NAWA Racer is an electric cafe racer that uses ultracapacitors

Zac Palmer

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) early next year in Las Vegas is going to be filled with miles of intriguing (and head scratching) things. Here’s one that’s intriguing: The NAWA Racer concept.

It’s an electric bike with retro styling that holds our gaze much longer than most motorcycles. The design was inspired by traditional cafe racers, but the technology within is decidedly new age. NAWA calls it a hybrid bike, but not because there’s a gas engine combined with an electric assist system. No, it actually uses two different kinds of battery technology, and one of those is an ultracapacitor pack. The other is a traditional lithium-ion battery pack. 

NAWA thinks ultracapacitor technology is the way forward for battery tech, and the company speaks very highly of its capability in this bike. This new battery is said to offer much faster charging, better energy regeneration (through regenerative braking), is capable of providing greater performance and far more range than a similarly sized lithium-ion battery pack, lasts longer and weighs far less. So yes, ultracapacitor battery technology sounds great — it just needs to move from concept to production in this application.

The system in the NAWA Racer is a baby step in the right direction. It uses a 0.1 kWh ultracapacitor battery pack in concert with a 9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This hybrid system is good for 93 miles of range on a mixed cycle, but NAWA says city driving can return 186 miles of range thanks to the superior energy regeneration of the ultracapacitor battery pack. Speed is similarly impressive. A 0-60 mph time of three seconds (same as the Harley LiveWire) is expected from the 100-horsepower electric motor. Top speed is about 100 mph, so you won’t be able to keep up with those big engine bikes for long.

Charging can be done in a reasonable timeframe. NAWA says the ultracapacitor battery pack is full after two minutes on the charger, and the lithium-ion pack can charge to 80 percent in one hour. All these specs and stats hinge on NAWA being able to make the ultracapacitor battery pack into a production-ready salable alternative to lithium-ion battery tech. Our first look at this concept in-person will be at CES in 2020.