Eighteen months ago, Chip Yates filed for a patent on his front-end KERS design for motorcycles, which means that today the United States Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) can disclose Yates’s patent application to the public. Detailing the only front-wheel regenerative-braking system for motorcycles that we know to exist, the design built by Yates allows a motorcycle to scavenge power from the braking force applied to the front wheel of a motorcycle, and store it in an electric battery system.
Current regenerative-braking systems on the market, like the ones that help power the 2012 Zero S that we tested just a few months ago, use regenerative-braking off the rear wheel, and are more prone to locking the rear tire up if too much force is applied to the system. With 70% or more of a bike’s potential braking force coming from the front wheel, a front-end KERS system has a substantially greater ability to put power back into an electric motorcycle’s battery pack, thus either increasing the range of an electric motorcycle or allowing more electric power to be used over the same distance.
While the patent filed here is with the USPTO, Yates has also filed his design with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), making his patent enforceable in up to 185 countries. This makes Yate’s design an international affair, which will be essential since electric motorcycles are seeing their biggest acceptance in foreign markets, especially those in China and Southeast Asia. With even Europe showing greater traction for electric vehicles than here in the United States, a WIPO filing is perhaps an even bigger deal from an IP perspective than one with the USPTO.
Yates and his team still need to get the official node from the USPTO that his patent has been approved, which could take several more years, though it is interesting to thumb through the design that has been created in this patent application. Read the full patent here, it provides a ton of insight into the electric motorcycle that Chip Yates campaigned at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, WERA gas motorcycles races, and other events.