Bobbies on bikes: Patrols get out of their cars and onto three wheels with UK-adapted hybrids

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Northamptonshire Police are ramping up their use of a fleet of petrol/electric White Motorcycle Concepts hybrid three-wheelers by training non-motorcycle riding officers ahead of active duty.

The WMC300FRs are designed and built by UK firm White Motorcycle Concepts using the Yamaha Tricity as a base and the force took delivery of eight of them last September.

With two wheels up front, the machines can be ridden on a car licence and now the first two non-riding Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have been put through a four-day training course so they can use the machines out on patrol.

Police WMC300FR models

“It was a great experience and as soon as I got on the bike and had a few runs around the car park, I loved it. It’s different, but after the first day, I felt confident on it and understood its capabilities,” said Thrapston PCSO, Chris Burrows.

“After getting familiar with the feel of the bike in an off-road space, we then progressed to riding out on the roads, both busy A-roads and quiet country lanes. On day four we went to Birmingham on the A45 which I particularly enjoyed, and it was good experience on busy roads in an unknown area.”

He continued: “I started patrolling on our team’s bike as soon as I had successfully completed the course. My patch covers several small towns and villages in East Northants, and I can see that it’s going to be a really great resource – as well as being fuel-efficient, it’s perfect for engagement and visible policing as it does attract people’s attention and it’s easy to park up and start a conversation with a member of the public.”

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR line-up

The WMC300FRs differ from conventional police motorcycles because the standard 292cc four-stroke twist and go Yamaha engine has been combined with two 56V 12 amp-hour detachable lithium ion batteries to provide drive below 30mph. These are housed in a topbox made from recycled aerospace carbon fibre.

A central duct between the front wheels forces air through the vehicle rather than round it, which lowers drag and cuts emissions by a claimed 50%.

“It’s essentially a free ice-breaker for our officers. Policing isn’t all just enforcement, there’s a lot more to it, and it gives people an excuse to speak to us,” Neighbourhood Policing Team Sergeant, Greg Taylor told MCN back in February. “We’re not intimidating, we’re not scary people and we want people to come and talk to us. If we don’t know what’s going on, we can’t deal with any problems.”

Blue light into the future: White Motorcycle Concepts plan to electrify the emergency services

First published 10 March 2023 by Dan Sutherland

White Motorcycle Concepts electric motorbike of the future

A British engineering company have announced plans to futureproof the motorcycles used by police and first responders, developing a new electric three-wheeler that can be ridden on a car licence.

White Motorcycle Concepts (WMC) are working on the plans with international powertrain company, Mahle – building on their own pre-existing hybrid design based around Yamaha’s Tricity 300, with funding from the Niche Vehicle Network, and support from the Department for Transport.

“Existing electric motorcycles have been designed with the retail market in mind, and can be both expensive and slow to charge,” Mahle Powertrain’s Head of Research and Advanced Engineering, Jonathan Hall said.

WMC 300FR on the road

“Because emergency services require high levels of availability and have an unpredictable demand, retail electrics are unlikely to present a cost-effective solution.”

The plan is to build a fast-charging bike with a target range of 100 miles to help the authorities meet their net-zero targets.

The finished machine will be based on WMC’s WMC300FR hybrid three-wheeler, which is already in service with Northamptonshire Police and on trial elsewhere.

Air is channelled through the centre of the bike

The current machine builds on the standard 292cc Yamaha four-stroke petrol engine with two 56V 12 amp-hour detachable lithium ion batteries to provide drive below 30mph. These are stored in a rear topbox made from recycled aerospace carbon fibre which sits in place of the pillion.

Like the 300FR, the new bike will use WMC’s patented venturi duct system, which directs airflow between the two front wheels and into a chamber running through the bike. This helps reduce drag – which means enhanced range and top speed performance.

Officers have been impressed with the WMC machines already on the road with Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable and UK Police lead for Motorcycles, Nick Adderley, saying: “The hybrid three-wheeled bikes we now have in our fleet are providing an alternative, practical and very visible way for our neighbourhood police officers to get out and about in their communities.

Northants Police officers ride WMC 300FR models

“We need to continue to ensure we are prepared for the future with a sustainable fleet that not only meets the green agenda but also enables us to deliver the policing service our communities need and want,” he continued.

“Our close involvement ensures the operational vehicle meets our requirements and I look forward to seeing the output from this study.”

Alongside WMC’s aerodynamic work, Mahle are busy using simulations to develop the eventual electric power source – deploying real-world data in virtual riding environments to carry out research into a number of components.

