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Warwick Moto unveil ‘Frontier’ electric motorcycle with support from Norton

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A group of 13 students from WMG, University of Warwick, and leading academics, engineers, and researchers have developed a new cutting-edge electric motorcycle. The Frontier has been developed, and the latest version runs a modified Norton frame and a first of its kind immersion-cooled battery pack.

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Aiming to create an Isle of Man TT Zero capable electric racer, the students originally used a Honda Fireblade platform. Recent developments with Norton stepping in to provide support, data and a frame from Norton’s Superbike project. All this whilst the students studied and worked for their Degrees!

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The new Norton frame was received in October 2020 and has been mated with an electric powertrain generating 201hp and 400Nm of torque from a standing start. Giving performance figures equal to a conventional 1000cc petrol motorcycle.

Ever since we started the Warwick Moto project, the overall goal has always been around learning and enhancing our engineering experience. We have gained practical experience in our research that is required to deliver a real-world project, along with balancing considerations such as tight budgets and deadlines, while learning logistics and everything around delivering an industry project. This has made us all the more proud with the way the Frontier looks. To have access to Norton’s engineering team, years of experience and data has been a great resource, integral to the design of the bike. Combining the motorcycling knowledge from Norton, with the leading research at WMG, University of Warwick has been a fantastic learning opportunity for all students involved. We’re very excited to see what this collaboration leads to.

Aman Surana, Chief Engineer, Warwick Moto

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New technology inside the motorcycle features an immersion-cooled battery pack, designed and tested by Warwick Moto students and never seen before on a motorcycle. The 16kWh battery is designed to last longer thanks to better thermal management and allows larger short term power required for a racing machine. Immersion cooling also allows a more efficient temperature range depending on the current situation.

The battery itself charges using the standard CHAdeMO connector, allowing fast charging, giving a full charge in an hour or from empty to 80% in 32 minutes. This has allowed the team to maximise testing and riding time, thanks to the fast recharge time. The battery casing has been manufactured by laser welding techniques developed at the university, allowing repeatability for mass production.

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Constant testing, including computer-based CFD (Computational fluid dynamics) on battery cooling, thermal management, and physical testing of battery cells and modules, has increased performance.

We are thrilled to be able to support the engineers of the future, who are developing tomorrow’s technology today on the basis of a Norton frame. Our support by means of donation of the frame is just the beginning. Norton’s team of designers and engineers have been very interested to observe how this project is taking shape, supporting the student team wherever possible with advice and guidance.

Dr Robert Hentschel, CEO, Norton Motorcycles

Tom Weeden, the 2016 Senior Manx GP winner, is helping the Warwick team develop the bike, using his wealth of on-road and track experience. Despite the TT Zero being off the schedule at the IOM, hopefully, it gets added back soon, and we can see how this goes against the dominant Mugen!

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