Buckeye Current to Carry Momentum from TT Zero Podium to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Carrying the momentum from back to back podium finishes at the Isle of Man, Buckeye Current has turned its sights to the next challenge. For two years we have tested and refined our designs against the brutality of the Snaefell Mountain course with great success. Taking the knowledge learned at the Isle, the team is ready to take on the next premier electric racing event, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC).
Known as the Race to the Clouds, PPIHC is America’s second oldest motorsports event. The course winds through 156 turns to the 14,110 foot summit over 12.42 miles. Four and two wheel competitors alike flock to the event to test rider and machine against the vicious climb. Gasoline engines struggle in the thin air at this extreme altitude. This gives electric vehicles an opportunity to beat their gasoline counterparts. The course record for motorcycles is held by Carlin Dunne on a 1205 cc Ducati Multistrada 1200 at 9 min 52 seconds. The record for electric bikes is close behind at 10 minutes.
Buckeye Current intends to shock the electric racing world by shattering both records with a 9 min. 45 sec. Setting the record of all motorcycles will demonstrate the future of electric motorcycle technology while challenging our team to build that future.
Over the summer, the team has been doing preliminary research and is starting to jump into the design phase of our new bike as school kicks off. According to our simulations, the bike will need a top speed of over 125 mph, an 8 kWh battery pack and a drivetrain capable of producing 95 kW peak power to break the record. The team is currently working on determining the right components and design to meet these requirements. Stay tuned for more details as the design takes shape!
Buckeye Current, the electric motorcycle team out of Ohio State's Center for Automotive Research, has defended their 3rd place and Fastest Collegiate Race Team titles at the 2014 TT Zero. Rob Barber piloted RW-2.X, the team's latest design, through the brutal course averaging 93.531 mph and a lap time of 24:12:230. It was neck and neck between Current and Sarolea, a professional Belgian race team, with Barber beating them by .37 seconds. The collegiate team cemented themselves as a formidable competitor among the professional field with back to back podium finishes, despite building the bike on a shoe string budget.
The first practice lap was critical in seeing where we stand in this year's competitive field. The team geared down for a conservative lap speed in order to validate the suspension and handling while logging valuable data. Rob Barber piloted RW-2.X into second place averaging an impressive 89.07 mph. He reached a top speed of 105 mph, showing the effectiveness of the improved suspension and the bike’s ability to carry momentum through the course. Rob said it handled beautifully.
Despite the success of the first lap, the team unfortunately discovered that two of the battery cells had failed throughout the course of the race. Instead of running in the remaining two practice laps, we took the time to troubleshoot the issue, replace the batteries with spares cells and reconfigure the battery pack to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Here is a video filmed and produced by our own Victor Brechbill to send the team off right!
Last year, Buckeye Current shocked the racing world with a ground shattering 3rd place finish in their inaugural effort at the 2013 TT Zero. The student formed, student run team applied their engineering education to create the cutting edge, all electric motorcycle RW-2 that dominated the brutal Snaefell Mountain Course at the Isle of Man, averaging 90.43 mph. This cements Buckeye Current as the fastest collegiate electric motorcycle team. The team looks to carry this momentum to the 2014 TT Zero.
Buckeye Current was founded as the Buckeye Electric Motorcycle Race Team by students in 2010 through the Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research in order to provide students experience with electric vehicles and to construct a fully operable electric motorcycle to compete in races on both the national and international level. The team's first motorcycle, RW-1, set a speed record for electric motorcycles at the East Coast Timing Association at Maxton, North Carolina, at 112 miles per hour before resetting it at Wilmington, Ohio, at 144 miles per hour.