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The Latest Electric Bullet: Amarok P1 Electric Bike

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On: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 1:17PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Latest Electric Bullet:  Amarok P1 Electric Bike

In a way, motorcycles are the perfect vessel to develop electric powertrain technologies around. They are lightweight and use smaller engines, which mean less power is needed to drive the wheels and deliver speeds and ranges comparable to gas bikes. And if electric powertrains are good for one thing, it's less power and lower speeds. On the other hand, the heavy, bulky nature of lithium-ion batteries can make integrating an electric powertrain into the narrow, streamlined frame of a bike more difficult than plopping it somewhere in the chassis of a compact car.

Canadian company Amorak has the latest solution to integrating electric technology into the motorcycle. It's called the P1 and it looks pretty damn good.

Unlike more rudimentary electric motorcycles, which were basically just traditional motorcycle frames packed full of li-ion, the P1 is built from the ground up as an electric bike. Amarok focused attention onto offsetting the added weight of the battery by cutting weight elsewhere.

Chief designer Michael Uhlarik explains the borrowed thinking behind the bike: "Since the 1930s, airplanes have relied on all-stressed skin, aluminum monocoques for superior strength, lower weight, and packaging efficiency. Ever since I saw the first modern electric scooters in the mid 2000s, I felt that the time was ripe to approach motorcycle design like an aerospace vehicle and integrate the body, frame, and battery into the same structure."

True to that goal, the bike's stressed-skin aluminum monocoque frame doubles as both the battery storage box and fairing, helping to trim unnecessary fat and deliver a higher power-to-weight ratio. That monocoque holds the wheel in place with the help of a lightweight Hossack fork. Because the P1 weighs just 375 lbs., Amarok is able to use a 7.5 kWh battery pack driving 75-hp worth of dual Agni 95R DC motors, rather than something larger.

The P1 will be racing in the TTGXP electric bike circuit this summer, where it should be the lightest bike in contention. While this early information brings expectation of solid performance, the company is already looking to its next bike to take things to the next level.

Uhlarik said: "It is our design target to achieve a weight of 125kg (275 pounds) with the next generation P2, giving us power-to-weight parity with a gasoline-powered 250cc Grand Prix bike. I want Amarok to prove that with battery electric vehicles, less really is more; less heavy, costly batteries, but more performance and better handling."

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