Safety is a very important thing to consider when racing with an electric motorcycle. For this reason, we strictly follow the safety regulations set by the Electric Road Racing Association. One of these requirements is the implementation of a vehicle safety indicator light or VSIL in short. The goal of the VSIL is to clearly show everyone if the motorcycle is safe to handle. This is mostly used for the safety regarding the high voltage wires. If there is high voltage present in places where it shouldn’t be, the VSIL will brightly shine red, showing that the bike should not be touched. Let’s say that our rider crashes and somehow high voltage is present on the frame of the bike. The VSIL will turn red and alert the safety marshals (and everyone else) not to touch the bike. If this would not be indicated, the marshals might touch the bike and get shocked, causing even more damage besides the crash.
Apart from that the VSIL also indicates when high voltage is turned on, when the bike is charging and if the battery pack is doing okay. This is all vital information to know when working on the bike, the implementation of the VSIL clearly shows this information to everyone.
Another vital aspect of the VSIL is that it stays powered even after all the bike’s battery systems shut off. This is because, in the case of a crash, it is very possible that wires get broken, which would in turn shut off the VSIL system, defeating its purpose. For that reason, the VSIL system has its own battery, in this way, the light will always stay on for at least 15 minutes. In this way, the VSIL is its own mini system that connects to the other parts of the bike when needed, but is able to function on its own.
While there are of course electrical requirements for the VSIL, there are also mechanical requirements. The VSIL needs to be able to survive a crash, without being damaged. For this reason, this is as much a powertrain component, as it is a chassis team component. The chassis team worked on designing a crash resistant enclosure which will perfectly fit the necessary components of the system, while the electrical parts were being designed by the powertrain team. This close collaboration between sub-teams can be seen in a lot of the bike’s parts, but the VSIL is a nice example of this.
– Robin Venhuizen