The Swigz.com Pro Racing Electric Superbike piloted by driver Chip Yates hit 190.6 mph in a one-mile, standing-start run at the professionally organized Mojave Mile Shootout event in the California desert. The previous top speeds by electric motorcycles at various events are in the 170mph range.
The bike was chiefly designed for road racing, so the race team had to make a number of changes to ready it for the land-speed style event. Catalyst Racing Composites developed a custom set of full fairings that provide a significant improvement in aerodynamic drag at high speeds and increase stability. Electric motor/controller supplier UQM Technologies also came in to provide additional consultation and software adjustments to accommodate the top speed attempt.
Crushmaster Grinding/Evolution Industries built 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 to add additional voltage and combat voltage sag at current draws above 500 A. Team members also devised a mobile battery heating system 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.
The bike also spent time on a dyno and hit 227 mph during tests there.
Yates thinks the bike can do more. “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,” he explained. “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!”