Lightning Motorcycles is no stranger to setting land speed records. It laid down a 173.388 mile-per-hour marker for electric motorcycles in 2010 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, and then upped the ante significantly in 2011 with a 215.960 mph performance on that same crystalline stage.

For 2012, however, it's switched venues and brought its superbike to the 1.3-mile course that runs downs the El Mirage dry lake bed. Now, that's a lot less real estate than the five-mile stretch available at Bonneville, but the team still managed to achieve something special.

In an effort sponsored by solar technology company SMA, and with LSR veteran Jim Hoogerhyde gripping the handlebars (tightly, we imagine), Lightning flashed down the dusty trail at 189.086 mph. That speed gives the company the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) record for production motorcycles – electric or gas-powered – for that venue.

There two significant things about this achievement. First, the energy for the three runs was supplied courtesy of the sun. Its rays fed a 48-kWh battery pack attached to a mobile solar array, which in turn, fueled the bike's on-board batteries. This is no coal-powered motorcycle.

Second, though wearing a streamlined fairing, the bike is essentially the same machine that the first handful of customers will begin receiving within the next 60 days or so. Yes, Lightning Motorcycles is turning that hard corner from race team and technology developer to actual manufacturer. And that is no small feat.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Hour Ago
      Yup, looks like a 100kW solar panel array on the back of that thing to me. Can't wait to get my hands on one of those 1000000% efficient solar panels. Or maybe they're just regular panels and it took a few months in the summer to charge it ;)
      pinsimms99
      • 1 Hour Ago
      Sorry for the stupid question, but did they achieve this 189mph record with just a charged up bike or the bike with the trailor attached?
        Domenick
        • 1 Hour Ago
        @pinsimms99
        The trailer was only used to charge the bike and was not attached to it.
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Hour Ago
      I certainly expected the ridcule to be much more pronounced than the few somewhat snarky comments made here. Maybe this green tech stuff is finally wearing down the perveyors of oil, or at least their hired shills. It's must be like working for Darth Vader, or Hitler or something. You must certainly know you work for evil. This combination, electric vehicle combined with solar electric production is the most reviled of green technology, because it is the combination that cuts the tether to both the grid and oil. No coal and no oil. That must really be scary to the markets.
      Echelon Bob
      • 1 Hour Ago
      189 MPH is nice, but now... how fast can he go with that "mobile solar array" attached?! ;)
      The Man
      • 1 Hour Ago
      What is the price and what kind of mileage can it get? Can it tow my fishing boat?