• Sep 10th 2010 at 9:56AM
  • 16

Lightning Motors
, with some time on its hands between winning the TTXGP North American championship and competing in the TTXGP Grand Final at Albacete, Spain in October, returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats to take part in the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials in an attempt to get itself an official record. Last year, they had run as fast as 166 miles per hour at the Southern California Timing Association event, somewhat short of the overall 176.434 mph mark set by Riches / Nelson e-race bike. While they didn't quite beat that record, they did dish out a little payback in the direction of the MotoCzysz team, which also happened to be out on the great white salty expanse.

That epitome of electric motorcycle engineering elegance that is the E1pc had outlasted Lightning's great yellow beast in their only previous meeting on the asphalt of Laguna Seca for the FIM e-Power International Championship. Now it was time for the underdog – with its decade-old EV1 motor – to bite back.

And bite it did. While MotoCzysz was busy barking about in the low 160's, Richard Hatfield's creation just got faster and faster. After a little overnight dyno work and a fresh battery pack, it was off the chain, hitting 176.044 mph. Averaged against the return run, the Lightning Motors team is now the proud possessor of the American Motorcycle Association's (AMA) and the affiliated Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme's (FIM) electric motorcycle land speed record at 173.388 mph. Congratulations. Who's next?

[Source: Asphalt and Rubber]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The bike has carried branding from A123 so the power desity of the battery shouldn't be a problem and I believe the inverter is a repackaged industrial inverter so the entire powertrain is stout.

      Don't forget aero drag increases at the square of speed and the EV1 starts with the lowest Cd of any production car of 0.188 and the record setting car lowered that to an estimated 0.153 with various aero mods. They also upped the motors power with extra batteries in the passenger seat to increase bus voltage.

      • 5 Years Ago
      So they got an old EV1 motor powered motorcycle to go 173? Is that all they could get out of that motor? The Examiner brings up a good point that:

      "The EV1 history includes an electric vehicle land speed record of 183 miles/hr set with a modified version of the Impact (the EV1 prototype), using this same motor. "


      You would think they would be able to at least beat the pants off the old Impact car. The motor certainly has the go-power in it.

      With that said, 173 is quite impressive. I can't wait until I can buy one for a similar price as a gasser that can do 173+ stock
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nixon - As the author of that article, thank you for having read it and linking to it. Richard is in a process of incrementally increasing the settings in the controller and seeing how fast they can get the bike to go. They didn't have enough time on this trip to Bonneville to go faster, they may make further trips.

        Domenick - It's flat out wrong to say, as you wrote in your article, that they had a "fresh battery pack". They did not exchange the pack for a new one. They did wire up an addon pack that would give 10% more voltage, but they were UNABLE to make a speed run with that addon pack. In my article I quote Richard saying that 180 miles/hr is attainable, and that statement came immediately after he explained they'd been unable to have a run with the added voltage.

        Timo - The R&D effort here is to develop a full drive train - battery - controller - motor - that is harmonious with one another and has high enough energy density to be competitive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't think it's motor problem, I believe it is power electronics and battery problem to get high speed. I would believe it is difficult task to get good enough electronics and battery in that small space to get bike really going. With future better batteries that will get a bit easier (more space). You need both high power density and high energy density batteries for lightweight races.
      • 5 Years Ago

      ROTFLMAO! Love your post. Of course, it is true that an FCV can have the best of both worlds - wicked performanc and rapid refill.

      Competition is rapidly advancing EV propulsion systems. Soon, they will be fitted with better, lighter and cheaper fuel cells to create the ultimate clean machine.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Of course, it is true that an FCV can have the best of both worlds - wicked performanc and rapid refill."

        lol, not in a motorcycle-sized package you don't.

        They already run into problems making a FC drivetrain with decent range and performance fit into anything smaller than a large sedan or SUV.

