Battery powered motorcyle set to make new record

As the head of Lightning Motorcycles in Silicon Valley, Hatfield has had a long career bringing to fruition his belief that electric powered vehicles are superior to gasoline powered. In 2006  his company, Lightning Motorcycles, had built and tested an electric sport bike. Three years later, Lightning was breaking the land-speed record for an electric powered bike, and in 2013, they won the grueling and dangerous Pikes Peak race. Now, the company has a new goal, creating an all-electric motorcycle that can do the 500-mile ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles on a single charge.

Hatfield will be collaborating with the Battery Innovation Center in Indiana, who will provide the cutting-edge technology required to turn achieve the long distance ride. The goal is going to be a tough one, when taking into consideration the longest electric vehicle range among commercially available motorcycles and cars is only 315 miles, a record that currently belongs to Tesla. Hatfield, however, thinks it is achievable, despite no gasoline bike currently being able to travel more than 320 miles on a single tank.

“We see ourselves as following in the footsteps of Tesla, and accomplishing the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles run would show that range anxiety is becoming a thing of the past,” he said.

Hatfield turned to the Battery Innovation Center in Indiana after liaising with its president, David Roberts. The center is a nonprofit that works with industry leaders, universities and government agencies to rapidly develop, test and commercialize batteries and storage systems that are safe, reliable and lightweight. The center, established in 2013, works out of a 36,000 square-foot purpose-built facility in the town of Newberry. Its partners and nonprofit members are varied and include the State of Indiana, the Japanese technology giant NEC and Duke Energy, one of the largest energy providers in the United States.

“We work with companies like Lightning to pair them with cutting edge energy storage makers to make things like the 500-mile ride possible,” Roberts said. “We think that with the technology as it stands, right now, the ride is entirely achievable.”


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