Electric motorcycle conversions are popping up almost everywhere you look. This one began life as a Yamaha R1, ridden hard on the track and ready for retirement. Richard Hatfield and Todd Kollin had other ideas for the tired track day ride and pulled out all of the usual drive components like the engine, transmission, clutch, exhaust and radiator and in their place are 28 90 amp-hour, 3.2 volt, 6.6 pound Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. What's interesting is all of the batteries together weigh less than what was removed and they are rated for 3000 charges.
... these LiFePO4, or LiFe, batteries, as they're called, have only recently become affordable for the average Joe. They're still four times as expensive as lead acid, but they weigh half as much, last 10 times as long and let a bike travel three times as far on a single charge.
The conversion cost $15,000 but they don't say whether that includes the price of the used bike. The drive system is a single speed with potential horsepower at 70, maximum torque is 80 foot pounds, top speed of 100 mph with a range of 80 miles at 65 mph. Weight is 400 pounds. Recharge time is 7 hours with the built in plug in charger.
Hatfield and Kollin have a bike shop called Lightning Motors which produced this conversion. Kollin also runs Electric Motorsport which has been building small electric powered motorcycles while Hatfield imports solar panels. The bike was tested by Susan Carpenter of the LA Times but she had to be careful since the bike was just built and the batteries were not securely mounted. They have a video on their site which shows the bike in action and it doesn't look bad.
Real electric motorcycle options are getting closer and closer. The speed at which these conversions are coming and the performance they have means one of the mainstream manufacturers will be considering these before too long. Who will it be?
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