The Siemens Electric Chopper is a giant electric cruiser
Electric choppers are an odd concept, and it doesn’t get much stranger than the elongated example that we saw at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard.
Designed by Orange Country Choppers for Siemens back in 2009, it was resurrected earlier this year, with a team from Cranfield University Engineering department taking the reins on the electrical update.
With a frame made from recycled steel and a kerb weight of 535kg, it’s an almighty beast, and an eye-catching one at that, thanks to its futuristic take on the conventional chopper.
It has a large rake angle, a 300mm back tyre and a hardtail frame, all synonymous of custom motorcycles, while the two lithium-ion 3.2 Volt bespoke battery packs and DC brushed motor are representative of the innovations Siemens is making in EV technology.
Siemen’s ethos is very much on sustainability, with the aforementioned recycled steel frame, and a hydrogen fuel cell charging the batteries on which it runs.
Kim Blackburn, part of the Advanced Vehicle Engineering centre at Cranfield talked me through the bike. “While EVs are now as much part of the landscape as traditional vehicles, this is our first electric Chopper – it’s one of the weird ones,” he said.
“We worked with Siemens on the electric Mustang last year, which was much more on the autonomy side, and now this is very much more powertrain focussed.
“The real challenge was what was possible in the time, what was possible without changing the whole concept of the bike, because if you were building it now it might be rather different.
“So we started with the battery. They used lead acid, which was ancient and heavy, so that came straight out and we replaced it with a lithium battery. It’s standard market cells, but we chose them carefully to suit the bike’s power and the range of temperatures it has to operate at. So we chose the cells to take it from a peak power to a constant power, so that we’re now able to operate it flat out, whereas previously that was just a momentary thing. It’s able to operate at 32/33kW all the way up the Hill pretty much. We’re peaking at about 450 Amps.