        There is another reason why this is a terrible idea though.
        A FC car doesn't pose much more of a hazard than, say, a CNG car, which obviously blow up infrequently enough for us to be comfortable with having them on the road.

        Motorcycles, however, have no crumple zones and negligible impact resistance at speed, often resulting in partial to complete disintegration in an accident, optionally with a subsequent bonfire.

        Any conceivable high-performance HFC motorcycle will contain a rather large pressurized hydrogen tank. I think you can see what my concern is here. Crashing on a motorcycle is bad enough without riding what is essentially an impact-triggered fragmentation grenade.

        I think I'll pass.
        • 5 Years Ago
        AFAIK problem with HFCV is not the size of the FC but the size of the hydrogen tank. High gravimetric energy density but low volumetric density. That means that you need to have huge tank to get anywhere. Batteries are already better in that department, and they are getting better all of time.

        If you get a HFCV with liquid fuel (other than fossils or biofossils) then you might have competition with BEV, otherwise it is already lost battle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is no problems with a fuelcell motorcycle, car, trucks, airplanes, train, tractor-trailer truck, race car, zeppelin, ships,etc. If you don't have place for a huge costly dangeurous, 1 or 2 millions dollars tank as per chris m then just install a cheap efficient compact 50$ water electrolizer.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Quantum already possesses the tech for very small 10 kpsi hydrogen tanks. Moreover, the fuel cell needed to power a two wheeler would be significantly smaller than one needed to power an SUV.

      FCV motorcycle prototypes already exist, so it's far from impossible.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you have any data of 10kpsi small hydrogen tank volumetric energy density? I would believe that it would be smaller with smaller tanks than larger ones, however I didn't find any real data about this. Also power output of small FC is something that was left to mystery.

        I found only that hydrogen volumetric energy density + conversion to electricity by FC adds up as roughly 500Wh/L and that doesn't yet count the actual FC system size or battery that it does require or any other ancillary systems it requires.

        BEV is pretty straightforward compared to HFC vehicle. Way less parts. Just batteries (with cooling), PEM (which HFC needs too) and engine (same).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would love to see what the bike that Shawn Lawless/OCC put together take a shot at this. If they can do 165mph in a quarter mile, then they could probably play with the gearing a tiny bit and take this challenge up a couple of notches as well. That Lightning Motors is one bad ass flying banana though! :-)

      We could have some really interesting EV bike races soon between the Isle of Man and the NEHRA and now the AMA/FIM guys. I really think that racing will push the envelope on a lot of electric technologies more quickly.

        • 5 Years Ago

        I suspect it will the the rapid technical advances in electric bike races that end up being the cornerstone of a truly successful electric car. The advances in electric cars seem so slow in comparison.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeah, racing really forces rapid development in certain areas. I think it will have a big effect for EVs in areas of better integration of electronic components to help save weight and complexity. The controllers and inverters, etc are areas where there can be some big, early gains and racing is a good place to push the envelope for them.

        I'm hoping it will also drive some tech in batteries and supercaps but I haven't really seen the battery companies taking advantage of the advanced proving grounds you can get from racing yet. A123 is clearly doing some work here, but I haven't noticed anyone else jumping in.

        • 5 Years Ago
        The highest energy densities so far have been in lithium cobalt batteries, which as it tends to be susceptible to catching fire, although of course you can try to engineer around that, you really do not want to use in a car.
        At the 2009 TT on the Isle of Man it was a lithium cobalt battery on a homebuilt type rig that won.
        I don't think the big boys wanted to get involved in that.
        They are now moving to Nickel manganese cobalt batteries with much better energy densities than the manganese spinel used in the Leaf, for example, or the iron phosphate others use.
        So they may get involved in racing at this stage, hopefully.
      • 5 Years Ago
      WHAT... you mean that with a fuelcell electric bike i might go as fast or maybe more as 173 mph without long refueling time and a big big range and no gasoline costs and without pollution and with some subsidies and tax-breaks and an access to the hov lane.???
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