2electron McFly: Electric bike tech emulates petrol engine of your choice
A tech company in Italy has created a brand new piece of software that enables electric bikes to closely mirror the speed, vibrations and even sound of a conventional motorbike.
2electron say that electric bikes lack the "heart and soul" of internal combustion bikes and they should know – having worked with big names like Ducati and Aprilia in their previous business operations. But now they say they’re changing that with something they’ve dubbed McFly.
The McFly technology is a piece of software called an emulator, which allows the hardware it’s installed onto to emulate, or copy, something else. In this case that’s a motorcycle and they say it can ape everything from a 250cc two-stroke screamer right through to a 1200cc V-twin.
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To do this the software manages the electric motor to copy the performance, gear ratios, powerband, sound and even vibrations of a conventional bike. But it’s more than just talk - to prove it works they’ve built a concept bike called the Emula.
Popped into the most basic mode, the Emula rides just like most typical electric bikes: one gear, twist and go on the throttle. But start tapping away on the 8in TFT dash and things become interesting.
In one of its emulation modes, the sensors on the clutch and gearbox go live, so to ride it properly you need to pull the clutch and tap the lever to change gears. Don’t do it and the motor will hit an electronic rev limiter, holding you at your current speed – when you have to do this though, is up to you.
Tell the bike you want it to ride like on old stroker and it will spin up the electric motor very quickly, with power all hidden in a small part of the rev range to keep you dancing on the gear lever. Conversely if you program it like a litre bike, it will offer loads of shove in pretty much every gear.
The emulation doesn’t end there. The Emula has speakers in the headstock to imitate induction roar and valve train noise, while speakers at the rear produce the exhaust note. There’s even a couple of ‘bass shakers’ in the bowels of the bike to give it that extra rumble.
2electron’s plan is to sell the technology to a major manufacturer, rather than build any bikes themselves (the Emula is just a proof of concept) but they’re hopeful. They’re already working with Bosch, who produce the electronics for most road going bikes, so while this might all seem a bit Tomorrow’s World, it could be on sale sooner than you think.