First Electric Motorcycle Completes Land’s End Trial: UCL’s Groundbreaking Achievement in EV Technology

A project led by Dr Mehdi Baghdadi, an Associate Professor in electric propulsion, and PhD student Fred Spaven from University College London has made significant progress towards global transport decarbonisation by designing and building the first electric vehicle to successfully completing the historic Land’s End Trial.

Although road vehicle electrification continues apace in the developed world, many areas of the globe rely on cheap, lightweight vehicles operating on roads that vary from poor to non-existent. Electrification of these lightweight vehicles, such as motorcycles, is more difficult than heavy, western cars but offers more opportunities in terms of energy efficiency, cost effectiveness and a decreased dependency on a sophisticated recharging infrastructure.

The Land’s End Trial has run annually since 1908 as a reliability test for road vehicles, including cars and motorcycles. The 330-mile route runs through the night, pushing vehicle reliability as competitors attempt to stick to a fixed time schedule while tackling a selection of off-road sections and navigation challenges through the rural West Country. Around one-in-six vehicles fail to reach the finish line. This combination of arduous conditions and limited recharging opportunities makes this the perfect test of an EV operating in the global south.

This year saw the culmination of a four-year research project as UCL entered its new electric motorcycle to become the first EV to complete the Land’s End trial. Operating reliably through the 24 events, it was in direct competition with the established internal combustion machines.

To find out more about the project, contact Dr Mehdi Baghdadi.