2020 Arc Vector Electric Motorcycle: Bespoke Electrons
Electric motorcycles are an inviting platform for adventurous engineers, and the new £90,000 Arc Vector designed and prototyped in Coventry, England, is an outstanding example. The 2020 Arc Vector high-performance electric motorcycle features innovative chassis technology to integrate the batteries needed to power it.
Designed as a “neo-café racer,” according to Arc, the Vector stretches the boundaries of motorcycle design. The frame of the Arc Vector electric motorcycle is a carbon monocoque design. The battery pack is built into the frame, adding rigidity without additional weight. Arc partnered with MotoGP-supplier Riba to create a carbon-fiber monocoque swingarm. Arc gave the Vector a stiff chassis to handle the 109 ft/lbs of torque and 133 horsepower produced by its motor and 399 V battery pack. The result is a motorcycle that weighs a claimed 485 pounds.
While 485 pounds is not light by café racer standards, the claimed range of the Arc Vector is groundbreaking. According to Arc, the Vector can go 387 miles in urban areas between charges, and 230 miles at speed. We have learned to take range claims with a grain of salt; regardless, these are intriguing numbers.
The electrically delivered torque results in the 2020 Arc Vector taking three seconds to go from 0-to-60 mph, and the top speed is 125 mph. As is typical for electric motorcycles, the Vector is clutch-free and without gears. The Arc Vector also gets traction control, variable power modes, cruise control, and a head-up display in conjunction with an Arc helmet.
For your £90,000 you get a highly sophisticated chassis. Immediately, you will notice the hub-steering design that uses automotive Öhlins unit. “The system we’ve developed gives the bike low-speed control,” Arc Founder and CEO Mark Truman tells us. “There are a handful of manufacturers who’ve implemented hub-center steering in the past, but they did so with an anti-dive system. Riders want the bike to dive under braking, that’s what we’re used to. For the Vector, we’ve created a system that has all the benefits of HCS but which feels like a set of forks. The advantage is stiffness, which allows for a steep rake angle and a chassis that enables fast changes of direction with stability at high-speed. What we’ve devised is the best of both worlds with none of the negatives.” Truman, a motorcycle enthusiast, also does test riding.
Also on prominent display is the Öhlins TTX flow piggyback shock in the rear. Both shocks are fully adjustable with easily accessed knobs to dial in the preferred damping action.
Brembo discs are used in conjunction with Brembo’s high-end Stylema calipers and Continental ABS. Lightweight BST BlackStone Tek carbon fiber wheels are used and shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II tires. That’s a 180/55 on the rear and a 120/70 in the front.
Specialized Samsung 21-700 batteries are deployed in a package designed by Delta Motorsport, which is based at the Silverstone Circuit. According to Arc, the Vector’s ECUs are automotive-grade.
The Samsung 21-700 batteries are worth a closer look, as they are only available on the Arc Vector. “Samsung are prototyping and developing them and have partnered with Arc Vehicle as part of this process,” according to Robin Boyd, Head of Electrical Engineering at Arc. “The battery cells rank as some of the most powerful of their kind and have the most longevity. With 960, the Vector has more battery cells and, in turn, power than any other electric motorcycle—a lot more. With these upgraded cells, we are extremely confident in meeting our performance and range targets.”
Production of the innovative 2020 Arc Vector electric motorcycle is expected to begin in next year in a 65,000 square foot facility in the village of St. Athan, on the southern coast of Wales.