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.

Source: USPTO

  • Mike

    China does not respect any agency’s patent authority and will promptly snatch this idea up and begin to build motorcycles which use Mr. Yate’s design.

  • Ian Miles

    i thought ducati had already announced that they were going to use one on the panigale for next yr. Is this yates design then?

  • Tim

    Filing a patent application with WIPO does not mean that his US Patent (if it is granted by the USPTO) is enforceable worldwide. It simply allows an inventor the opportunity to pursue patent protection in other countries with an international application process, which must be later followed up with a national application in EACH country where patent protection is sought.

    This is a great concept. I hope it makes it to market soon.

  • adam

    Looks EXACTLY like the front wheel drive system… just opposite force input. more copy/concept development than stroke of engineering genius.

  • Tessier

    Like Adam say’s this is a Christini drive system. Look’s like a direct copy of what they are doing only for the electrical world with a little hub work tossed in to make it happen. What I am curious about is if your trying to recover electricity why bring all those moving parts all the way up the forks thought the steering head and back to the motor/battery to make the recovery happen. I would thing you could make it happen in the hub and just bring some wires back to the battery to make it happen. It will be interesting to see what Czysz and Honda come up with in the coming years to avoid the patents and achieve the same or better results.

  • frogy6

    How much force will it be, like will it be like mild braking, will it kick in when you come off the throttle or when you start braking

    Is it a set force or increasing as you brake

  • Sean in Oz

    Frogy6: I imagine both are possible and they could in theory be mappable.

  • Kyle G

    Remember when he tested it out on a track and showed us how awesome this thing is….

  • Dan

    @Tessier: Because a hub motor weighs 45 lbs (Enertrac). Motorcycles are especially sensitive to unsprung mass since their unsprung mass already is such a large percentage of the vehicles total mass. You could make something lighter and smaller but then it would only have limited regen power capability. Also then this motor in the chassis can be used to power the rear wheel instead of being for regen only.

    As adam said, this is exactly the same as the Christini system, nothing new here. My question is if you are going to go to the trouble of adding 15 lbs of bevel gears, driveshafts, sprockets and chains, why not allow for the motor to drive the front wheel also like during low rear wheel traction conditions?

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