Two weeks ago an amazing electric motorcycle land speed record was set by the Lightning Motorcycles team. Their 215.96 miles/hr record is a great accomplishment in the annals of electric vehicle racing, but time goes on. Other race teams hope to make their mark upon the record books, this time there are two teams racing at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials. They are Chip Yates and his “electric superbike”, and Eva Håkansson and her KillaJoule streamliner electric motorcycle. They have been on the salt for a couple days so let’s take a look at what they’ve been doing.
The question of “who has the official electric motorcycle land speed record” is not simply answered. The record set two weeks ago by Lightning Motorcycles (215.96 miles/hr) was recorded by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) (see Lightning strikes again with 217 mph electric motorcycle record at Bonneville). This weeks event, BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials, is accredited by the AMA and FIM who has a different record book than the SCTA. Then because the KillaJoule is a streamliner electric motorcycle with sidecar it is a different kind of vehicle than the partially streamlined bikes Lightning and Chip Yates have built. What this means is that at the end of the week we could have three official electric motorcycle land speed records, because there isn’t a centralized record book.
The KillaJoule was developed by the KillaCycle racing team (Bill Dube’ and Eva Håkansson) and is a fully enclosed (streamliner) electric motorcycle, with a sidecar. Theirs is the first such vehicle to race on the AMA/FIM record books, which means every run they make is setting a land speed record in their tiny little class of one. However they are aiming for the overall record for streamliner motorcycles with sidecars, which is over 218 miles/hr. As of this afternoon they have made four runs and are increasing the power a bit each time achieving 10-20 miles/hr faster speeds on each run. They currently stand at a 147 miles/hr fastest speed and 138.586 miles/hr average over the two runs they made today. Which is a record due to theirs being the only vehicle in their class. They have plenty of horsepower left in their vehicle and stand a good shot at getting over 200 miles/hr.
They made a lot of design improvements in the KillaJoule since last year. It has much more room in the cockpit, and handles immensely better than last year.
Last week Mavizen announced they have joined forces with the KillaCycle team to develop electric vehicle technology for a range of projects that have yet to be announced. (see Bill Dube now CTO of Mavizen as it morphs to new role in electric vehicle racing)
Chip Yates has been racing his electric superbike throughout the year at normal track races, as well as the Mojave Mile time trial last winter. It is similar to normal race bikes though with a couple modifications for the time trials. The swing arm has been extended by 10″ and the rear tail section has been redesigned. They worked with UQM to increase motor power from 241 bhp to 258 bhp. At the Mojave Mile event he got above 190 miles/hr and it he will almost certainly break the 173 miles/hr record Lightning Motorcycles set last year (see Lightning Motors sets electric motorcycle world land speed record at Bonneville). It’s within possibility he will surpass the 215.96 miles/hr speed Lightning set two weeks ago, but again the peculiarities of the record keeping means that to set the FIM sanctioned world record he only has to beat last year’s record by Lightning rather than their faster record this year.
Yates has had what must be a frustrating week so far. First the drive chain broke while at 173 miles/hr before he even got to the speed trap. On a second run he was having trouble seeing and ran into one of the mile marker signs after recording a 194 miles/hr speed. Second hand reports are that today he has set a speed record and is currently in impound. Clearly if he can straighten out the issues and keep the bike together for two runs he can set a respectable speed record.
We will update this space as new information becomes available, so stay tuned. By thursday we may well have a new overall electric motorcycle land speed record. But no matter what records are set or not this week, we have even more proof that electric vehicles are not always slow boring ugly golf carts, and can be beautiful and fast.
First world record for KillaJoule
KillaCycle fan page (facebook)
Chip Yates (twitter)
BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials