Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This Electric Motorcycle is No Wimpmobile

"Mission Accomplished: Electric Motorcycle Hits 150 mph"
Autotopia, Wired (September 15, 2009)

"Mission Motors has always said its electric superbike would do 150 mph and it appears to have fulfilled that promise with a record-setting run at the Bonneville salt flats.

"Company product manager and test rider Jeremy Cleland set an unofficial record for electric motorcycles when he averaged 150.059 mph during back-to-back runs of one mile each at Bonneville Speedway west of Salt Lake City. The runs, which followed an earlier dash at a claimed 161 mph, came during the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials sponsored by the American Motorcyclist Association. The AMA hasn't ratified Cleland's speed yet, but Mission says it's legit...."

Electric cars - and motorcycles - have been talked about for decades. And, we've had production models for over a hundred years.

I remember the sixties, when they were touted as enviro-friendly, Earth-safe, socially conscious, relevant vehicles that everybody should use.

Just one problem.

Until recently, most were - to be polite about it - wimpy. Acceleration zero-to-sixty couldn't be measured, since they couldn't go that fast. By and large. In 1899, the "La Jamais Contente" set a world record for land speed - 68 mph - but that's another story. And, a highly specialized vehicle.

Stock electric cars were more along the lines of the 1902 Wood's Phaeton. It could hit a top speed of 14 miles an hour, and go 18 miles without a recharge. And, it cost only $2,000 - in 1902. That's upwards of $50,000 in 2008 dollars. Woods came out with a hybrid electric/internal combustion engine car in 1916.

Actually, electric cars had advantages over gasoline-powered ones. In 1900.

But then, around 1920, America built better roads between cities, and people wanted cars that could go more than, say, 18 miles before needing a recharge. And, oil was discovered in Texas, Henry Ford built his factory, and time rolled on. (More in "The History of Electric Vehicles / The Early Years - Electric Cars (1890 - 1930) ")

(from Autotopia, Wired, used w/o permission)

That was then. I've been following the development of electric vehicles - Elton Baum's 'green golf cart' isn't entirely fictional. I think it's just a matter of time before energy-storage technologies and a breathless demand for clean(er) air in cities will lead to mass-produced electric cars that a good athlete can't outrun.

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