Leading the charge

17th October 2019

The brainchild of former Jaguar Land Rover boffins, the Arc Vector electric motorcycle offers a game-changing blend of innovative technology and space-age looks.

Words by Hugo Wilson

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“Trying to make an electric bike look like a petrol one is a mistake,” says Mark Truman, the charismatic founder, frontman and CEO of Arc Vehicles. “We wanted to create something that’s completely different.” Mission accomplished. The £90,000 Arc Vector is a glorious blend of space-age looks, carbon fibre and machined alloy, softened by walnut veneer and sustainable leather. It looks like nothing else – more dreamer’s doodle than traditional motorcycle.

But it’s real. The bike was announced at the Milan motorcycle show last October and riding prototypes have been seen over the summer (including at Festival of Speed). Arc claims that the media will get to sample a pre-production version imminently and that the first of 399 machines will be delivered to owners in late 2020.

Petrol engines aren’t going to be here forever, and we want to make sure there’s an alternative that’s really cool to ride.


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Arc makes bold claims for its baby: 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds, 270-mile range, 125mph top speed, charging time 40 minutes. The company is less forthcoming about how it’s going to deliver on those promises, but there is undoubtedly substance behind the hype. Truman is the former boss of Jaguar Land Rover’s White Space innovation lab. The Arc started as a concept at JLR, with the same roots as Jag’s new E-Pace SUV. With company backing, Truman, a passionate lifelong biker, has cut loose from JLR to turn the project into reality. His Coventry-based development team includes other former JLR personnel as well as F1, MotoGP and motorcycle industry expertise. A factory is being planned and prepared in South Wales.

Building an electric bike from scratch is tough; the technology involved in battery, control unit, motor and associated charging is complex and expensive. But Arc is making it even harder by developing a radical new chassis and rider interface too. The bike is built around a carbon fibre monocoque that houses the battery and provides the structure of the bike. Up front, instead of conventional telescopic forks, there’s an innovative hub-centre steering system. Most of the instrumentation is delivered via a head-up display inside the rider’s helmet, which also serves as the bike’s security key. The rider wears a haptic jacket that alerts them to vehicles approaching from the rear by tapping them on the shoulder – though with its 125mph top speed, you’d hope that wouldn’t happen very often.

If the Arc can deliver, it’ll be another big step in the evolution of electric bikes. As with cars, range is a problem, and so is bulk. Range requires a lot of battery, but that means a lot of weight. Arc’s solution is two-fold: 960 Samsung 21-700 battery cells are packed into the monocoque to provide the power and range claimed, and the lightweight carbon chassis helps keep bulk down to the claimed 220kg. The hub-centre steering, meanwhile, allows radical steering geometry with no loss of stability. It should handle with the agility of a much lighter bike.

“Petrol engines aren’t going to be here forever,” says Truman, “and we want to make sure there’s an alternative that’s really cool to ride.”

This article was taken from the Autumn 2019 edition of the Goodwood Magazine.

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