WMC 300FR police light

More on White Motorcycle Concepts

  • Land speed records: Mahle have previously worked with White Motorcycle Concepts on their WMC250EV land speed record bike.
  • Let it flow: WMC’s patented ‘Venturi Duct’ is essentially a big hole through the middle of the bike. It draws air through the front – between the two wheels – and channels it straight down the middle of the bike to an exit at the rear. The reduction in drag should enhance performance of the electric motor.
  • On active duty: Northamptonshire Neighbourhood Policing Team Sergeant, Greg Taylor spoke to MCN after four months of using the WMC300FR and said: “They don’t handle quite like a normal bike… it doesn’t track in the same way. Once you get used to that and how light the steering is, they’re a nice thing to ride.”
  • Other uses: Alongside their policing duties, it’s hoped that the new electric three-wheelers will be used by paramedic first responders and even in last-mile delivery situations. It can be ridden on a car licence, meaning no need for specialist training. 

UK company’s hybrid three-wheelers go into service with Northants Police

First published 09 February 2023 by Dan Sutherland

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR ridden by a police officer

Northamptonshire Police are leading the charge into the future of motorcycle-based enforcement with an eight-strong hybrid fleet based around the Yamaha Tricity – and they have gone down a storm with the public.

The three-wheelers, called the WMC300FR, were designed and engineered by UK-based White Motorcycle Concepts, who delivered the first bikes ahead of active service in September 2022.

“I think before we got them there was a degree of scepticism,” Neighbourhood Policing Team Sergeant, Greg Taylor told MCN four months on.

“But once we got out on them, I think they’ve surprised people and they’ve been well received.”

What sets these machines apart from the standard 292cc four-stroke Tricity is a central duct and rear topbox made from recycled aerospace carbon fibre.

The WMC300FR Yamaha Tricity concept features batteries in the topbox

The box houses two 56V 12 amp-hour detachable lithium ion batteries to provide drive below 30mph. Meanwhile, the duct forces air through the vehicle rather than round it and between the front wheels – lowering drag and emissions by a claimed 50%.

“We’re using them on neighbourhood policing, which is all about getting out there, getting to places and engaging with the public, who tell us what their concerns are and then we can address them.”

He added: “The beauty of these for us is it’s an economical and agile way of getting to places.”

Although these machines can be ridden on a car licence, the officers currently using the 300FRs all have motorcycle licences. A training package is being devised to open the vehicles out to more officers.

“It’s essentially a free icebreaker for our officers. Policing isn’t all just enforcement, there’s a lot more to it, and it gives people an excuse to speak to us,” Sgt Taylor continued.

The WMC300FR Yamaha Tricity concept diagram

“We’re not intimidating, we’re not scary people and we want people to come and talk to us. If we don’t know what’s going on, we can’t deal with any problems.”

Away from the successes in Northamptonshire, the WMC300FR has recently passed the stringent Met Test which looks into how the machine behaves throughout its entire 90mph+ speed range.

WMC founder, Robert White spoke to MCN about plans for the future and added: “What we’re doing is trial days at Rockingham and we invite forces from around the UK to come down.

“We can go through a series of low-speed familiarisation and then some stuff out on the road around Corby to give each of the police forces a bit of an insight,” he continued.

“We’re coming to the end of building the next 12 machines, so that will be 20 in total.”

Hybrids on the beat: Production version of White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR joins police fleet

First published 07 December 2021 by Ben Purvis

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR front

Northamptonshire Police have taken charge of a fleet of new hybrid three-wheelers, based on the Yamaha Tricity scooter.

The machines have been produced by UK firm White Motorcycle Concepts, who burst onto the scene last year with their WMC250EV electric land speed record bike – a carbon fibre creation featuring a large central duct to create a design claimed to be 70% more aerodynamic than a Suzuki Hayabusa.

But the company’s first production model is a very different proposition: a Yamaha Tricity-based three-wheeler with a hybrid powertrain and WMC250EV-inspired aero, called the WMC300FR.

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR right side

Shown as a prototype and revealed in MCN in 2021, the first examples are being delivered to Northamptonshire Police and due to enter service next month.

Northants Police have been involved with the development, helping the machine meet the specific demands of law enforcement use, but White Motorcycle Concepts hope it will be adopted by more police fleets and other emergency services around the country as production ramps up.

“We very much welcomed the opportunity to work with WMC in the development of this innovative and incredibly efficient vehicle for emergency service use,” said Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley.

