Maarten Timmer VertiGO: making electric look fast

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Delft design graduate Maarten Timmer sees one problem with electric motorcycles: since they look just like their petrol-driven counterparts, potential customers compare the performance of electric with gas and come up nonplussed. It’s a valid criticism, while bikes like the Zero S and Brammo Enertia are a lot of fun, it’s hard to make a case for them in comparison to cheaper, faster internal combustion rivals. Maarten’s solution is to take advantage of the electric drivetrain to create a dynamic look that’d be impossible otherwise.
While we see clear design influences from the Tucson BT550 Superlegerra
in the front fairing and the Confederate Renovatio concept in the seat
unit, the negative space in the middle of the “tank” and underneath the
seat provide a significant differentiation to typical sportsbike

We’d have liked to see Maarten go one step further and rethink the
relationship between bike and rider. While the faux tank looks great
and should function well — providing a grip for the rider’s knees –
it’s an unnecessary design anachronism for an electric bike. Small
battery packs and motors that can be placed very low in the chassis
offer the possibility of a Gurney Alligator-style feet-forward riding
position that could provide an even more radical differentiation from
gas bikes while offering significant performance advantages. It’s that
possibility of fundamentally altering the archetypal motorcycle shape
that has us so excited about electrics.

Maarten Timmer

  • Cru Jones

    Kudos to this kid for recognizing the hurdle electric bikes have over their gas counterparts and making a bike that actually looks the business.

  • Zach

    Well said in the last paragraph there, Wes. The long history of internal combustion has us all thinking of elements that are no longer needed once we move away from that platform.

  • Troy Smith

    If customers are comparing performance of electric and gas, they’re still going to be dissapointed with this bike.

    It looks REALLY fast.

    Did i misunderstand by thinking that the idea was to make them look different than regular motorcycles so that people don’t expect them to be as fast as regular motorcycles? This thing looks like a rocket, so isn’t it still building inappropriate expectations?

    I’d think it would be better to build something very stylish, but that doesn’t look fast.

  • Design Ronin

    Gotta agree there with Troy. I understand the rational behind the thinking and agree with it 100%. The issue is that this does look like 1000mph standing still which right off the bat puts in direct competition with its gas fueled cousins. In that respect, while the thinking is a A+ the execution is a C-.

    There are so many unexplored forms that electric’s could adopt that would put them so far out of the ordinary thinking it’s not funny. We’ll see if it happens.

  • james

    Too bad it doesn’t have a 900 v-twin in it. Listen, living in the Detroit area I’ve read about electric cars form the early 70′s to 2009 and here are the three problems 1.the future hasn’t arrived yet. 2. packaging. to make a motorcycle go fast with power and a far range, the battery pack must be large. And with more battery you have more weight more recharge time. 3.when you’re riding a gas bike and your running low on fuel your bike doesn’t slow until you run out. On current(no pun intended) battery powered things: cordless drill, motorcycles, cordless razors, laptop ect. the product looses power at a quickened rate. Slowing, slowing and then finally stopping. A motorcycle is perfect for a gas engine. Small, light, powerful and miserly. A stock 600cc I4 hit 160 mph and at idle you can barely hear it, plus you can ride it all day long. The future is the here.

  • John van Houten

    Check this out for a feet forward electric bike design.

    Sadly, this has not been put into production (yet).

  • JR

    It really looks great.

    I say build it and even undercut the other two electric bikes. They need some competition.

  • Ceolwulf

    Reminds me a bit of a Zipp 2001 bicycle.

  • johnny

    I’m slightly concerned you’re plugging feet forward bikes, Wes.I really can’t see the attraction of sitting back in an armchair and going for a ride… there’s Goldwings for that!

  • debt help

    i would love to own a electric bike that looks like this and goes fast

  • david
  • Michael J

    This should be the way to go feet forward like a car with the comfort.

    This based on a single ICE engine but could be adapted to electric.
    The combination of efficient batteries and a strong electric engine could make excelent comuter bikes.
    Still waiting for serious sponsors.