This electric motor-powered Yamaha FZ-16 makes peak power of 40bhp and torque of 6.11kgm at zero rpm! Yes, you read that right. This prototype has been created to make you take your perceptions about electric motor powered motorcycles and throw them out the window. After riding Tork’s electric FZ just a few minutes, the future of electric bikes doesn’t seem as bleak anymore.
The Tork FZ is the creation of Pune-based Kapil Shelke, founder and director of Tork Motorcycles, and he’s an expert at making fast electric bikes. Tork Motorcycles finished third in the Open Class category at the 2009 TTXGP (it was only a single race event at the time) held at the Isle of Man TT. It was also the first time an Indian team competed and finished on the podium at the famous island race. In 2010, they participated in the UK’s first electric vehicle championship, the TTXGP. Tork Motorcycles not only won the opening race but also managed to come third in the final championship standing.
To highlight the company's capabilities as an electric motorcycle maker, Tork Motorcycles decided to ‘electrify’ a popular Indian motorcycle. The Tork FZ is the company’s first prototype based on a street motorcycle. Apart from the new motor, all other parts, including the frame, suspension, body panels and brakes are stock, exactly as you’d find on a regular Yamaha FZ-16. The electric motor has been fitted onto the FZ frame on the same four bolts as the original petrol engine!
The first thing that you notice about the Tork FZ is the lack of an exhaust, and then there’s the big black box underneath the petrol tank. The latter has been designed to conceal the battery box. The idea is to ensure that no rotary parts are visible. The ventilated strip below it covers the motor and the armature is its only moving part. The air intake next to the motor feeds air to the armature on the move to ensure it stays cool. The petrol tank conceals the charger, controller and other electric components.
Starting the Tork FZ requires a mere push of a button and turn of the ignition key. That’s it and you are ready to go! At idle, there is no sound from the motor at all, it’s dead silent, and your only clue that it’s on is when you look at the digital display. While gaining momentum from idle, the motor emits a ‘wurrrr’ after around 10kph, akin to an electric local train. The DC motor is able to completely overcome inertia by 40kph. Post this, there is a sudden thrust that continues right up to 100kph.
Tork Motorcycles claim that this FZ hits 100kph in under 9 seconds! It also has a claimed top speed of 120kph. The throttle response is very quick thanks to the copious amount of torque and power on offer. It accelerates effortlessly from any speed. Even with a pillion, the motorcycle calmly climbed a long steep slope. Even corners are fun on this bike.
Riding this prototype is a, shall we say, rather quiet experience. Owing to the absence of vibrations and the lack of an engine and exhaust tone, it’s difficult to judge the speed you are clocking without looking down at the digital speedometer. The only sound that you hear inside your helmet is the wind beating against it. This electric powered FZ is fast, quiet and environment friendly too.
Like any petrol-powered internal combustion engine, the range of this electric motor depends on your riding style. Tork Motorcycles claim that it will cover over 80km on a full charge when ridden sedately. If you’re going to have yourself some fun, then the range drops to around 40km. The battery requires only four hours for a complete charge.
“I want to change the perception of electric motorcycles in India. The Tork FZ makes you fall in love with what the future of motorcycling holds,” says Kapil Shelke when asked about the purpose of creating this prototype. With the Tork FZ, he has clearly achieved his intended purpose. The Tork FZ is expensive, it costs around Rs 3.8 lakh to get the electric drivetrain fitted on your motorcycle. But with battery technology constantly evolving, their prices should reduce in a couple of years.
Currently, around 65 percent of the prototype’s cost is merely the cost of the battery pack! And, the prototype isn’t road legal yet as it is pending ARAI homologation. A lack of funds is holding this prototype back from becoming a reality on our roads. If you are interested in funding a fellow countryman’s dream of making fast, fun and emission free motorcycles, do contact Tork Motorcycles.
The electric motor makes the Tork FZ a quick motorcycle with the ride and handling prowess of a regular FZ. And it isn’t powered by petrol. It’s good for the environment, emission free and completely silent. After riding the Tork FZ for a day, the inevitable transition from petrolhead to amphead seems a lot less daunting now.