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR ridden by a police officer

The Chief Constable, who is also the UK Police Lead for Motorcycles, added “I look forward to seeing the new additions to our operational fleet on the streets of Northamptonshire.”

Initially eight of the trikes are being added to the fleet, to be deployed with neighbourhood policing teams to improve agility and visibility.

Like the Yamaha Tricity it’s based on, the WMC300FR has front wheels wider than 460mm apart, which means it’s defined as a tricycle under UK law and can be ridden by anyone over 21 with a full car licence. So, unlike police bikes, the WMC300FR can be used by officers without the need for expensive additional training.

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR prototype design drawing

You might ask why the police are opting for the WMC300FR, at a cost of around £14,000 per unit, rather than the stock £8100 Yamaha Tricity 300, but it hides several significant changes including a hybrid petrol-electric powertrain and radical aerodynamic improvements.

That hybrid system retains the 292cc single-cylinder four-stroke from the Tricity 300, but adds an electric motor to assist it, powered by two 56-volt, 12Ah swappable lithium-ion batteries mounted in the aerodynamic topbox.

The hybrid system is allied to WMC’s patented ‘Venturi Duct’ aerodynamics (a big hole through the middle of the bike), illustrated so effectively on the WMC250EV record bike. This draws air through the front – between the front wheels – and channels it straight through the middle of the bike to an exit at the rear, its path cleared by repositioning the fuel tank and radiator, reducing drag in the process.

Tim Maccabee - Managing Director, Ducati UK and Nick Adderley – Assistant Chief Constable for Staffordshire Police and National Lead of the BikeSafe

Together with the hybrid system the aerodynamic design reduces carbon emissions by up to 50%, giving the WMC300FR an urban fuel economy figure of 104mpg.

For the production model the recycled carbon fibre rear bodywork has been made sleeker and the hybrid system has been optimised, putting the emphasis on electric drive at low speeds and allowing the petrol engine to take over once the machine reaches 30mph, when it operates more efficiently, and the drag-reduction of the venturi design delivers a greater benefit.

The removable batteries mean fresh packs can be swapped in without downtime for recharging, and thanks to an on-board inverter the WMC300FR can act as a mobile power source for mains-operated police equipment, via a standard three-pin socket.

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR: Prototype three-wheeled scooter brings radical aero to the real world

First published on 7 December 2021 by Ben Purvis

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR police bike

This summer Northants-based White Motorcycle Concepts revealed their astounding WMC250EV electric land-speed record challenger – an ultra-aerodynamic creation with a vast hole running right through its centre to slash its frontal area and reduce drag.

Now the firm has taken the wraps off a second prototype that couldn’t take a more different approach to demonstrating the idea.

Where the land-speed record bike is a money-no-object, blue-sky project intended to show that the ideas of White Motorcycle Concepts’ founder Rob White work at the very highest speeds, the WMC300FR intends to prove the same thinking can also help at much a much more mundane pace and a far lower cost.

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR police bike right side

Developed in conjunction with Northamptonshire Police and with help from Chief Constable Nick Adderley, the force’s Motorcycle Lead, the WMC300FR intends to offer a 50% reduction in carbon emissions compared to conventional designs with similar performance.

Based on a Yamaha Tricity 300, it carries over that bike’s three-wheeled design, its 292cc single-cylinder engine, and much of the bodywork but adds White’s patented Venturi Duct, channelling air from between the front wheels, through the centre of the bike and out through the tail.

That means the fuel tank has been moved up above the duct, where it’s joined by a pair of 56V, 12Ah batteries that power a 5kW (6.7hp) electric motor that works alongside the Tricity’s 28hp single to turn the bike into a hybrid.

White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR police bike front and rear

The electric motor boosts acceleration and reduces fuel consumption at low speed, while the Venturi Duct’s aerodynamic improvements maximise fuel savings as speeds rise. What’s more, like the Tricity 300 it’s based on, the WMC300FR can be ridden by anyone with a car licence; potentially a boon for police forces wanting the benefits of motorcycles but lacking enough trained riders.

Rob White intends the WMC300FR (for ‘First Responder’) to be the company’s first production vehicle, targeting sales to police and other emergency services. He said: “We were encouraged by the great reception the launch of our WMC250EV high-speed demonstrator and the high level of interest that the project has subsequently gained.

“Whilst our concept in its most extreme form will help us go faster, its real-world application is all about improving range and reducing down time – major considerations in the electric vehicle industry at present.”