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Warwick Moto Case Study

Developing a first in the electric automotive market

Project Overview

The Warwick Moto team is a multi-departmental project at WMG, The University of Warwick, consisting of students, researchers, and academics. In just seven months, the team has developed and built an electric racing motorcycle named ‘Frontier’, using a high-performance sports model as a platform.

The Challenges

1- Thermal Management

Although immersion cooled batteries are not new from a racing perspective, e.g. Formula E vehicles utilise this method of thermal management – Warwick Moto is the first to introduce the system to a motorbike.

2- Battery Pack Weight & Design

For motorcycles, mass is a performance constraint and overall space is limited and from a racing perspective, the lower the bike’s weight, the increase in performance. From a cost perspective, battery modules would need less cells with the same power output.

3- Battery Load Demands

The battery design had to be able to withstand the vibration load that a pack might encounter under motorsport conditions. Being thermally and electrically stressed under various standard and non-standard loads was to be expected as standard, so the thermal management strategy would need to be robust enough under normal and extreme operations.

4- Recharging Times

The battery would need to be recharged with the common RS CHAdeMO connector, facilitating fast charging where possible and allowing for a full charge of the battery in around an hour.

The MIVOLT Solution

Using a battery immersion-cooled with MIVOLT presented many benefits to the Warwick Moto team. Firstly, it paved the way for more dense battery pack configurations. For motorcycles, where mass is a performance constraint and overall space is limited, immersion cooling reduces the number of cells necessary. From a racing perspective, this lowers the bike’s weight and increases its performance. From a cost perspective, battery modules become cheaper as less cells are required for the same power output.

Secondly, liquid immersion cooling reduces the likelihood of hotspots. Battery cells are more efficient at certain operating temperatures, so this method of thermal management ensures that optimal temperatures are maintained at all times. This level of efficiency will increase performance and maximise Frontier’s range.

MIVOLT immersion cooling liquids proved to be by far the best solution:


Thermal Management

Despite their low electrical conductivity, MIVOLT liquids possess high thermal conductivity an order of magnitude higher than air. With its high heat capacity, MIVOLT quickly drew heat away directly from the battery cell to cooling surfaces.


Battery Pack Weight & Design

Liquid immersion cooling with MIVOLT enables denser battery pack configurations. This reduced the number of cells necessary and therefore lowered the weight of the bike while increasing its performance.


Battery Load Demands

Liquid cooling with MIVOLT allowed for larger short term power peaks required by a racing motorbike. Additionally, the cooling system enabled the team to operate at a more efficient temperature range by optimising the starting temperature of the MIVOLT liquid prior to a race or testing, based on the requirements of the track.


Recharging Times

It took just over 3 minutes for MIVOLT to cool the battery cell surface temperatures from 85°C to 30°C. This has significant implications for Frontier’s performance - it allows the batteries to be charged at faster rates and reduces thermal strain on batteries, increasing the lifespan of battery packs.

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