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Killacycle electric motorcycle - Battery-powered burn

The KillaCycle is the fastest electric motorcycle vehicle in the world in the quarter mile. It's an electric dragster owned by Bill Dube of Colorado, ridden by Scotty Pollacheck and sponsored by A123 Systems.
Images from KillaCycle.

by Aaron Turpen

Specs:

  • Type: Motorcycle (dragster)
  • Class: Motorcycle
  • Manufacturer: KillaCycle
  • Propulsion system: Electric
  • Top Speed: 174.05mph*
  • Vehicle range: 14 runs / charge*
  • Fuel(s): Electric
  • Battery system: A123 Systems proprietary li-ion

*Recorded top speed and record. Range includes burnouts–each run is ¼ mile.

The manufacturer says

The Tesla Roadster Sport does 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. That's a snail's pace compared to the KillaCycle, which does it in 0.97 seconds. No, that's not a typo. Less than one second to get to sixty miles per hour. Blink and you'll be left behind.

Overview

The KillaCycle is the current record-holder in the 0-60mph, the quarter mile, and more. It accelerates at 2.89 gravities (Gs) and has measured horsepower as high as 503! It uses the latest in A123 Systems nano-phosphate™ cells with the entire battery pack putting out 374V from its 200 pounds. A new set of cells just arrived at KillaCycle HQ in Colorado and will be fitted to the bike soon, lowering its weight and likely raising both the horsepower and the voltage.

The team's ultimate goal is to set the motorcycle drag racing record in the quarter mile. Not just for electrics (which they've already done, multiple times), but for all types of motorcycle. They want to break the 200mph barrier in 2010; and these new batteries might be the key.

KillaCycle in action

The new cells from A123 Systems are lighter and put out more power. They're so new, the KillaCycle team can't give out any other information other than to say they will drop 150 pounds from the weight of the bike and put it up to about 560hp. That would put the bike's weight at just about 500 pounds, so there will be more horsepower than bike!

Currently, the only limitation on the bike's performance is the motors, which require cooling after every other drag run. The team force-cools them in the pit. The batteries need little care other than charging, however, and gain only a few centigrades when being used. In fact, Dube remarked that the batteries don't seem to show any loss of output when being depleted either, so topped-off batteries don't seem to be the key to maximum output. That's left to the controller, a Cafe Electric Zilla2k-HV.

The team has no plans for the 2010 season yet, but members of the team are pursuing related interests. Eva Hakansson, the Crew Chief, has her own electric motorcycle conversion that's street legal in both Colorado and Sweden. She plans to ride that up Pike's Peak this summer. She is also building the team's next adventure: an electric streamliner to race at Bonneville in Utah. They hope to reach the 300mph barrier with that one.

What we like

What's not to like? It's got speed, it looks cool, it makes much cooler noises than its ICE counterparts, and it's really, really, really, really fast. Like, "wear a G suit so you don't pass out" fast.

Technology Showcase The KillaCycle is a showcase of what can be done with today's electric tech. Especially in the A123 Systems batteries that sponsor the dragster.

Faaaast Did I mention it's extremely fast?

What we don't

Scotty rides it Instead of me. Of course, he's a professional and I don't even have a motorcycle endorsement, but still, I should be riding it.

Lack of competition The lack of competition in the current National Electric Drag Racing Association is kind of disheartening. It's sure that this will change with time, given how fast the current NEDRA lineup of racers is growing.

Conclusions

The KillaCycle is one cool machine and will definitely go down in history for its innovation and record-setting. In talking to the KillaCycle Team, it became very apparent that these are some busy, dedicated people with a passion for many things. Bill Dube is a scientist, Eva Hakansson is an Engineering student, and Scotty Pollacheck races more than one bike. Great people and an awesome motorcycle.

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