions.

“There is a growing need to engage people with electric vehicles on an emotional and practical level,” Dominic Warman Roup says, speaking about the bike. “This is essential if we are to make a successful transition to cleaner forms of transport, and motorcycles are an ideal way of doing it. We want to challenge the trope of nostalgic and aesthetically led custom motorcycles by encouraging others to experiment with the awesome possibilities offered by electric powertrains.”

Currently, range is estimated at 60 miles but the motorcycle’s 6 kWh battery pack sits on a set of rails that allow it to be easily removed from the rear of the bike. This means a fresh pack can be installed in under five minutes, giving another 60 miles of riding.

As far as handling is oncerned, the original profile of the Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer remains with CNC milled sheet aluminum bodywork keeping the Phaser 1 clean and minimal as well as providing a low center of gravity. How this all comes together isn’t known outside of the halls of Union Motion. No public or test rides have been completed as of the time of publishing this article with the company expecting to change this after they wrap up a series of show appearances scheduled for the Phaser 1 over the next few months.

Here are the specifications as they stand now;

  • Year of build: 2016 
  • Chassis: Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer
  • Top speed: 110 mph
  • Range: 60 miles
  • Curb weight: 160 kg

Motor

  • Type: Axial flux, Brushless, Three phase, Permanent magnet.
  • Cooling: Passive air-cooled.
  • Continuous power: 32 kW (42 hp)
  • Peak power: 48 kW (64 hp)
  • Continuous torque (@ motor): 44 Nm
  • Continuous torque (@ wheel): 120 Nm
  • Peak torque (@ motor): 110 Nm
  • Peak torque (@ wheel): 300 Nm

Battery Pack

  • Chemistry: Automotive spec lithium ion.
  • Type: Modular
  • Capacity: 6 kWh
  • Nominal voltage: 88.8 v
  • CHARGER
  • Type: Off-board
  • Power: 3 kw
  • Input: 13 A household
  • Charge time: 2 hours

“Finishing touches include our own programmable instrument, an Akira-inspired disc wheel and a super-bright halo running light,” notes Roup.

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Phaser 1 - Source Union Motion

Readers ready to find their way into the saddle of a Phaser 1 should know the motorcycle isn’t in full production, however, it appears they are making them to order. A Type 1 Phaser would be around the £17,000 mark, which currently converts to $21,000. Because the motorcycle would be considered a one-off, the buyer would have the freedom to customize the bike however they like.

As with all good things in life, there is a wait time, currently estimated at 2-3 months at the moment, depending on the desired specifications of the bike.

Clutch and Chrome will report of any updates and the breakthroughs we all know are coming.

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