All Tests – MNC tested the 1st French electric sports motorcycle! – Contact with the H-KER Luciole

MNC tested the 1st French electric sports motorcycle !

All Tests - MNC tested the 1st French electric sports motorcycle! - Contact with the H-KER Luciole

Driving an electric two-wheeler is a rare and unique experience. So when it comes to testing the Luciole, the first battery-powered speed bike designed by the French company H-KER, the test becomes downright … electrifying. !

Contact with the H-KER Luciole

It is on the frozen asphalt of the Carole circuit (93) that H-KER and the FFM invited the press this week to come and discover the Luciole and the First. The bravest – including MNC, of ​​course! – were then invited to put on the leather and do three short laps on the handlebars of the first French electric sports motorcycle.

Despite the winter temperature (2 ° C maximum) and extreme track conditions (cold and wet asphalt), each tester has a smile and addresses the expression of a child at the foot of the tree on December 25: to believe that the " electric fever "contracted by members of H-KER is contagious !

Assembled with care, the two "power plants" look rather proud: only a few bundles of poorly camouflaged wires, switches and a somewhat cheap dashboard betray their status as semi-prototypes. Behind their streamlined fairings like on a Grand Prix motorcycle, nothing betrays their particular mode of propulsion, apart from the unusual width of the "tank".

Much more bulky than on a 125cc, this one is of course fictitious and covers the battery. For this test, H-KER made the Luciole available to us and not the First: the team did not have time to install the latest generation of air-cooled engine on the model intended for sale. The two motorcycles are however technically close, this will nevertheless allow us to get a fairly fair appreciation of the capabilities of the H-KER.

In good sports "pure juice" (re-ouarf!), The Luciole presents a demanding driving position and offers a spartan comfort. The “e-pilot” has to bend down to grab “low perched” handles, while the elegant footrests are set far back. Let’s quickly go over the reception reserved for the seat: as in competition, the saddle takes the form of a layer of foam glued to the back shell. !

The half-analog, half-digital instrumentation goes straight to the point (speed, odometer and a trip) and is supported by an on-board Alfano-type timing system. By force of habit, the left hand searches for the clutch lever… in vain: the Luciole and the First have no gearbox. "We have carried out tests with a gearbox and this has advantages such as a higher top speed of 30 to 40 km / h: 160 to 170 km / h against around 135 km / h", reveals Yves Kerlo."But this affects the autonomy and significantly weighs down the machine".

A "detail" which is not trivial insofar as the weight "all loads" of the H-KER already oscillates between 150 to 160 kg! "It’s not that high", defends François-Xavier Huille."Some of the most successful American racing motorcycles weigh between 280 and 290 kg", he explains by revealing to us that the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) was also working on a weight limitation within" e-competitions "for obvious safety reasons..

Handlebars in hand, the mass of the H-KER is especially noticeable at low speed: turning the bike naturally requires more effort than a 125 cc "thermal" (especially a 2-stroke!), Especially as the center of gravity is placed higher. The height placement of the heavy battery is obviously no stranger to this phenomenon.

Thanks to its healthy part-cycle, the Luciole is nevertheless very easy to use: the bike reacts quickly to orders, without any parasitic reaction disturbing the setting on the angle. Braking lacks bite, but its power is satisfactory and easily dosed. Two significant advantages, given that there is no engine brake when releasing watt gas !

At full watt !

As on all electric vehicles, the engine delivers its maximum power instantly, which gives the Luciole frank acceleration from the first few meters. Real potentiometer, the accelerator offers a childish operation: operated halfway, the handle summons half the power. Screwed in fully, it releases all the watts !

Only downside: the chaotic operation on the "watt net". When the accelerator is completely cut off – when joining the rope, for example – and we try to gently re-accelerate, the system "bugs" temporarily, which causes jolting and slamming of the chain drive quite sensitive.

"This phenomenon never occurred during our dry trials.", assures us the test pilot H-KER."This problem must be linked to riding on eggs that we are forced to adopt today because of the track conditions: in normal weather, in the dry, we accelerate more frankly.". Thanks to its recent collaboration with the IUT of Chartres (28), H-KER intends to bring together the computer skills necessary to quickly resolve this kind of electronic problem..

Once this constraint is assimilated, we quickly get a taste for the unique sensations delivered by this funny Firefly: if at first the operating silence "disturbs" the accustomed to heat engines, this absence of noise is quickly forgotten, or even appreciate by its relaxing aspect.

Only the whistling of the air and the noise of rolling bearings remind us that one is riding a racing motorcycle, designed for speed. However with 35.3 hp for about 160 kg, the engine of the Luciole only moderately electrifies the pure performance enthusiast. !

Admittedly, the bike is torquey, but it is neither nervous nor very fast: stalled in a dab position behind a very protective bubble, MNC only reached a modest 132 km / h meter at the end of the straight line of 500 m from the Francilien circuit …

H-KER First at a glance

  • Perimeter frame from a YZF-R125

  • 26 kW (35.3 hp) three-phase Brusless motor

  • 120 Ah electronically managed Li-Ion battery

  • Rated voltage of 65.7 V and maximum of 74.7 V

  • Programmable Sevcon Gen4 controller (2 presets: "eco" or "sport")

  • Primary belt drive

  • Final chain drive

  • Rims in 100/80/17 and 130/70/17

  • Wheelbase: 1355 mm

  • Advertised weight: 150 kg

  • Price: around € 20,000 excl.
  • In terms of autonomy, the Luciole and the First claim a duration of use between 30 minutes and one hour depending on the piloting. "On the Carole circuit (2055 meters long, Editor’s note), the battery life is approximately 45 minutes", informs Yves Kerlo.

    If this period of time seems satisfactory in view of use, the battery recharge time is much more problematic: "with our original charger, it takes eight hours", admits this genius jack-of-all-trades before specifying that solutions exist on condition of being ready to pay the price.

    "It is possible to recharge the battery in an hour, but such a charger is worth 5,000 € eachSimilarly, a braking energy recovery system would improve the range of the H-KER, but its designer admits that the sophistication of such a device excludes it for the time being. program.

    Especially since its use would significantly increase an already salty note: around 20,000 € excluding taxes for the first models of First which will be officially presented at the beginning of February at the JPMS 2013 (read our).

    A first series of ten copies will then be produced from May / June 2013, with a sales – or rental – target of "one to two dozen units in 2013", Yves Kerlo told us in a .

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