The F77 is now available at the Ultraviolette hangar in Bengaluru
The F77 is now available at the Ultraviolette hangar in BengaluruAbhishek Benny for evo India

“We are talking about speeds north of 200kmph,” says Narayan Subramaniam, Ultraviolette CEO and head of design - Part two

The Ultraviolette has begun deliveries of the F77, India's first thoroughly performance-oriented electric motorcycle. In part one, Narayan told us about his formative years and the life of a startup founder. In part two, we discuss his love for motorcycles, the development of the F77, and Ultraviolette's plans to go racing

On his love for motorcycles

“So when I was in ninth grade, my dad thought he would buy a bike, he thought he would use it for two years and then give it to me when I joined college, and that's when the CBZ was launched. So we went to the dealership, and I was trying my best to convince dad, and he was half way there, and then he asked the question, "What is the mileage?" On one side, your Splendor has about 85kmpl, and the CBZ has 45kmpl. So Splendor came home. Nevertheless, super excited because the prospect of having your own first motorcycle is beyond anything else. So somewhere down the line, once I started using the bike, that's when Mission Impossible 2 came in. You saw Tom Cruise, and there were two Triumph motorcycles in that film. That's the first time I saw dual headlights on a bike, so the Splendor got chopped. matte black paint on all the body panels. It looked weirdly cool. chopped off the tail section of the seat and had some makeshift tail lights. I joined design school, and I had saved up some money from the competitions I had won, so I got the R15. So that was very exciting, and I still remember the police in Ahmedabad didn't care about the number plate or registration; they would stop me and ask about the bike. How is it? What does it feel like? So that was the second bike. Somewhere in between, I got hold of a friend's Shogun as well. Then, past Shogun, I think when I came back to India in 2015, I got a friend's Duke 200. He was moving abroad, and he sold me his bike. Throughout my entire career, I've been a huge Ducati fan. I somehow got hold of an 899 Panigale, and I was really particular about that and not the 959 because of the underbelly exhaust. And of course, now it's the F77 every day.”

Narayan Subramaniam is a huge Ducati 959 fan
Narayan Subramaniam is a huge Ducati 959 fanUltraviolette

On the development of the F77

“I don't think you've seen any of that stuff that we built in early 2016. So, frankly, the focus was on the powertrain. So each battery was about 15kg, and over the next year, that came down to under 10kg. I think the second prototype to the fifth or sixth is when the riding dynamics and the powertrain both came together really well. So what the media fraternity rode in 2019 was the 7th generation of the evolution, which is one of the 7s in F77. We of course tested it on the tracks, but we wanted to hear from the experts riding it and what they had to say to us and to the whole world. There were a lot of takeaways for us, but one thing that got established there was that the performance aspect stood out pretty well. The dynamics of the bike were on point. The other factor at that point was that there was a difference in performance between a full charge and a half charge of the battery, and you would have faced that with multiple EVs. The next three years went into solving that."

The fifth generation prototype of the F77 in 2018
The fifth generation prototype of the F77 in 2018Ultraviolette

The Ultraviolette F77s aviation influences

“India has amazing talent, whether it's design or engineering. We've got a great mix of three domains in the company: aviation, consumer electronics, and automotive. I think we have a good 33 percent influence from each of these that come into play. I was an avid aeromodeller. So I think it runs very deep in our DNA and on the team when it comes to solving technical problems. There is no history of people who worked on electric vehicles for 20 years who are experts on solving thermal issues or the architecture of electronics on electric vehicles. So this came from the aviation industry. So we've got folks at Ultraviolette from ISRO, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Airbus.”

A one make racing series is planned for the F99 factory racing platform
A one make racing series is planned for the F99 factory racing platform Ultraviolette

On the F99 and plans to go racing

“So the idea is to form a lab where there's an independent team that handles a lot of the pushing the boundaries approach towards technology, such as powertrains, different applications of aerodynamics, and different form factors of motorcycles. We gave a glimpse of this at the Delhi Auto Expo with the F99 platform, which is actively under development as we speak. It's an entirely different battery architecture. Completely different. That's how the power output is doubled at the moment. We are talking about speeds north of 200kmph, and how do you sustain that kind of performance for longer durations? All of that is being developed.”

The story of Ultraviolette has been fascinating. Narayan Subramanium and Niraj Rajmohan are automotive enthusiasts first, and this shows in the product they have created.

Catch the entire conversation on the evo India YouTube channel.

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