Lightning Motors Electric Motorcycle Runs 166 mph at Bonneville

Lightning Motors electric motorcycle at Bonneville

Lightning Motors electric motorcycle at Bonneville

In the constantly changing world of electric motorcycle speed records and attempts, Lightning Motors ran their pre-production prototype to 166.388 mph at Bonnevillle on October 10th, 2009. Notice, it says "pre-production" so they are aiming to take the record for fastest production electric motorcycle away from Mission Motors and the absolute electric record as well, according to Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motors. This appears to be a one way run so it's not an official record but it does show what this bike can do. A dustbin fairing they planned to run was considered illegal by the inspectors so they mounted a Ducati 1098R fairing instead. The fairing actually caused some stability issues and the bike ran over 164 mph without it.

Kent Riches currently holds the electric record at 176 mph, Mission Motors is number 2 at 150, though Lightning Motors would take the number 2 spot if they had a 2 way run at 166.

We wrote about Lightning Motors' early efforts a couple of years ago. It looks like they're coming along in the development process and might be joining the ever expanding number of electric motorcycles on the market. They weren't quite ready and were unable to participate in the TTXGP but they're continuing to work on their bike and this Bonneville effort shows it has a lot of promise. Lightning Motors does not have a website yet but Hatfield can be contacted through Alliance Renewable Energy.

Lightning Motors press release:

This week, at the historic SCTA World Finals at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a new player in the rapidly developing electric motorcycle industry emerged. Lightning Motors, running one of its pre-production prototypes was able to achieve a top speed of 166.388 mph. This exercise places the Lightning Motorcycle as the fastest production electric motorcycle in the world. Lightning Motorcycles is the brainchild of Richard Hatfield and a small group of dedicated associates in the Silicon Valley of Northern California. Along side the Lightning Electric Super Bike, Lightning Electric Motorcycle Company has prototypes of a smaller less powerful motorcycle, a motor scooter, an ATV/UTV and other sport and utility vehicles in its pre production development program.

Link: Alliance Renewable Energy

A diary from Bonneville is on the Motorcyclist Magazine blog


  1. Tin Man 2 says

    Good old fashion excitement, Ive heard Bonneville is full of these type of teams. Must get there before I die. No doubt the Electrics make great power/torque, The range is whats in question. Can any battery come near the Energy of a Gallon of Gas? Only time will tell, This is a good time to be alive,and a gear head.

  2. Paul says

    Cool. The gearheads who are still stuck in a nostalgic haze about the golden age of the internal combustion engine seem to be ignorant of the fact that we are approaching a golden age of electric vehicles – a time when new records and new innovations will keep coming at a rapid, exciting pace. It will only be a couple of years before one of the big magazines is running head-to-head shootouts between electric and gas motorcycles. Sounds cool to me.

  3. QrazyQat says

    It’s especially fascinating because it’s like the innovation atmosphere around the start of the car/motorcycle age except that now there’s a large installed base of good, well developed vehicles. Then you overlay this new stuff, major changes, on top of it. So you get a huge leg up; new electric vehicles can just reach into the bin to get great brakes and shocks for instance. I’m astounded by how fast these changes in electric vehicles have come, and by the performance angle, which 15 years ago I just assumed wasn’t going to be there. Now it seems obvious (ie. torque).

  4. Bob Nedoma says

    So, 166 mph for 10 seconds something. So be it.!
    What I need to know is how far I can go after climbing a two mile 8% incline hill in bumper to bumper traffic moving at three miles per hour,….
    as well as: who will recycle these batteries (100%) when they become “reduced capacity”, after some two years or less.

  5. QrazyQat says

    So, 166 mph for 10 seconds something. So be it.!
    What I need to know is how far…

    Yep, that’s exactly what I said to Ernst Jakob Henne in 1936. The nerve of him thinking he’d done something worth noting! “Ernie baby”, I said, “give me something I can use!” He just turned away in shame.

  6. FREEMAN says

    @ Bob Nedoma:

    One of the two main sources of air pollution in urban areas is transportation (ie: your car, motorcycle, truck, etc). How are you offsetting your contribution to pollution? Maybe before you start worrying about electric vehicles, which you probably don’t have, you should worry about what gave the biggest contribution and put the atmosphere in the condition it is in currently. There are many established companies out there recycling batteries. Take your pick of any of them. My, how about this one? That url should be easy enough for you to remember. Who’s recycling your car exhaust?