Ohio State electric motorcycle team takes project to new heights

OSU Electric Motorcyle Team

COLUMBUS (WCMH)—Three days before the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in late June, Ohio’s State student electric motorcycle team, named Buckeye Current, wondered if they would ever get off the ground.

Fortunately, the 30-member team composed of students from across the academic spectrum was able to overcome problems with the cooling system and motor issues in time for a highly successful 11-minute 16-second run on a course that sits at an elevation a little more than 14,000 feet.

“Wet conditions can be very dangerous for a rider, sup in the top sessions we lost probably 40 seconds,” said student team member Larsen Marquardt.

At the very high elevation, the OSU electric bike did not lose power, a risk for a gas bike with a combustion engine. Yet with 156 curves and a wet track in spots, team leader Sean Harrington explained that it was critical to accelerate at a top speed of up to 120 mph to get through the turns.

“This feels much different from a gas bike,” Harrington said, as he showed the parts at the OSU Center for Automotive Research on Kinnear Road on the West Campus. There is no shifting gears, and he added that “you pretty much have full power at the start.”

The OSU RW-3x electric motorcycle will undergo further testing and streamlining to make the powerful batter pack lighter, and to design higher-performance cooling and antilock braking systems.

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