• Oct 20th 2009 at 2:02PM
  • 5
Lightning Motorcycles at Bonneville - Click above for high-res image gallery

Suddenly, we've got a competition on our hands. While it didn't seem likely that any other electric motorcycle manufacturers would even attempt to top Mission Motors' recent 150-plus mile per hour record run for a production-intent vehicle (the team hit 161 mph at one point) at the Bonneville Salt Flats, not only did Lightning Motorcycles make the trip, the company's machine unofficially (it was an official run, but not followed up with a repeat run to qualify for an official record) went 166 miles per hour!

Lightning's prototype is powered by lithium ion batteries from A123, which send their electrons to a motor taken from a GM EV1 electric car. Riding the bike for most of its test runs was Aaron Frank from Motorcyclist Magazine, and you can read about the various attempts made by Frank here. The actual 166 mph mark was set by Paul Thede from Race Tech, who was otherwise running his own CBR600RR on the salt.

There's more speed to be had, it seems. Unfortunately, the original bodywork that Lightning Motorcycles had intended to use on the electric machine was ruled illegal during technical inspection, so the bike was run with the fairing from a Ducati 1098 instead. Ultimately, the team's goal is to break the 176 mph record held by Kent Riches in a fully-faired electric streamliner. We wish them the best!



[Source: Lightning Motorcycles]
Photos: ZZ/Lightning Motorcycles - Used with permission

PRESS RELEASE

10/10/09

This week, at the historic SCTA World Finals at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a new player in the rapidly developing electric motorcycle industry emerged. Lightning Motors, running one of its pre-production prototypes was able to achieve a top speed of 166.388 mph. This exercise places the Lightning Motorcycle as the fastest production electric motorcycle in the world.

Lightning Motorcycles is the brainchild of Richard Hatfield and a small group of dedicated associates in the Silicon Valley of Northern California. Along side the Lightning Electric Super Bike, Lightning Electric Motorcycle Company has prototypes of a smaller less powerful motorcycle, a motor scooter, an ATV/UTV and other sport and utility vehicles in its pre production development program
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      big deal..... check the run logs... they were lucky to make it to the 5 mile mark..... they made over a dozen passes all slowing after the 3 mile.....we exceeded 179.484mph on our 10 pass ever and have way less knowledge on electric stuff that these bozo's do.... you can check out my record setting electric motorcycle at www.eracebike.com
      thanks
      Kent
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yawn,

      http://www.killacycle.com/

      Reaches 169 mph in under 8 seconds from the word "go", not even on salt flats.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well yes, but it's not exactly a "production-intent" vehicle.
      alexacoon
      • 5 Years Ago
      The bodywork was illegal??
      Boggles my mind, was it made out of hemp or something? :D
        • 5 Years Ago
        @alexacoon
        I imagine that there are rules that govern how different the bodywork can be from the 'production intent' body if you want to qualify in that class. Looking at the rear fairing, I'd guess Lightening did some significant aerodynamic tweeks that would make the vehicle a little too wonky for the general public.