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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


Frederick Spaven

  • PhD Researcher
  • UCL Mechanical Engineering

Contact Fred Spaven


Dr Mehdi Baghdadi

Research Area

Electric Vehicle Traction Motors

Research Outline

Battery Electric Motorcycle Touring and Drivetrain Optimisation.

Electric motorcycles are fast becoming a staple of urban commutes, offering a variety of benefits from low emissions to excellent performance, but longer journeys remain difficult due to natural limitations on battery size.

Building on experience gained during a 1,500 mile tour on a self-built electric motorcycle, Fred’s research is investigating methods for improving range and reducing charge times to the point that long-distance electric motorcycle touring becomes a practical reality. Battery chemistry is already an area of intensive research but chassis and aerodynamic design is equally important for efficient touring, as is drivetrain optimisation, which will be the main focus of Fred’s thesis.

About Fred Spaven

Fred graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge in 2010 with a master’s degree in engineering before moving into superconductivity research, still at Cambridge, working on superconducting motor design culminating the construction of the world’s first bulk-superconducting rotor.

Following a break to travel the world, Fred returned to Blighty to begin a career in historic motorsport where he worked on a number of class-winning cars from a variety of eras up to the late 1960s. Eventually, curiosity got the better of him and the conversion of a 1961 Enfield Bullet to battery electric power led him back into research at the e-propulsion group at UCL’s Mechanical Engineering Department.

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