Electric motorcycle brand Voxan, owned by high-performance electric vehicle specialist Venturi, presents the new Wattman. With world champion Max Biaggi at the controls, the brand is setting out to conquer yet more world speed records.
Closer to the Stars
The Voxan Wattman was initially due to make its attempts on a Bolivian salt flat in July 2020, but the pandemic made travel impossible, and so it was on the runway at the Châteauroux airfield in France that the team broke 11 world speed records a year ago.
Asphalt proved to be an interesting surface, so the Wattman — modified accordingly — will continue its schedule on another strip. This time, the venue will be the Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where, starting Monday Nov. 15, the first ultra-high-speed tests will get underway.
Weight, Stability, Power
The Wattman is now under 300 kilos in weight, allowing it to compete in this category. The weight difference is primarily down to a new Voxan-Saft battery design, which is both mechanical and electric. Saft, the French subsidiary of TotalEnergies, specializes particularly in high-performance, very high-power batteries. The pouch cells used make it possible to increase the batteries’ power by nearly 80 times, compared with around 10 times for standard products on the market. They are assembled in modules, enabling cooling to be managed with a recently patented process, resulting in an ultra-compact construction.
The bike continues to rely on the Mercedes EQ Formula E powertrain, which delivers power of 320 kilowatts (compared with 270 kilowatts for the previous version) and offers torque of 1,360 Newton meters.
Other notable differences compared with the previous Wattman include the motorcycle’s dimensions: To improve stability and air penetration, the wheelbase has been increased to 1,957 millimeters (from 1,800 millimeters previously) and the seat height is now 685 millimeters (up from 610 millimeters). In the event of significant crosswinds, the team will now have the flexibility to add a fairing that cuts wind resistance.
As for the tires, longstanding partner Michelin has worked on designs specifically tailored to this challenge. The front 120/70-17 is a tire from the MICHELIN Power GP range, which has been modified to tolerate extremely high speeds. For the rear 190/55-17, Michelin has relied on technology that has been proven in MotoGP to develop a tire with improved grip. The challenge was to channel all of the extraordinary torque delivered by the Wattman’s electric engine, allowing the motorcycle to accelerate as fast as possible without skidding.