Chip Yates has just raised the top-speed bar for electric motorcycles. Given just 5,280 feet to work with, the racer/inventor let out the reins on his Swigz Pro Racing bike's 241 horses and stayed hard on the throttle until it hit 190.6 miles per hour at the Mohave Mile. Unfortunately, the buffeting of side winds and charging equipment failures kept Chip from attaining his 200-mph target, but the effort was still impressive.
While perhaps not an official land speed record – those generally involve averaging a pair of passes from opposite directions – the result should send serve as a benchmark for those thinking of setting records at the Bonneville Salt Flats events this year. Who knows, perhaps Yates will get salt fever himself if this record-setting business becomes addictive.
The team made a few changes to the bike in anticipation of the Mohave run including a booster battery. The six-cell pack that uses lithium polymer chemistry was added to combat voltage sag that occurs when they attempt to draw over 500 amps through the system. They also made a custom battery-warming system that allows them to bring the three packs to an optimal temperature before events. Hit the jump for on-board footage from the run as well as the official press release.
Related GallerySwigz Pro Racing at Mohave Mile Shootout
[Source: Swigz Pro Racing]
SWIGZ Electric Motorcycle Achieves Top Speed of 190.6 MPH And Becomes The Fastest in the World
Mojave, California, April 10-----Already considered the most powerful and sophisticated electric superbike on the planet, the SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Electric Superbike has convincingly added "world's fastest" to its ever-growing list of achievements with an incredible standing start, one-mile run of 190.6 MPH at the professionally organized Mojave Mile Shootout event in the California desert (www.mojavemile.com). The previous top speeds achieved by electric motorcycles at various events are in the 170mph range.
Although busy adapting the superbike's electric powertrain technology for the recently announced Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (www.ppihc.com) set for June 26th, rider and team owner Chip Yates directed his team to make a 2-week "detour" in order to have a go at determining the one-mile top speed of the 240 horsepower electric superbike.
"I called the Mojave Mile Shootout organizers from MKM Racing Promotions and they welcomed us to their event as the first electric motorcycle to ever take part. At that point, the pressure was on for us to do our best and to make a good impression on behalf of all electric vehicles," says Yates.
During the preceding two-weeks, the SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing team made a number of changes to enhance the top speed of the superbike, which was designed for closed circuit roadracing, not land-speed style events.
Catalyst Racing Composites developed a custom set of full fairings that provide a significant improvement in aerodynamic drag at high speeds and increase stability.
UQM Technologies, who make the electric motor and controller in the superbike, were brought in for additional consultation and software adjustments to accommodate the top speed attempt.
Crushmaster Grinding / Evolution Industries was contracted to build a new set of higher strength drive sprockets and a custom-ground jackshaft capable of handling 365 ft/lbs of torque while spinning up to 8,500 RPM at the bikes geared top speed of 229mph.
A supplemental booster battery pack of six lithium-ion polymer cells was designed and built in-house in order to add additional voltage to ensure maximum power availability by combating voltage sag at current draws above 500 amps.
A mobile battery heating system was developed and built in-house to ensure all three battery packs on the bike are precisely heated to the optimum temperature to maximize performance and minimize system impedance. The 108 lithium-ion cells are removed from the bike and warmed overnight in team hotel rooms prior to events such as this.
Comprehensive dyno testing was carried out by the team to ensure harmony between all the new settings and components in the days leading up to the running of the Mojave Mile Shootout, and a dyno speed of 227mph was achieved to ensure the high speed safety of all components.
Yet despite the two-week preparation, Yates is unsatisfied with today's 190.6 MPH result. "All our models of the bike's performance as well as the data collected from today's runs put our top speed on a one-mile course at over 200 MPH, but unfortunately I was unable to go full throttle for the whole one-mile run due to a high speed buffeting that caused some weaving of the bike similar to what slowed us a bit at Auto Club Speedway in January and February," explained Yates. "We made some aerodynamic changes to improve the buffeting but then suffered failures of both our main charger, and our backup battery charger due to high voltage spikes coming from a rented generator we were using in our pits. With no way to recharge our batteries, I was only able to make two runs. I'm disappointed about not reaching 200 MPH today, but I know we can do it next time out and for now I have to be happy with establishing our superbike as the fastest electric motorcycle in the world!"
And as for proving that electric vehicles don't have to be slow and boring, "This run should go a long way towards our goal of demonstrating that electric vehicles can lay down extreme performance and compete directly against gasoline powered vehicles if properly designed and executed. But remember that ours is a roadracing superbike and not a land-speed bike, so rest assured we are now right back at work continuing our development and preparation for Pikes Peak, which will be an absolutely epic event!" concluded Yates.
About Chip Yates: Chip Yates is a professional motorcycle road racer, team owner, and extreme electric vehicle designer. Since January 2010, Chip has led the all-American team of Ben Ingram, Robert Ussery and Jimmy Summers to create, build, and race the most powerful and sophisticated electric superbike in the world. Chip holds a Masters Degree in Business from the University of Southern California. (www.chipyates.com)
About the Mojave Mile: The Mojave Mile Shootout is a motorsports "speed trial" competition based on achieving the highest possible trap speed in one mile from a standing start. Entry is open to 2-wheeled motorcycles and 4-wheeled vehicles. Entry is also open to many vehicles, drivers and riders meeting SCTA standards for Land Speed racing.
In conjunction with the Mojave Air and Space Port, a private airfield in Mojave, CA, the Mojave Mile Shootout features a 12,000' runway, which allows a comfortable braking margin for the fastest machines, the latest in accurate laser timing equipment, a top-notch staff of experienced professionals and safety response teams, and a huge Paddock area with P.A. system, catered food, and overnight set-up capability.
The next running of the Mojave Mile is October 8-9, 2011 (Saturday-Sunday) Contact: Michael Borders, General Manager, email: Mike@mojavemile.com (www.mojavemile.com)