Chip Yates Sets Land Speed Record: The Fastest Electric Motorcycle in the World [Video]

chip_yates_time_slipChip Yates and his Swigz Racing electric motorcycle have already made history, but with their ambitious drive and unparallelled technology, they’ll be making history for a longtime to come. Yates just set an unofficial land speed record at the Mojave Mile, reaching a speed of 190.6mph. Yep, Chip Yates rides the fastest electric motorcycle in the world.

Yates said that a few mechanical problems and strong cross winds prevented him from hitting 200 mph. Yates and his team were only able to do two runs due to some blown chargers.

“I only got 2 runs cause we blew up $5000 in chargers with the generator we rented,” Yates said on Twitter. “We tested prior, but got diff model w/big volt spikes.”

Yates may have not made his 200 mph goal, but riding the fastest electric motorcycle in the world isn’t too shabby either. Here’s a video of Yates’ historic run.

The previous record holder for the fastest electric motorcycle was held by Lightning Motorcycles, which achieved 173 mph at Bonneville about 6 months ago. Lightning Motorcycles would go on to win the TTXGP, a series that Yates was not allowed to compete in because of the size of his motorcycle.

But Yates has found other ways to race his motorcycle. He became the first electric motorcycle to podium in a petrol bike race last year, and will be competing in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb this June.

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Zero Motorcycles Goes South of the Border

Zero Motorcycles' Product Line-upZero Motorcycles can now say that they serve the entire North American market – or at least the three largest nations in terms of rider numbers and economy – with the addition of Mexico to their growing list of nations where Zero models can be purchased. Dofesa Aventura was selected to handle all sales and distributions of Zero products for the entire nation.

From the press release announcing the move, John Lloyd, VP of Worldwide Sales for Zero Motorcycles, stated: “Zero Motorcycles has experienced exceptional growth throughout Europe, and now we are pleased to be expanding our sales and distribution channels in North America with our neighbors in Mexico to continue the enhancement of Zero’s international reach.

Zero Motorcycles Zero DS Off-road“It has become increasingly important in this market to deliver an unparalleled experience for those who are interested in affordable, high-performance, two-wheeled transportation and,with Dofesa Aventura, we are perfectly poised to support this development and demand.”

Zero’s significant presence throughout Europe came about rather quickly once they entered the market in 2008; much of that was due to the demand for the electric motorcycles they manufacture exceeding even their own projections.

It was that success which drove the company to take the next step in North America in order to expand their footprint further.

Canada already has a large distribution network in place through importer and distributor National Motorsports of Montreal and is handled regionally by Ames Motorsports in Edmonton, Motosport Newman in Montreal and All Season Motorsports of Calgary. Consumers in Canada get added benefit by purchasing a Zero due to that nation’s government encouraging the move by offering numerous incentives.

At present, only the Zero S and DS will be available inside Mexico, and both models are already in country and demo rides may be arranged on both machines right now. Zero’s other models will be available for the demo program very soon, with models for purchase shipping in right behind them.

The New Zero Motorcycles Zero XUAlthough this news may appear to be insignificant in the grand scheme within the motorcycle industry, for electric motorcycles it is a big step. Not only can Mexican riders now easily buy themselves one of the fabulously fun and useful Zero electric motorcycle models, it also means that there is a more expansive serviceable area for owners of Zero bikes. North America, Europe, and Asia are now covered by Zero’s reach, which makes them the current global leader.

Electric motorcycles are here to stay, there is no longer any doubt about that, but the path to wide adoption may be the most interesting part to watch. Congratulations Zero, I can’t wait to ride one again!

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Chip Yates to Bring Electric Motorcycle to Pikes Peak

chip_yates_swigz_racingGet ready for history to be made. Chip Yates and the Swigz Racing Team will be heading to Pikes Peak this year, where they will be competing with an electric motorcycle. But don’t think that they are going to be satisfied with just competing. Yates has proved that his motorcycle can not only compete with petrol bikes, but it can keep pace and win.

Yates made history earlier this year when he competed at the Auto Club Speedway against petrol bikes in a WERA race. Yates showed that his bike was more than capable to keep up with the gas machines, as he scored two podiums over the weekend.

But a new day brings a new challenge, and Yates and his team will now be heading to Pikes Peak.

“The SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Team is ecstatic to have been invited by Pikes Peak International Hill Climb officials to compete in this epic event,” said Yates. “The course is almost completely paved, but I will be challenged by several miles of dirt in the middle of the climb and I’ll be calling on my previous SCCA Pro Rally driving experience to get safely through the lower grip sections. Our engineers are busy developing new traction control software and mapping that will automatically adapt based on my position on the mountain.”

Yates and his team will participate at an official two-day closed test at Pike’s Peak on June 4th and 5th before the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26th.

“We are thrilled to have Chip on the Hill this year with his amazing bike,” said Hill Climb motorcycle referee Sonny Anderson. “Our Exhibition PowerSport Division is designed for new technology, and what he brings is exactly that. Our fans are in for something special.”

Yates will maneuver his motorcycle up a 12.42 mile, 156 turn mountain course, The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is designed for powerful trucks, cars, and dirt capable motorcycles. But Yates feels pretty good about his chances.

