Reinvigorating past classic names is nothing new, you only have to look as far as the small car driven unfathomably hard on nearly every major motorway around the country, the BMW MINI to see what a revitalised name can bring to what is essentially nothing to do with the past that the same name conjures up in our minds.
The list is long and distinguished, with a huge amount of old world motoring names now back in action. The idea is simple and plays on our human nature to show interest in something that once died away. Reincarnation is another way of putting it, or renaissance if you prefer – the re-birth doesn’t mean it’s the same, actually it often means it’s very different.
So then to Bultaco, a reputable brand that died away many years ago is back. This time, the Bultaco bikes are electric driven and made of lightweight materials – a far cry from the Bultaco’s of yesteryear.
The new Bultaco models are said to create around 500 jobs in Spain as Barcelona gets the manufacturing plant and Madrid the innovation centre.
The origins of the new Bultaco began when, in 2010, José Germán Pérez, Raúl Pérez, Juan Manuel Vinós, Gerald Pöllmann and Jorge Bonilla of LGN TECH Design S.L. started focussing on developing their own patents. The new company was supported by both the University Carlos III and the Technology Park. After two years of research, the company found a suitable test bed for their technology by way of the first World Electrical Motorcycle Championship, organised by FIM.
In just three months, Bultaco readied a motorbike for competition and ended the championship in an overall 4th position with a best finish of 3rd at Magny-Cours. To put that into context a bit, Bultaco was a very new entrant to the competition, as were other teams, but whereas they often benefited from large monetary backing, Bultaco didn’t.
In order to progress as a serious manufacturer of electric bikes, Bultaco has acquired many high profile names who are helping with the development of the brand. These include such notable names as Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, the former Vice-President of BMW group, and Johann Wohlfarter, the former Executive Vice-President of FIAT Group. Continuing development of the bikes, Bultaco has hired the entire development team from Spanish brand Derbi as well as other professionals well-known in their field for both engineering and motorbikes.
Bultaco will begin production next year starting with a small size motorbike with the aim of bringing larger more powerful models after. Interestingly and as with many other rejuvenated brand names, Bultaco has recognised that people buy into the brand and thus marketing and branded items are already in the pipeline, including items such as watches and clothing. Sales are expected to take place at dealerships, initially shared with other brands but then branches dedicated to Bultaco are expected to appear very soon after.
Initially, the Bultaco range will include different kinds of vehicles driven by its in-house electrical propulsion system. These products were developed from scratch with the goal of getting the maximum advantages that this propulsion system can yield. Safe, tested elements were used in order not to compromise the reliability or durability of the performance in systems that provide outstanding performance.
The Bultaco Drive Train System (DTS), unlike other electrical two-wheeled vehicles, enables the maximum energy performance to be yielded from regenerative braking. This is possible because the technology applied to the chassis maximises the rear wheels’ adherence during braking, which enables a considerable electrical braking torque to be applied.
The energy accumulation system, which combines a lithium-ion battery and ultra-condensers, is yet another feature that ensures performance far superior to that of other comparable vehicles.
The development of the BEDTS has been carried out in collaboration with Viesca Engineering, company with a wide experience in the field of the highspeed rail. The software in the Bultaco Control Unit (BCU) is extraordinarily functional. It enables the driver to manage the engine power, energy recovery, battery recharge and connection to mobile devices.
Through the Biker Manager application created by Bultaco, users can find out information such as the battery charge, the autonomy depending on the kind of driving and the location of the motorcycle, among many other features. All of this technology can be seen in the Rapitán and Rapitán Sport prototypes that Bultaco is unveiling today, which are close approximations to the Bultaco motorcycles that will be brought to market in 2014.