Can Oaktec's Self-Supercharging Engine Be the Next Big Thing in the (Hybrid) Bike Industry?

The limited range and battery capacity are definitely the arch-enemies which still prevent the electric motorcycle industry from really soaring. However, a new engine from the British Oaktec engineers, might offer a solution. The self-supercharging engine created by Paul Andrews could become an interesting addition to boost the range of electric bikes… even though that would turn them into hybrid ones.
Oaktec Self-Supercharging Engine 2 photos
Oaktec Self-Supercharging Engine
Andrews’ engine is a small one, with a 400cc displacement, but it already produces 20% more power than the Yamada diesel lump it was derived from, with fuel efficiency following the same trend. Applications are countless, Andrews says, especially as the engine manufacturing process does not involve using exotic materials or state-of-the-art sealing processes, while using only conventional components. The principle behind the “magic” self-supercharging effect is getting gases to flow and react in a different way, Andrews adds.

This new paradigm simulates the induction force of externally-powered superchargers, but it in fact allows the engine to “breathe” better thanks to the new combustion architecture. What’s even more interesting about the Oaktec self-supercharging engine is that it will run a variety of fuels, adding incredible versatility. Users can fuel it with petrol, diesel, bio-ethanol and even bio-methane, without any of the risks traditional engines come with.

The project is still under development, as Oaktec has just been awarded a £40,000 ($67,000/€49,000) prize in a Shell-backed low-carbon competition, and Andrews claims that the technology can be even extended to engines with more cylinders. Further development and component optimization could provide around 10% extra efficiency and power, he adds.

Oaktec’s self-supercharging engines could be used as range-extenders in electric motorcycles, but it could also power small bikes and tuk-tuks, as well as light aircraft. Can you imagine being able to recharge the batteries of your adventure electric bike in the middle of nowhere without caring too much which kind of fuel you’ll be using?

Via autocar


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