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ADV BikesRound the World in 80 Days On a Custom-Built Electric Bike

Round the World in 80 Days On a Custom-Built Electric Bike

 Team of Dutch students shows electric motorcycles aren’t just for commuting.

Published on 01.23.2017

As the old joke goes, the big breakthrough for electric vehicles is 10 years away and always will be. Long-range and quick recharging always seem to be out of reach.

A team of 23 students from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands recently set out to prove that the electric future might finally arrive after all. They left the town of Eindhoven and spent the next 80 days riding 14,300 miles around the world on their custom-built electric bike, the STORM Wave.


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While long-distance riding on electric bikes has been done before, what sets this ride apart is the bike itself: it packs a swappable, modular battery system that can do 380 kilometers (236 miles) on a single charge. That compares favorably to a tank of gas, and makes long-distance riding more feasible.

STORM Wave Touring Electric Bike
Key to the STORM Wave is its unique modular system of 24 individual batteries. This not only provides impressive range but it gives the rider the flexibility to use all or just some of the batteries depending on the demands of the ride.

Throughout their trip, team riders silently zipped over mountains, through forests, by traffic and past gas stations. The touring-oriented bike has a full fairing and instrumentation, and all the equipment to be street legal. A gear box further allows for greater acceleration and efficiency at high speeds. It’s also pretty fast: zero to 60 mph in under five seconds. That’s not sport bike territory, but it’s much quicker than most cars on the road.

The STORM Wave features swappable battery packs, which allowed the students to stay in the saddle up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) per day. Other students drove behind in support vehicles providing one daily change of rider and battery. When the roads got bad, the students removed some of the battery packs to reduce weight and improve handling through difficult terrain in countries like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

STORM Wave Touring Electric Bike
The STORM Wave was recharged using only the local electricity grid. Included were companies, households and educational institutes that volunteered to be part of the worldwide network of plug-in locations.

To show the world the possibility of long-distance electric mobility, charging was accomplished solely through the local electricity grid. “This endeavor is the ultimate proof of concept for both our motorcycle and electric mobility as a whole.” said the STORM project team.

Will the future of electric bikes move beyond short commutes, or closed courses? Let’s hope the future gets here sooner than 10 years.

To learn more about the project, go to the STORM website.

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

Author: Bob Whitby
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One thought on “Round the World in 80 Days On a Custom-Built Electric Bike

  1. Good job students. Now the important question is how to do it without 23 students driving behind you in support vehicles?