Zero Motorcycles CEO Gene Banman has exclusively revealed to Hell For Leather that his company will be partnering with Agni Motors to create a new motorcycle to enter the first American TTXGP race on May 16. The partnership makes a lot of sense; Agni's Cydric Lynch essentially invented the modern archetype for electric vehicle motors, while Zero has enormous expertise in constructing very lightweight, very strong frames. In addition to the new racer, Agni motors -- the same ones that were used in the 2009 TTXGP winner -- now power the 2010 Zero DS and Zero S.
Update: the race bike will not result in a road-going model and will use a single motor of an entirely new Agni design. Gene says the bike itself will be "heavily based" on the S/DS platform.
The air cooler on the 2010 S/DS is needed due to the new 450w controller, without it that motor would overheat during heavy use such as climbing long inclines at full throttle.
Zero's proprietary frames are made from aircraft grade aluminum -- the
company's founder, Neal Saiki, used to work for NASA -- and are among the
lightest motorcycle frames in the world. The Zero X and MX frame weighs
just 13 pound while the one holding the DS and S together is 18 pounds.
Agni won the TTXGP race on the Isle of Man last year with two of its
motors housed inside a GSX-R frame while the Mavizen TTX02 is also
powered by two of those motors, but houses them in a KTM RC8 frame. Even
Michael Czysz used the Agni motors, three of them in the E1pc.
The Agni 95 reinforced permanent magnet brushed motor in the 2010 Zero S
and DS develops 39lb/ft of torque (peak) and 19lb/ft (continuous). That
was good for an indicated 70 MPH top speed during our test ride
yesterday. Look for our review in the next couple of days and check out Fox Car Report Live at 3:30 EST where I'll be appearing alongside Gene
Banman to discuss his new bikes.