Wattman | Electric bike | Specifications | Spec | Venturi
Voxan electric motorcycle unveiled
The future of motorcycling? Maybe. Probably even. At least one very serious French firm thinks so and is nailing its colours to the mast of that future with this giant battery-pack on wheels, and that firm is Voxan and they call this bike the Wattman.
That name might ring cool in downtown Monaco where these are being made, but it sounds pretty naff on this side of the English Channel. Maybe it's supposed to put us in mind of "Walkman". But we think the French should have come up with something a lot more stylish or imaginative. Such as "Ampster", as in; "Can't stop, mate. Got to hurry home to feed my Ampster".
No? Well it was just a thought. We're thinking of registering that name anyway just in case.
Meanwhile, the 200hp motorcycle can, we hear, propel itself from zero to 160kph in just 5.9 second. And because electric motors offer maximum torque at zero revolutions, you're looking at having your arms stretched all the way to a theoretical redline. Specifically, that torque will be around 200 Nm.
The frame is an aluminium exoskeleton, and Voxan tell us that the Lithium-Ion battery pack (which is essentially everything between the wheels), can achieve an 80 percent charge in just thirty minutes—and you can plug it into a household socket. Transmission is by belt. That rear suspension is a parallelogram set-up which is ... well, complicated geometrical stuff. Think Ariel's Anstey link on hormones.
We don't know if this motorcycle actually runs, by the way. Certainly, we're yet to see it rolling around a Scalextric track let alone a bona fide road. However, there's nothing really radical here. It's just a variation on a theme that lots of folk are experimenting with.
Being classic bikers, we're supposed to hate the concept of this thing and start bitching about the absence of real manly stuff like crankshafts and pistons and oil leaks. Except that we love it to bits and we're looking forward to the first such offering from Triumph that needs to be up there right now at the cutting edge, at least as a concept if not a rolling prototype.
We wouldn't throw our old British iron out of the garage, you understand. But once the electricians solve the issues of weight, range and charging—which they eventually will—the petrol engine will die a very sudden death.
You can count on it.
There's no word yet on pricing or availability or production numbers (if it's got that far yet). The bike was simply unveiled a couple of days ago at the Paris Salon de La Moto (3rd - 8th December 2013).
Being built in Monaco, we might make some crack about it being a big gamble. But these days, everything is, isn't it? So good luck to our Froggy friends if they can take us a little further down the road of human achievement (and wake up, Triumph, will ya? It's not the first time that the French have left us at the starting line)
And how much exactly does this "French Revolution" weigh? Voxan tell us it's 350kg, which in English/US-speak is around 770lbs. That's a little less than a Triumph Rocket Three, fuelled and ready to roll. And that's still too much for most of us.
Nevertheless, the electric—or even electrique—genie has poked its head from the bottle, and the rest of it will be out bigtime within the foreseeable future.
Editor's note: Voxan was founded in 1995 by Jacques Gardette. The firm's first motorcycle, the Roadster, was launched in 1999. Fifty of these 72-degree, 996cc V-twins were sold. The Cafe Racer, using the same engine, followed in 2000. But the firm struggled for sales, and was bought in 2002 by Didier Cazeaux and the Société de Dévelopement et de Participation. The Street Scrambler, also with the 996cc V-twin engine, followed in 2003. In 2004, the Voxan Black Magic appeared (same engine).
— Big End
Copyright Sump Publishing 2013