Iranian Zero-Emission Motorbike Ready to Roll

Iranian Zero-Emission Motorbike Ready to Roll Iranian Zero-Emission Motorbike Ready to Roll

An electric motorbike designed and built by Iranian researchers at Tehran's Amirkabir University of Technology is now undergoing the commercialization process, said the assistant professor leading the project.

"Designing and building an electric motorbike was first proposed in March 2015 as a comprehensive National Master Plan on Technology," Mohammad Sarikhani  also told Mehr News Agency.

The initial team consisted of 25 researchers and AUT students, and the project yielded results by December of the same year.

AUT's team took part in the fifth round of a national competition for designing electric motorbikes and vehicles, which was held by a research center affiliated to Sharif University of Technology in December 2015. AUT's project came in third place.

"The motorbike runs with an electric motor and is 100% environmentally friendly. Moreover, it produces almost no noise pollution," he said.

There are nearly 1.5 million motorcycles plying the streets of Tehran alone. It is estimated that the motorbikes produce 120 million tons of pollutants in Tehran each year. Each of the bikes are said to produce eight times as much pollutants as a vehicle with a Euro 2 standard.

The assistant professor noted that the electric bike produces 10 decibels of noise, which is eight times less than motorbikes running on gasoline.

Sarikhani added that the prototype logs up to 140 kilometers per hour. Depending on the intended use, this can be modified to higher or lower speed limits.

The engine can be recharged using home plugs.

The assistant professor explained that the bike is ideal for city use as it can run for nearly two hours after a 30- to 45-minute charging session. He also said studies show 47% of motorcycle owners in Iran use it to commute from home to work, 29% use motorcycles as a means of earning a livelihood while the rest use it in their leisure time.

Those who rely on motorbikes as a source of income use their bikes to transport passengers or deliver packages. According to Sarikhani, the motorbike made at ATU can be modified and manufactured in three different models and prices.

"The motorbikes that are meant to be used for commuting between home and the workplace will be cheaper than the other two models," he said.

A basic motorbike running on gasoline with a 180cc engine is currently sold for 60 million rials ($1,700) while electric bikes will cost about 85 million rials ($2,400).

Although the electric bikes are more expensive, this will be compensated over time as the price of electricity is lower than gasoline and the electric bikes last longer.

"They do not have as many parts nor do they require as much repairs. This reduces maintenance costs," he said.

According to Sarikhani, the team has been negotiating with several investors but the commercialization process requires wider support from the government.

This may include preparing the needed infrastructure, setting up plug-in charge stations or introduce incentives such as free charging to begin with to promote the use of such motorbikes.

The electric motorbike could effectively reduce air pollution and fossil-fuel consumption.