Ohio State’s electric motorcycle team qualifies at prestigious Isle of Man race, Moves on to finals June 5

Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio State University College of Engineering’s Buckeye Current electric motorcycle team—along with UK native and world-renowned rider Rob “The Bullet” Barber—qualified to compete in the electric category on June 5 at the world-famous Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) races. Clocking in their qualifying race with a top speed of 91 mph, Buckeye Current is the only U.S. collegiate team to compete in the TT Zero (clean emissions) competition.

Ohio State students from multiple disciplines designed and built the electric motorcycle—the “RW-2”—at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research. A feature aspect of the second-generation vehicle is an innovative student-created electronic management system governing the rechargeable battery packs that “fuel” the vehicle. A 10-student team serves as the engineer and pit crew for rider Barber.

The Ohio State team started this international collaboration after approaching Barber in 2011 with a request for him to ride the progenitor to the RW-2, the RW-1, that year. Barber said yes, but the RW-1 didn’t make it to competition. Barber never forgot about the spirited team from Ohio State, and contacted them in early 2013 to see how things were progressing. Team Buckeye Current was thrilled to be in a position to offer Barber the 2013 TT rider spot, and he happily accepted, offering the team his paddock space and amenities. 

Qualifying rounds for the TT Zero emission competition took place June 1 and 3. Race teams had to complete one 37.7-mile lap along Isle of Man streets in less than 45 minutes at an average speed of at least 50 mph. Buckeye Current and Barber logged the fourth fastest lap during qualifying, at an average speed of nearly 92 mph. For students, competing in the Isle of Man TT, it’s more than an adrenaline rush; it’s a unique opportunity to solve real world engineering challenges.

“Being enveloped in a professional race environment has been a learning experience like no other and demands high-level problem solving,” said Julia Cline, Buckeye Current co-team leader and a third year electrical and computer engineering major. “By participating in the races, we are exposed to the highest caliber teams, an experience you can’t get solely in the classroom. This is a new experience for all of us, but we have performed at a very high level.”

The Honda/OSU Partnership, a bilateral collaboration between Ohio State and Honda of America Manufacturing supporting initiatives in education, research and public service, and Advanced Electronics Energy, are Buckeye Current’s largest sponsors. RRW Engineering, Aaron Equipment Company and Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc., among many others, have also provided support to the team.

About Buckeye Current

Launched in 2010, the Buckeye Current team’s vision is to enhance the development of clean, electric powered motorcycle technology; teach students about electric vehicles; promote electric vehicle events; and provide students with an engaging educational work environment through real-world experiences. It is one of five motorsports teams based in the College of Engineering’s Center for Automotive Research. Closer to home, on Aug. 18, the Buckeye Current team will run in the TTXGP in Indianapolis.

Follow Buckeye Current’s race experience on the team’s blog at http://current.osu.edu/?q=node and on Twitter at twitter.com/BuckeyeCurrent.

About the Center for Automotive Research
The Ohio State Center for Automotive Research (CAR) is the preeminent research center in sustainable and safe mobility in the United States and an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Engineering. CAR research focuses on: advanced electric propulsion and energy storage systems; advanced engines and alternative fuels for reduced fuel consumption and emissions; intelligent transportation and vehicular communication systems; autonomous vehicles; noise, vibrations and dynamics;vehicle chassis systems; and vehicle and occupant safety. More info: http://car.osu.edu/

About The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.

This release was originally written for and distributed by Ohio State News.