“Two key benefits of our electric power train will really help me climb from 9,390 feet all the way up to the 14,110 foot summit,” Yates said. “First, our superbike makes 240 horsepower at sea level and 240 horsepower at 14,110 feet. We do not suffer any power loss due to elevation, while gasoline-powered vehicles will lose around 30% of their power at the top.

“Secondly, our 365 ft/lbs of torque is available from 0 rpm as soon as I open the throttle – with few straight sections, we don’t have to wait for revs to build up in order to blast off the course’s 156 turns and tight corners.”

What Yates has accomplished aboard his electric motorcycle has already put most of the motorcycle world in awe. His attempt to climb Pikes Peak is ambitious, but well within the wheelhouse of Yates and the Swigz Racing team.

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An Electric Motorcycle From BMW? Meet the BMW e100r Concept

BMW Electric Motorcycle ConceptBMW makes some of the most sophisticated motorcycles on the market, but they haven’t ventured into the electric market just yet. In fact, electric motorcycles haven’t found permanent homes at any of the major motorcycle manufacturers. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t dream.

Miika Mahonen, a student at the Academy of Art University, has created a fantastic concept for a BMW electric motorcycle, called the BMW e100r.

“I chose BMW because it has been one of the big influential motorcycle brands,” said Mahonen. “It has offered hi-end designs for years. It’s designs have been different, maybe even a head of its time.”

BMW_Electric_Motorcycle_ConceptThe BMW e100r would feature a 100 horse power electric motorcycle, with the lithium-ion batteries hidden inside the ultra-light alloy frame. The LED lights in the front and back, adjustable Ohlins shocks, and forged alloy wheels would make the BMW e100r a lightweight and efficient motorcycle.

“I looked at the existing concepts, for example, Mission Motors,” said Mahonen. “But I wanted to create something unique, something that has not been done before. Push the design limits and create impact, ideas and conversations about electric technologies and design opportunities.”

BMW tried their hand at electric bikes nearly a decade ago with the BMW CE-1. They even brought the semi-enclosed scooter back a few years ago. But it’s time for BMW, Harley, or any of the other major manufacturers to give some more attention to electric motorcycles.

“If electric vehicles (as it seems) are going to be the other alternative, I definitely believe that the big motorcycle manufacturers will create their own models,” said Manohen. “I suppose this happens when there is enough demand for it.

BMW_Electric_Motorcycle“With electric technology, there are more design opportunities than with conventional bikes with combustion engines,” Manohen added. “The design is not so limited to the placement of the engine, gasoline tank, and exhaust. Hopefully when the battery technologies develop, the motorcycles weight can be made extremely light. This can open new possibilities to develop even better handling.”

Electric motorcycles are becoming more common, but we’ll have to wait for an electric motorcycle from BMW. For the time being, however, we can admire the possibilities that the BMW e100r represents.

You can see more images of the BMW e100r here.

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Police in California to Ride Electric

Zero Motorcycles' DS in Scotts Valley PD Livery
Zero Motorcycles' DS in Scotts Valley PD Livery
Scotts Valley, a small municipality north of Santa Cruz in California, has become the first city in The Golden State to employ the Zero DS electric motorcycle for use with its police department. The new addition will serve as a resource for local patrols and traffic enforcement. Zero has the perfect vehicle for such duties and the Scotts Valley PD will be proving just that in the coming months.

Zero Motorcycles' DS Electric Motorcycle
Zero Motorcycles' DS Electric Motorcycle
Zero Motorcycles enjoys a rather close relationship with the city of Scotts Valley, and that helped with this arrangement. This new machine will be used by the police to respond to motor vehicle accidents, patrol urban areas, and will be a primary source of transport when police are called to the area’s many bicycle and hiking paths.

As part of an evaluation process, the DS will be put through its pacesby some of the finest motor officers on the force. If things go as well as expected, the department could find itself owning many more Zero bikes in the near future.

As we all know well, the Zero DS electric has a 50 mile range and is perfectly capable of highway speeds. It also has that wonderful electric power delivery – instant torque and brilliant acceleration. With a lightweight frame, top-notch suspension, and that quick throttle reaction, the DS provides a comfortable and highly-maneuverable mount for the rider.

The SCARAB - Another Electric Option for Police
The SCARAB - Another Electric Option for Police
As for durability, Zero updated their entire model line with its new state-of-the-art Z-Force Air Induction System which pushes fresh, cooling air over the electric motor so that power remains constant and the motor can take almost any abuse. And, with the DS model, the Scotts Valley officers can go anywhere, be it paved or not, to administer help or the law as required – and they can do it quietly!

The hope for Zero is that other law enforcement offices throughout the US and other nations will see the unique benefits that using an electric motorcycle provides. The lack of noise alone gives any electric bike an advantage over its petrol-powered counterparts; perps won’t hear the police coming.

Zero Motorcycles will work very closely with any public service department interested in adopting their machines, and of course it won’t hurt their already stellar reputation for quality and performance. Having your product meet the criteria of a very harsh fleet environment is an ideal proof for what you produce, and all of Zero’s customers will benefit. Guess that those who take them illegally will have a problem, though…at least in Scotts Valley.

For more information on Zero Motorcycles, step this way –

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