A new record was set at the 2010 Pikes International Hill Climb (PPIHC) in Colorado on June 27, but it didn’t involve the typical gasoline motor. This year, the ElectroCat, piloted by Pikes Peak veteran John Scollon, set a time of 16:55.849 minutes up the notorious 12.42-mile climb, the very first electric motorcycle record time.
The bike, designed by New Zealand native Eva Håkansson, is built on a 1990 Cagiva Freccia C12R (an Italian 125cc two-stroke) with an electric engine that is powered from lithium phosphate batteries. According to her website, everything that belonged to the gasoline engine was ripped out (the engine itself, gear box, fuel tank, exhaust, radiator etc.) and was replaced with an electric motor, a controller and batteries.
Eva, a Graduate student at the University of Denver, who is listed on her blog (evahakansson.se) as a “hardcore ‘EV geek’ with a green heart and passion for power and speed,” has devoted much time and money (over $10K in just parts) into her ElectroCat project. Considering her latest feat, her devotion has not only placed her in the electric-racing history books, but will open up new paths for others dedicated to non-fuel powered machinery.
Eva Hakansson says: “Racing is not an ‘I’ but is a ‘we.’ It took a lot of help from a lot of people to make this happen. Thanks to the kind folks within the PPIHC organization that that really worked hard to make it happen when it became a big ‘soap opera’ of conflicting opinions. (Being the first electric motorcycle to race in the PPIHC was ‘interesting.’) Now that we have broken the electric barrier, next year will go more smoothly for other electric motorcycles that wish to participate, I’m sure.”
But all though a record is set on a bike that gets about 50 miles per charge, she’s still not finished. Her ultimate goal is to have the A123 Systems-powered bike recognized in New Zealand, and be the first street-legal electric motorcycle of its kind.
Besides setting an electric standard at the famed 156-turn Pikes Peak that climbs over 4,721 feet, the New Zealander is now after a new land speed record with another one of her electric creations, the 18-foot streamliner nicknamed “KillaJoule.”
The first goal this September at the Bonneville Salt Flats will be too demolish the 176.434-mph pass set by Kent Riches last August with the Airtech-Lighting Bolt Streamliner. There’s also a much larger goal. Eva and her partner/father Sven, plans to someday beating the existing motorcycle land speed record of 368mph at Bonneville with the electric-powered KillaJoule.
But there’s more. She has upgraded another one of her projects, the KillaCycle, in pursue of setting a new motorcycle drag racing record this Friday, July 16…electric, of course. The KillaCycle produces over 500 hp, and ran a 7.824 at 168 mph in Pomona, November 2007.
With Eva’s creations, and the TTXGP at Isle of Man TT continually gaining popularity, the future of electric motorcycling will be anything but slow.
Eva Hakansson says: “My passion for electric drive comes from its characteristics. Electric racing is like chocolate without calories: it gives me everything I want – power, speed, and torque, without the things I don’t want – pollutions. I know that engine sound isn’t considered a ‘noise,’ but the feeling of power and speed is actually much more intense in complete silence.”