No, it’s not the 1970s again — Furion Motorcycles of France plans to resurrect the Wankel rotary engine for their hybrid M1 motorcycle that also has an electric motor.
Rotary engines were big news in the 1970s, most notably in the Mazda RX-8.
There were also many motorcycles with rotary engines. Norton had several models. Others included the Hercules/DKW W-2000, Yamaha RZ201, Kawasaki X99 RCE, Van Veen OCR1000 and Suzuki RE5.
Wankel rotary engines seemed a stroke of genius at the time with the cylinders rotating around the stationary camshaft. They were light and compact with high power and smooth revving.
But they had poor fuel economy and high emissions. Furion has now been resolved that by using a back-up electric motor.
Furion Motorcycles’ hybrid M1 sportsbike is so far only CAD images on a computer screen.
However, they say they will power it with a 654cc Wankel rotary engine, an electric motor and five lithium-ion batteries.
The rotary produces 93kW of power (125hp) at 9000rpm and 105Nm of torque at 6000rpm, while the bike weighs 209kg.
An electric motor adds 41kW (55hp) and 100Nm for a total of 134kW (180hp) and 205Nm.
Despite all that power, they claim range of 400km on just 16 litres of fuel.
Furion M1 sits in a tubular trellis frame on 43mm upside-down forks and rear monoshock with 310mm dual disc brakes and six-speed transmission.
Furion is not the only company looking at hybrid technology for the future.
Honda is making hybrid scooters, Yamaha is helping to develop hybrid engines for cars, Indian motorcycle company TVS is planning a hybrid motorcycle and the American Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed a stealth off-road motorcycle powered by a petrol engine and an electric motor.