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The KillaCycle

Preproduction motorcycle from Lightning Motorcycles

BUB Seven Streamliner
Stress testing helps battery development by A123 Systems

The concept of electric vehicles has been steadily embraced by car manufacturers over the last several years. Tesla Motors has delivered over 900 of their Roadster electric sports cars, while Nissan will start selling the LEAF EV next year. GM is betting the future of the company on the Volt.

Although the focus has been on cars, the quick acceleration and efficiency afforded by electric motors has been noticed by motorcycle enthusiasts. The KillaCycle, built by Bill Dube, has been setting records since 1999. It uses batteries made by A123 Systems, which is working with Chrysler on their EV projects.

Lightning Motors is a new player in the niche market. They are claiming a new world record for production electric motorcycles at a top speed of 166.388 MPH (267.78 KM/h). They've been testing their preproduction bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats of the Great Salt Lake Desert in northwestern Utah.

Unfortunately for them, the KillaCycle set a new world record for electric motorcycles late last month. The official speed as recorded by the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) was 169MPH (271.98 KM/h).

The KillaCycle has undergone a program of continuous improvement, and there are plans for more. The racing team is already using the latest nano-phosphate based lithium ion cells from A123 Systems, and is planning a 150 pound weight reduction to take the bike down to around 500 pounds. A 60HP increase to 560HP should help lead to more records.

Electric motorcycles still have a large gap with motorcycles using the internal combustion engine.  The MV Agusta F4-1000R tops out at 187.726 MPH (302.116 KPH), while the BUB Streamliner Seven set a new overall motorcycle land speed record last month at 367.382 MPH (591.24 KM/h). It is powered by a turbocharged 3 liter V4 engine producing 500 HP and 400 lb-ft of torque @ 8500 RPM.





"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007






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