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Nawa's stylish e-motorbike uses an ultracapacitor to drastically boost range

Steve Dent
Associate Editor
Nawa

A company called Nawa has unveiled an electric motorcycle with a racy hubless rear wheel and a lot more range than most other e-bikes. However, the one-off "Racer" prototype is actually designed to help the company show off what it really sells: ultracapacitors. Above the 9 kWh battery is a 0.1kWh ultracapacitor that can harvest 80 to 90 percent of the braking energy, much more than lithium-ion batteries alone can store. As such, it can go 300 km (186 miles), compared to 180 km (110 miles) for a bike with the same battery pack alone.

The prototype won't ever be sold, but Nawa wanted to demonstrate what its latest ultracapacitors can do. To best showcase the tech, it created a split "tank" design with the ultracapacitor unit in the top slot and the regular battery down below. Because they're built of carbon, the ultracapacitors are relatively inexpensive and weigh just 10 kg, yet they boost range by up to 65 percent or so. To get that kind of range with a regular battery, it would drastically increase the weight and cost.

The technology is most effective in stop-and-go city driving. "It only stores a small amount of energy, but it's being used very efficiently," Nawa CEO Ulrik Grape told New Atlas. "We're basically pumping that ultracapacitor in and out the whole time through acceleration and braking."

The Nawa Racer is pretty fast too, able to go from 0-62 mph in "comfortably under three seconds," according to Grape. The company will unveil the Racer at CES 2020 as a demonstration, and will start producing the supercapacitor at scale starting in 2020. "There is no reason why this cannot be applied to a larger motorbike, or car or other electric vehicle. And what is more, this technology could go into production in the very near future," said Grape in a statement.