Dorna, who run the MotoGP series, intend to run an all electric support class from 2019. Saroléa are one of the few teams that have been shortlisted to supply machinery in a similar way to the current Moto2 class where all bikes are use the same power plant.
Although it might be said Saroléa have had disappointing results on the Isle of Man they continue to work hard to develop their SP7 motorcycle into a serious race bike and with the road going Manx7 due to be available to buyers next year the timing could be great for them if they can create a relationship with Dorna.
One question we often get asked at EVIOM is how many Electric Vehicles there are on the Isle of Man. We've asked Vehicle Licensing a few times over the years recently we got the figures sent though. It's tough to know the exact number as not all vehicles are Manx registered due to being recently imported or maybe if someone has a UK address a car would be registered there to benefit from the UK's Plug-in car grant. Other issues with counting EVs is that the vehicle categories used when registering on the Isle of Man. Some EVs seem to end up being registered as Category B, some Category L and some hybrids seem to have made it through to Category L regardless of whether they have a plug or not.
All this makes a true count impossible but we can report on the number registered as an 'Electric Vehicles' and Category L. These include cars, vans motorcycles and mopeds all lumped in together.
At present there are 93 registered EVs on the island. There are 63 hatchback cars, 10 vans, 7 motorcycles and 3 mopeds. There are also a handful of vehicles classed as quadricycles and agricultural vehicles along with one very interesting vintage car circa 1916. If the owner of this vehicle would like to get in touch EVIOM would be very keen to take a look. As many makes and models are singular we won't publish a complete list of each but the over 50% of the total are Nissan, 43 Leafs and 8 eNV-200 vans. After that we are into single digits for Peugeot, BMW, Tesla and Renault.
Cars and bikes aren't differentiated, so along with the others we have a total of 10 electric 2 wheelers including mopeds, maxi scooters and the famous Saroléa Manx 7.
Strangely there is at least one or two vehicles on the list that are hybrids of the non-plugin variety so it's strange they make the Category L list but it has become clear that vehicle category can be somewhat hit and miss here on the island. Plug-in Hybrids shouldn't be on this list either and we have no way of knowing how many there are presently. This is a shame as plug-ins are rapidly increasing in numbers on our roads.
It's a small number compared to the large amount of vehicles per head on the Isle of Man. Given many discrepancies in vehicle registration categories, however, it doesn't seem that the count is complete or indeed accurate but does give an indication of the numbers.
If you own or know of any of the interesting or unique EVs on the island please get in touch as we would love to learn a little more about them and you.
TT 2016 is just round the corner and that means another installment of the TT Zero race. Mocked by some, loved by others, you can't argue that the rate of progress these bikes and teams have made since the first electric race over the mountain course in the the form of the TTXGP. Anyone with an interest in the sport or automotive technology can't help but be impressed.
Here's a quick reminder of where we came from. The 2009 TTXGP winning lap by Rob Barber on the AGNI was 87.434MPH and the first TT Zero race in 2010 was won by Mark Miller on the MotoCzysz E1pc at an average speed of 99.604MPH. By 2015 John McGuinness took the Mugen Shinden to the win at 119.279MPH.
This year sees the return of McGuinness and Anstey with team Mugen on the new 2016 Mugen Shinden Go. Victory's sole rider, William Dunlop, will ride the new Empulse RR. Friends of EVIOM, Saroléa, return to the island and have confirmed two riders this year, Lee Johnston and Dean Harrison will ride the beautiful Belgian bike for the one lap race.
The official TT programme shows other entries from the Universities of Nottingham, Brunel and Bath. A Lito TMR (I couldn't find any information on this machine), one unconfirmed machine ridden by Antonio Maeso and an intriguing entry for Mark Miller and Splitlath...
There is also a third Saroléa bike in the list but as mentioned earlier, the actual entries do tend to vary a fair bit between the programme and the start line on Wednesday of Race Week.
EVIOM wishes all the teams and riders the best of luck and is looking forward to a great and hopefully record breaking race.
To find out more information on practice and race schedules visit iomtt.com and listen live over the air or online via Radio TT. The race will also be shown on ITV4 in the UK and IOM.
10:45 this morning (Wednesday 10th June) will see the 6th Zero Emissions motorcycle race over the TT Mountain Course. Due to poor weather conditions and other unfortunate delays over practice and race week the schedule has been a bit mixed up, but hopefully things will go to plan for the rest of the week.
The first electric race took place in 2009 under the banner of the TTXGP and was split into the Pro and Open classes. Rob Barber won the Pro class and overall on the Agni machine with a standing start lap speed of 87.43mph. The Open class was won by Chris Heath at 66.02mph. These were the winning times, the slowest time of the race being 40.09mph for the Brunel X-team.
The following year the the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure took over and the TT Zero was born. The story of what happened between Azhar Hussain's TTXGP series, the FIM and the Isle of Man can be left for another article.
2010 saw the lap record rise to 96.82mph with Mark Miller and the MotoCzysz E1pc. An impressive increase in performance on the previous year.
The following year a prize was offered for the first bike to break 100mph average speed. Michael Rutter and Mark Miller got close with 99.6mph and 98.29mph respectively on their MotoCzysz machines.
MotoCzysz saw some real competition in 2012 with the appearance on Mugen on the TT Zero grid ridden by King of the Mountain John McGuinness. There was a close battle between McGuinness and Rutter for the honour of being the first achieve 100mph. The three podium place men ended up all lapping over 100mph. Micheal Rutter taking the top step with 104.056mph!
2013 saw the same top top men in the same order. MotoCzysz mounted Rutter breaking the ever increasing lap record with 109.675mph while the Mugen Shinden still wasn't far behind with 109.527mph...
MotoCzysz didn't return in 2014 due to it's maverick creator Michael Czysz's ill health. Now Mugen had two Shinden San machine's ridden by John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey. Lap times took another big leap with a new fastest race time on 19' 17.3" and 117.366mph.
This year so far hasn't seen such a big increase in speed, although the lap record has been unofficially broken in practice by McGuinness on the latest Mugen Shinden incarnation at 118.056mph and registering 162mph on the Sulby straight.
Mugen's main competition this year come from the Victory motorcycles. This is basically the Brammo bike and team after Victory Motorcycles owner Polaris took over Brammo. Both Victory machines have lapped over 100mph so far. A last minute change of rider from William Dunlop to Guy Martin after Williams crash in Monday's Supersport practice which has taken him out for the rest of this years TT.
The Saroléa team also managed to lap at 101.02mph in thier final practice. So out of 7 entrants that made it to this years TT (10 listed in the programme) 5 have lapped over 100mph. Can the Lightweight lap record be broken today? Or will we see 120mph?
It would seem that the Mugens will take the top two steps followed by Martin or Johnston on the Victory. However, the Mountain Course if tough on bikes and the saying says "to finish first, first you have to finish" is as true for the TT Zero bikes as it is for the other classes.
Good luck to all competitors and teams and here's to a good race that see's some close racing, lap records and everyone back home safely.