Established in December 2015, Bengaluru-based startup Ultraviolette Automotive set out with a vision to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in India. One major step towards fulfilling that vision has been the launch of its high performance electric motorcycle the F77, which they began developing in June 2016.
Today, you can place your order for the F77 high performance electric motorcycle with an acceleration of 0-60 kmph in 2.9 seconds, a top speed of 140 kmph and a range of 150 km on a single charge.
“It made sense to start our journey with two wheelers because typically the product development timelines are in the range of 2.5-3 years. However, a major concern that we at Ultraviolette Automotive are addressing is the fact that the entire electric vehicle industry in India has always been associated with low performance and a zero desirability quotient,” says Narayan Subramaniam, CEO of Ultraviolette Automotive, speaking to The Better India (TBI).
We currently live in a time when all types of vehicles come with a certain pride of ownership right from the first bicycle you want as a child, the motorcycle you want to ride in college to the car you aspire to own later in life.
“At Ultraviolette Automotive, all our products and solutions are designed and developed with a single-minded focus towards delivering high levels of performance and unparalleled user experience. However, we also realised very early on that a good product alone will not accelerate the transition towards electric mobility. There needs to be reliability and predictability built around the availability and usage of energy. We have spent considerable time and built a lot of IP around the development of batteries and various forms of charging technology that will soon become a crucial part of the electric ecosystem,” says Narayan.
Generating Speed and Acceleration
From Day 1, the startup’s aim has been to develop vehicles that can outperform IC Engine counterparts in all aspects of performance and user experience. Set in motion by the immediate torque of its 90Nm all-electric power train, the F77 is capable of rapid acceleration. Add an optimised centre of gravity, adjustable rear suspension for better handling, a steel-aluminium frame and inverted front forks, and you have a sturdy bike.
What did this Begaluluru startup do to attain this level of speed and acceleration?
“Our motor can output 27kW of power. To draw this kind of output consistently from the motor, we need robust batteries that can output high currents for prolonged periods of time. And they must do so during peak summer heat that we experience in India. A lot of the performance is attributed to how we at Ultraviolette have developed our battery technology, with really high energy and power density,” informs Narayan.
Another critical factor is raising speed and acceleration is weight reduction. When we look at a comparable IC engine motorcycle, the EV powertrain (batteries+motor) is significantly heavier. Weighing at 157 kg, there are no other high performance EV motorcycles like the F77 in the market as of today, according to him.
They have engineered the vehicle based on the principles and methods used in the aviation industry to minimise and optimise the weight on every single part at the same time making sure of the robustness. This gives them a good power to weight ratio. “Again, similar to the aviation/aerospace industry, we have put a lot of emphasis on the overall aerodynamics. We have minimised turbulence zones on the outside and ensured efficient channelling of the air internally for cooling of the batteries, motor controller and motor,” he adds.
Battery Technology for Indian Conditions
This was one of the challenges UA identified at an early stage. There are no batteries available globally, that could meet the demands of a high performance electric vehicle and sustain the rigours of climatic variances and usage across India.
“We essentially had to develop our own battery packs from the ground up. What we have today are modular lithium ion battery packs that have the highest energy and power density globally. We have employed technologies that you would associate with aerospace and consumer electronics technology in our battery packs. Ultraviolette has filed several patents in this regard, especially on the safety and thermal management aspects,” he says.
Being modular has a lot of benefits right from the convenience of being portable, enabling different forms of charging the vehicle to easy portability into other vehicle segments. These are some of the early decisions we have taken in terms of our technology being future ready.
The startup has enabled multiple modes of charging the batteries. Using a standard overnight charger which comes with the bike, one can finish charging in five hours. The consumer also has the option of acquiring a fast charger which can finish charging in 90 minutes. With the independent battery charging dock, customers can take the batteries to their home/office. Customers can configure the charger to run standard/fast charging depending on their requirement. Ultraviolette makes all these charging appliances.
Other Cool Features
Besides these specifications, the Ultraviolette F77 is equipped with a full suite of electronic rider aids and interfaces for a completely connected experience. There is a 5-inch high-brightness color TFT touchscreen (thin-film-transistor) located on the handlebar offering the rider a wide range of information on a display that’s bright and easy to read.
From offering three selectable ride modes that electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle (Eco, Sports, and Insane), the F77 includes a 9DOF (9 Degrees of Freedom) Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The IMU is powered by a 3 axis Accelerometer, 3 axis Gyroscope and a 3 axis magnetometer. The sensor fusion technology incorporated provides the exact lean angle, rate of acceleration and position of the motorcycle in every possible circumstance. Riders have access to this ride data through the mobile apps along with diagnostics information, says Narayan.
“Our real-time preventive maintenance technology uses the data from multiple voltage, current, temperature, vibration sensors to diagnose problems and predict problems before they can occur. With efficiency mapping technology, precise measurements of energy consumed is analysed in real-time. Every unit of energy transferred from the charger to the battery, to the electronics, and finally delivered to the motor and mechanical energy delivered to the wheels is accounted for and monitored to ensure all systems are operating at peak performance,” he informs.
Nonetheless, all three variants of the F77 — F77 Airstrike, F77 Shadow, and F77 Laser—come at a premium with a price range in between Rs 3-3.25 lakh (on-road). Online registrations for the motorcycle have already commenced and deliveries are estimated to begin in the third quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.
In short, what we have here is an electric motorcycle breaking out of the mould of the traditional low performance and zero desirability quotient.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)