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University Student Designs an Electric Motorcycle: The VertiGO

Delft Unversity student Maarten Timmer presented VertiGO, an electric racing motorbike for course project. Its advantages include fast acceleration and low noise, and it is environmentally friendly.

 The motorbike, which is currently still available only as a prototype/model, is radically different from conventional bikes in terms of design and technology.


Maarten Timmer designed an electric race bike, the VertiGO, for his graduation project at TU Delft. According to Maarten, a student at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, it is definitely possible to produce a fast and attractive motorbike with an electric drive. This also has the advantage that electric drive is low-noise and produces few emissions.

‘A quiet engine would be a benefit for circuit racing, which is subject to increasingly stringent noise requirements and for which there is even a maximum number of “noise days”, as with the TT circuit at Assen. This bike can be raced without causing noise nuisance’, explains Timmer.


Timmer: ‘Generally, people have the idea that electric vehicles are sluggish and awkward, but it’s quite the opposite! They have relatively small engines but there is a high torque available straightaway. That makes for very fast acceleration – faster than with most conventional motorbikes.’

So the VertiGO will accelerate super-fast. But on straight sections of track at maximum speed it will not be able to keep up with standard bikes. In theory it can go 100 to 150 km on a single battery pack.


The initial question for Timmer was how an electric powertrain system would affect the new race bike. New technology has made it possible to create a new ‘archetype’. ‘The VertiGO is radically different in terms of technology. You have an electromotor instead of a combustion engine, and the energy storage is different (battery packs instead of a fuel tank). The fact that the powertrain is so different from a standard bike affects the design (see photo) – the design/styling of the bodywork is inextricably linked to the technology’, explains Timmer. ‘In terms of styling I’ve certainly been able to produce an innovative bike. The fact that it has a few features in common with a standard bike is partly due to the technology. Aspects such as the wheel base and ergonomics of a race bike have been developed to the full in recent decades and have proved to be (almost) optimal. Apart from that, in my view it’s wise to implement the development step by step, because the motorcycling world is cautious when it comes to change.’

Car industry

The development of electric vehicles is currently taking place mainly in the car industry. ‘In contrast to the car industry, in the relatively small world of motorbikes there is not so much money and R&D available for this sort of initiative. The development of electric motorbikes is still in its infancy, and so far the designs have stayed too close to conventional models.’

Working version

It wasn’t possible for Timmer to realise a working version of the bike within the short period of his graduation project. In the future, however, it will certainly be possible to produce an actual working VertiGO. The first step in that direction is the STW Valorisation Grant that has now been awarded to Timmer. ‘In the next few months I’ll be carrying out a feasibility study for the design, from a commercial as well as a technical perspective.’

The Netherlands as a model

Maarten Timmer’s graduation research fits in the wider research framework of TU Delft and in particular the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. In many different settings, intensive work is being carried out on innovations in the field of electric mobility, a subject that is receiving a great deal of attention. On the day that Maarten Timmer graduated, the Dutch Cabinet announced that it has earmarked 65 million euros to stimulate the development of electric transport. Prof. Cees de Bont, chairman of D-INCERT (Dutch Innovation Centre for the Electrification of Road Transport) and Dean of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, thinks that the ministers’ plan is a balanced one. ‘It is encouraging that the government wants to take on the role of launching customer. As a testbed for electric vehicles, the Netherlands can indeed serve as a model in terms of testing electric transport in various relevant environments, and in terms of adoption by businesses and consumers. However, a weakness in the plan is the lack of attention for electric vehicles other than cars. Electric variants are becoming more and more popular when it comes to two-wheelers such as bikes, scooters and motorbikes.’ Timmer’s project shows that, at race circuits too, there is still plenty to be won.

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2 comments to University Student Designs an Electric Motorcycle: The VertiGO

  • University Student Designs and Builds Electric Motorcycle … | Electric Motorcycle

    [...] Student Designs and Builds Electric Motorcycle … via [...]

  • Tim Haney

    If you want to see electric high performance motorcycles that are available and in production check out ZERO.


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