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An afternoon with KillaCycle Racing, pt. 2

Part 2 of Aaron Turpen's trip to visit Bill Dube and Eva Hakansson of KillaCycle Racing at their HQ in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. In an afternoon of touring the shop and talking with Bill and Eva, Aaron got to know how busy and exciting even the off-racing season can be for the KillaCycle crew.
article and photos by Aaron Turpen

Part 1

More Than Just the Dragster

The KillaCycle is an impressive beast and the accomplishment and continued success of the dragster should be enough for anyone. Not so for the KillaCycle Crew Chief and Owner, as this husband-and-wife team keep themselves more than busy with plenty of EV and related projects.

They have two other motorcycles they're working with, an electric car, and side projects surrounding the KillaCycle and new A123 Systems battery technologies as well as involvement in a new company building electric heavy trucks.

Things are never quiet at the KillaCycle Wheat Ridge, Colorado headquarters.

Eva and the Electrocat

Meeting Eva and the Birth of the KillaJoule

KillaCycle Crew Chief Eva Hakansson began her electric vehicle career in Sweden, where she worked with her father on various EV projects. Her first project as chief designer and engineer was the conversion of a 1990 Cagiva Freccia C12R to all-electric. Since then, she has joined the KillaCycle Team and moved to Colorado, USA.

She is a graduate student at the University of Denver and besides the 60mph (soon to be 100) top speed of the Electrocat and her up-coming climb up Pike's Peak in June, she is also leading the team into another electric motorcycle racing adventure: the KillaJoule.

In only four days, the conceptual idea for the KillaJoule turned into a complete frame. They bought a junker bike and pillaged it for parts for the wheel and braking assemblies. Upon their announcement of it, FutureCars covered the news here

Eva and the KillaJoule

Eva plans to have the streamliner complete in time to go to the Bonneville Salt Flats in September. Ultimately, the goal is to beat the current 368mph speed record in spades: aiming for 400mph. That record is the fastest any motorcycle, of any type, has ever gone.

Bill and the Electric Volkswagen

After I'd arrived at KillaCycle HQ, I'd spent a couple of hours with Eva touring the place and repeatedly being amazed at the awesome stuff that is going on there. Bill arrived home in his electric car ñ converted, of course, by himself.

The car is a Volkswagen Golf convertible from which he extracted the engine and added batteries and a motor. The DC motor runs through the transmission, giving him a top speed of at least 100mph (that's all he'll admit to) and a range of around 50 miles per charge. Lithium batteries under the hood and Bills VW EVreplacing the fuel tank provide that range.

Bill then unveiled more technology that is coming down the pike and hinted at a patent he's recently submitted for it.

New Battery Technology

This new technology could be the next huge step in battery electrics. Most people familiar with newer battery technology know what flat lithium cells are. These are often stacked to make battery packs, but require complex sandwiching to account for the growth and flex they undergo during heat exchange and use.

A123 Systems has new thin lithium cells that are about the size of a large paperback in width and height and that are about as thick as a piece of cardboard (around 1/4"). They put out 40Wh, which is amazing for such a tiny package.

Bill has come up with a solution to the sandwiching problem using simpler materials and more precise tuning of the shape to reduce both the weight and size of the required sandwiching while producing better results for power stability.

New A123 Flat Lithium

Before I saw this, I thought that electric vehicles would probably not get past the relatively short-range stage. Now I'm not so sure.

Thanks to the KillaCycle Team

FutureCars would like to thank Bill and Eva for their hospitality and the wealth of information they were willing to give. I was very tired, after having attended the Denver Auto Show and having been up most of the night with a baby, so I probably made a fool of myself more than once. I know I said ìkilowatts" when I meant ìwatts" several times, but Eva was very gracious and Bill was funny and both were very enlightening. I hope to visit them again soon.

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