Frog eBike 2012 Concept by Frog Design

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We already talked about the Frog FZ750 Rana that is on display now at the SFMOMA, and the word on the street is that the folks at Frog Design are already missing their favorite lobby decoration. Looking to draw from the design-changing ethos that was first created by the FZ750, Frog designer Jin Seok Hwang (New York office) took stylus to hand, and inked what he hopes will be a new influence in modern motorcycle design — though this time around the exercise is being done with an electric motorcycle.

What should strike you first about Hwang’s design is the massive hole where an internal combustion engine would normally reside. That is no mistake, as Hwang is hoping to convey both a figurative and symbolic message about the transition from petroleum-based fuels to electrons. The motor is in the rear wheel, while the batteries are housed in the bottom of the chassis.

While a tank shape has been retained, we’re not quite sure how a rider would grip the sides of the bike with their legs when cornering. Still, it is an impressive concept from a company with a strong pedigree in industrial design. Will it influence designs to come? Only time will tell.

On Frog’s website, Hwang describes his creation with the following:

The overriding expression I aimed to capture is the resulting visual impact of the electric motor replacing the traditional combustion engine and its related systems. The large mass of the combustion engine, formerly a defining feature of a motorcycles profile, is now a symbolic void. The new electric motor’s copper coils moved inside a hubless rear wheel, at once streamlining the motorcycles composition and providing for a highly efficient and direct transmission of power.

I was very conscious about retaining the emotional impact of the iconic motorcycle silhouette however, and as such repurposed the bulky volume formerly known as the gas tank. It has become an ergonomic affordance for the rider, a support underneath and in front of the rider hugging his or her bike at great speeds. This design element provides a continuous formal transition from the back of the seat to the front of the instrument cluster and down around the void, transforming into the new location for the bikes fuel: the batteries.

The entire bottom chassis is dedicated to storing battery cells. This location lowers the bikes center of gravity, creating an extremely stable ride. Because the motorcycle’s speed is controlled directly by the power to the electric motor, virtually all other major mechanical components of a traditional motorcycle are no longer required. Fly-by-wire steering, full OLED digital instrument panel, full time connection to the cloud, and a helmet with heads-up display and retina tracking complete the trip into concept territory. Let’s ride!

Source: Frog Design