Max Biaggi testing the Voxan Wattman land speed record bike
Max Biaggi testing the Voxan Wattman land speed record bike|Venturi.com
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Voxan showcases its electric land speed record contender

The French motorcycle manufacturer is gunning for the current world record, which it will attempt in July 2021

Sudipto Chaudhury

Voxan Motors has just debuted its latest product, a high performance of its electric motorcycle, the Wattman. Now, the brand had first launched the Wattman way back in 2013, as its first product after being bought over by Monaco-based Venturi Automobiles (yes, the chaps behind the Formula E team) in 2010. This time around, however, the bike has been created with a singular purpose in mind: setting a new world speed record for an electric motorcycle at the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia in July 2021.

The high performance version of the Voxan Wattman has been designed by Sacha Lakic, the man behind the road-going Wattman, but with the aim to beat the current world record of 329.085kmph set by Ryuji Tsuruta riding a Mobitec EV-02A. For its part, Venturi is no stranger to world speed records, having set its most recent one in 2016, with the VBB-3 (Venturi Buckeye Bullet) electric car hitting a staggering 548.786kmph.

Front reminiscent of the 'dustbin fairing' race bikes of yore

Front reminiscent of the 'dustbin fairing' race bikes of yore

The body

For a land speeder, two points make up the majority of the brief: all the weight should be concentrated down low, and crucial components should be strengthened so as to withstand the ridiculous amounts of stresses associated with the speeds it aims to attain. Hence, the Wattman’s chassis is far from traditional.

Though the 2013 Wattman had the rider in a forward lean, the high-performance version has a structural design that aerodynamically encapsulates most of the battery and drive system, which the brand call a structural battery packaging and self-supporting motor casing (par for the course in case of a land-speeder).

Next, instead of a front fork, the bike features a double wishbone front suspension setup. Finally, the front wheel does not have a brake, to further aid aerodynamics as well as well as mitigate the instability that comes from applying the front brake at extremely high speeds.

The powertrain

The road-going Wattman from 2013 produced an exceptional 200bhp and 200Nm of instantaneous torque, making it perhaps the fastest electric bike of its time. The high-performance version, however, takes it several notches higher, with a staggering 367bhp and 970Nm. These figures are generated from a 15.9 kWh lithium-ion battery, which at 140kg accounts for almost half the total weight of the 300kg bike. The battery (that uses 1,470 cells) was designed by a team at Venturi in collaboration with the Center for Automotive Research at the Ohio State University.

All this performance definitely creates quite a bit of heat, and that’s where Voxan has come up with an innovative solution: dry ice. This is held in a tank below the seat, and helps cool the motor and batteries.

From left - Max Biaggi, Gildo Pastor and Sacha Lakic with the road-going Voxan Wattman

From left - Max Biaggi, Gildo Pastor and Sacha Lakic with the road-going Voxan Wattman

The hidden weapon

The ability to go fast, and we mean really fast is reserved for a hallowed few. Think Andy Wallace or Wing Commander Andy Green. So Voxan brought in its own two-wheeled virtuoso in the form of four-time World 250cc and two-time World Superbike champion Max Biaggi. In fact, the entire motorcycle had been created with Max in mind, with the former racer present right from the initial stages of the build.

As mentioned, the record attempt has been slated for 2021, a full year from today. Meanwhile, with the global pandemic lockdowns now easing up, there’s a good chance of additional innovations from Venturi (and Voxan), not discounting the attempts by other manufacturers which might be made for the Bonneville Speed Week (to be held between August 8 and 14, 2020). Whichever way the balance tips, we’re sure going to be in for some amazing machinery in motion.

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