By Bill Moore
Like so many young people in the 90's, Max Modena thought his future lay in information technology. Based in the Italian-speaking corner of Switzerland, he discovered that he hated computers and loved motocross racing.
So, when Switzerland banned the general use of the two-stroke engine on which those noisy motocross bikes depend, he saw an opportunity and set out to build fun, fast, and quiet electric-powered motorcross machines for both rent and for sale. Quantya, his little four-person company is now beginning delivery of his first 100 machines to customers. He has another 20 machines that have been used as rentals in an an indoor motocross track, which he is now offering for sale as used on the company web site.
I spoke with Modena via a voice-over-Internet connection from his home in Lugano. I found the 37-year-old excited about his product and the future of electric two-wheelers like his EVo1, which comes in two models: the lowest-price one powered by an Etek electric motor and Curtis controller; the more expensive version equipped with a Lynch motor and Alltrax controller. Both come with Zivan chargers and Hawker lead batteries, though a lithium polymer upgrade option is available for an additional 2,600EUR ($3,469).
The standard Quantya EV01 weighs 85kg (187.3 lbs). It measures 1,930 mm (76 inches) in length and 915 mm (36 inches) ground to rider's seat. Because the bike is designed for both the rental market and competition, the battery pack can be swapped in less than a minute. The output of the electric motor goes through a two-step gear reduction process from belt drive off the motor to a chair drive to powers the rear wheel. The company claims the electric motor's torque makes it possible to initiative course hill jumps
Besides the restrictions on two-cycle gasoline engines appearing across Europe, noise abatement laws are also forcing the little beehive-sounding piston engines into extinction. In addition to manufacturing his motorbikes, Modena is looking at two potential sites for indoor motocross parks near Milan, Italy that are similar to his Quantyapark near Lugano.
Beyond the EVo1, Modena is working on an electric motor scooter, which he hopes to debut early this summer. He has had interest from North America, but told EV World that he is first going to focus his marketing and sales on Switzerland and then Europe.
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