The motorcycle rotary engine concept that featured in the celebrated Norton Classic and Commando Interpol could soon be rejuvenated with cutting-edge hybrid technology. The evolution of the Norton Wankel engine follows AIE’s latest grant award to investigate the technical feasibility of a reduced-emission hybrid rotary engine for motorcycles.
AIE (UK) Ltd, who hold the exclusive patents for their world-class rotary engines from Norton motorcycle engineer, David Garside, received the grant award after becoming successful applicants of the Niche Vehicle Feasibility Competition. Presented at the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN) Forum on 20 November 2017, the feasibility study marks another exciting chapter for the Norton Wankel rotary engine.
Bringing Hybrid Rotary Power to Motorcycle Applications
The purpose of the grant award is to study the opportunities and configurations of AIE’s innovative rotary hybrid technology within motorcycle applications.
With space on motorcycles extremely limited, and conventional hybrid systems heavy and bulky, the compact and lightweight Wankel rotary is the ideal size for a hybrid power unit; suitable for a wide range of motorcycles and 3-wheel applications.
R&D activities carried out by AIE will focus mainly on identifying the best vehicle configuration for commercial success, with emphasis on improving motorcycle range and reduction of noise and emissions.
The opportunity to utilise AIE’s rotary hybrid-power technology would provide important environmental benefits for emission controlled urban areas across the globe where motorcycles operate extensively. In addition, the feasibility study will also consider the advantages of AIE rotary engines that operate on fuels such as LPG, natural gas and hydrogen for zero emissions, as well as the interesting possibility of electronic transmission motorcycle security.
The study will be assisted by Shireoak Motorcycles, who will support AIE with their extensive knowledge of custom motorcycles, experience with rotary engines and voice of customer analysis.
As the only small internal combustion engine currently suitable for motorcycle hybrid-power, due to its compact size and advanced patented technologies, AIE’s feasibility study will play an important part in assessing and unlocking the future potential of this now modernised Wankel rotary engine.