At Motoring Weekly, we are part of several manufacturers press lists. One of these is Venturi, and we have been following their progress for at least a decade now including the recent tests of their Antarctica project. The owner of Venturi is Gildo Pastor, and he also owns Voxan Motorcycles, Monaco’s only motorcycle manufacturer – not too difficult when you consider the size of the Principality!
Voxan though, are an unusual company, in that they are one of the pioneers of electric motorcycles. They were founded back in 1995 and developed a range of “classic” motorcycles using a 996cc V-twin motor from a French engineering firm making it an all-French outfit. Despite competing against the big boys, they went public in 2007 and failed a mere two years later. Perhaps going public was not a great idea – it often isn’t for successful private companies.
In 2009, the company was bought from the liquidators by Pastor who saw a slightly different future. The following year they announced that they would develop the Wattman electric motorcycle. The launch was in 2013 and there were reports that the factory that was supposed to build it closed in 2015 … however there is a silver lining to this story.
In April of this year, Venturi announced that it had signed the World Superbike Champion, Max Biaggi, to attempt a world land speed record using the Wattman as the steed of choice. The plan is to get it over 330km/h and break the current record that was set in 2013. The venue is the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia and they expect to do the attempt next year. Biaggi is a great choice of rider, not only is he a four-time World Champion in the old 250cc class, he is also a two-time World Superbike Champion – and a land speed record holder in the same category at 164.198 km/h on a Fazi Egraf way back in 1994!
The category to be challenged is the “electric motorcycles propelled by the action of one wheel in contact with the ground, partially streamlined, under 300 kg”. The current record was set at 327.608 km/h so a marginal uplift to that will secure the deal. Saying that is easier said than done, actually delivering on the goal will be a major achievement!
This is exciting stuff – and ground breaking because it shows the world that the technology is improving in leaps and bounds and although the majority of us will never hit such speeds, it proves that the idea of an electric motorcycle is becoming a market player with reliable and safe components.
Stay tuned – more will follow with this story we’re sure!