Michael Czysz's Mind-Bending Electric Superbike - Dreaming in Digital

American motorcycle designer Michael Czysz embraces electric power

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Adam Campbell

"Look at Laguna Seca," Czysz says. "On any given lap, we used an eighth or less the amount of energy a MotoGP bike used and we went about 75 percent as fast. If we walked into Honda, BMW or Ferrari and said we could run a lap 75 percent as fast using 12 percent as much energy, they'd probably say impossible. But we're doing it. That's important as efficiency becomes a bigger part of the equation. It won't be a free-for-all on fuel forever."

It's a minor tragedy that the e1pc is unlikely ever to see series production. Czysz has little interest in the headaches associated with being an OEM. Besides, he doesn't see much of a market for what he estimates would be a $100,000 production bike, given the current price of cutting-edge e-bike technology. "In an emerging market, the products are underdeveloped by definition," he says. "I don't see any value in selling a sub-standard bike at a higher price."

What he's more interested in is develop-ing the intellectual property (IP) that will be adapted by other manufacturers for use on their production electric bikes. And even though he's a dyed-in-the-wool motorcycle enthusiast, with amateur roadracing bona fides and a part-time gig instructing at the Skip Barber Superbike School at Laguna Seca, Czysz is really focused on the automotive side of the electric revolution. "My real priority is developing solid, well-engineered solutions for some of the 13 million cars that will be built next year," he says. "That's the trend that I want to be on. I certainly don't want to build my business around selling 100 high-end motorcycles a year."

Conveniently, the performance parameters of a superbike are very similar to those of a small commuter car, allowing Czysz to indulge his motorcycle habit while at the same time developing real-world technical solutions that can be applied directly to automobiles. In addition to Remy, MotoCzysz has also partnered with Indian auto giant Bajaj to develop an electric car. We saw the proof-of-concept prototype coming together at MotoCzysz headquarters, and while we can't reveal any details, it's safe to say it will elicit the same reaction parked alongside a Honda Fit as the e1pc would parked next to a CBR600RR.

Czysz also dropped details surrounding the next-generation e1pc-and there will be future versions coming soon. Further advances in battery chemistry could reduce weight by as much as 100 pounds without sacrificing range or power, bringing it down to 425 lbs.-essentially equal to a current 600cc sportbike. But what excites Czysz even more is the possibility of a hybrid version combining the best aspects of the C1 and e1pc.

"Imagine a bike with electric drive and a small ICE engine acting as a generator," Czysz says. "You could have the instant, massive, continuous torque of the electric bike, and a small gas generator to offset some battery weight and ease range anxiety at the same time. We know exactly what that bike will look like. We're talking about it now."

We can't wait to ride it. And we hope another motorcycle manufacturer is paying close attention, and will partner with Moto-Czysz to adapt that hybrid technology for series production if Czysz doesn't reconsider and do it himself. He already designed a transmission for the C1, so perhaps he could give his hybrid a few gears, too. That, along with the exhaust note from the generator motor, could bring his gas and electric dreams together at last.

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