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Electric Motorcycle Powered by Li-Ion Batteries Sets World Speed Record

Burn-out action.

The KillaCycle, the world’s quickest electric motorcycle and the official world record holder in the ¼ mile drag, broke the world record again using a lithium-ion battery pack from A123Systems.

The official record for any electric vehicle worldwide in the ¼ mile is set now at an elapsed time of 8.16 seconds. Further, The KillaCycle holds the top speed record for the ¼ mile, at 156 mph.

An earlier version of the battery pack, with 880 cells, connected together with spot-welded nickel tabs. Click to enlarge.

Powered by 990 A123Systems Nanophosphate cells, the KillaCycle set the new world record for the fourth time in two days at the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) event at the Firebird Speedway in Chandler, AZ on 31 March 31 2007.

The 165 lb (74.8 kg), 375 V, 7.5 kWh battery pack powers the KillaCycle from 0 to 60 mph in less than 1.5 seconds. The A123Systems Nanophosphate cells are next-generation Automotive Class Lithium-Ion batteries designed for power, safety and life.

The KillaCycle is a great example of how our battery technology enables electric drive automotive applications to experience a new level of battery performance. We look forward to working with Bill Dube’ and his team to continue to push the limits in racing and can offer these same improvements to others within the automotive market.

—Jonah Myerberg, senior engineer at A123Systems

Denver CNC designed the custom battery management controls.  A Café Electric Z2K Motor Controller converts the battery energy to motive power. The controller can handle currents up to 2,000 amps and 400 volts.

Hi-Torque Electric provides two modified 6.7 inch Model L-91 Advanced DC Motors that pull a direct chain drive to the rear wheel.

According to the KillaCycle team,

  • The KillaCycle uses about $0.05 worth of electricity for each run down the strip. The bike only uses ~300 W-hr/mile, including the burn-out.

  • Including burn-outs, the KillaCycle could make 6 or more runs on one charge (not at max performance.)

  • The pack recharges in as little as 12 minutes. (Limited by charger. Battery can be recharged in 5 minutes.)


Harvey D.

Amazing performance.

A good test bed for A123 System batteries in automotive applications.

Two or three similar battery packs (330 or 495 lbs) would be sufficient for a small PHEV.

The Anonymous Poster

400 V x 2000 A = 800000 W = 1073 hp.

Just for curiosity, what's the average gas-powered drag bike have for power?

The Anonymous Poster

Oops. It's a 375 v pack which would make 750000 W (1006 hp). Still huge.


100 Wh/kg too.

Elsewhere (evworld) the team have written that they've pushed their A123s to the limit (to the boiling point of water is what they say!) over hundreds of races and have never had to replace a cell. Amazing.


A great public proving ground for A123's battery packs.


I am so freakin jelous of these guys it's not even funny.



Lets see, a 500 battery would have a capacity of (3 x 7.5) 22.5 KWH, and if we assume 80% DOD, we have 18 KWHs of range. If we assume .35 KWH per mile, then the AER would be (18 divided by .35)51 miles. Perfect for a PHEV. So the hold-up must be cost and production capacity, because they got to know they would sell like hotcakes.


Yet GM can't build the Volt. I wonder why... . http://www.ev1.org/gmoil.htm


Cool. Anyone see any specs for the motor? Good publicity for electric.


Found out that they are using a pair of brushed DC motors with a direct chain drive.

Kumar Barve

So, what is the cost?

Bob Bastard

I bet it also set the mark for the lowest sound dB level run of the day. I wonder what the burnout sounds like when all you hear is the tire getting fried?


Bob Bastard - Follow the link to the KillaCycle site. There's videos there which include burnouts. Awesome!

Bob Bastard

Bob, thanks- that was beyond cool!


The cost is $12000 for this 7,5kWh pack. See http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/03/30/edmunds-editor-karl-brauer-offers-a-brief-opinion-on-batteries-f/


8.21 secs in 0.25 mile
using s=ut+0.5at^2
a = 11.938 meter per seconds square...
the earth gravity is roughly 10 meter per seconds.
that's awesome.


Also take a look at electric car win quarter mile over Ferrari and Carrera GT, also with sound:



The Wrightspeed X1 (shown beating the carrera etc) uses only standard output 18650 cells!

Imagine if it switched to using 4 kW/kg nanophosphate cells. Then its 150 kg pack would be able to give out a massive 800 horsepower!

Gerald Shields

Yes Van is correct. GM WILL NEVER SHIP THE VOLT! Not unless the oil companies sell their GM stock to other parties. The only hope of raising overall fuel economy is in the hands of companies like Telsa that have the will to mass produce zero emission vehicles and Li-Ion technologies. Also, the trick is to keep these companies and technologies from being "bought out" by Big Oil.

Dr. Lowell A. Morton

This really makes my old V65 and Engr Pete's Hiabussa look just terrrible! Where and how soon can we get one?


I believe that the long term solution is a 100 mile range PHEV. This would require about 200 Kg in A123 lithium batteries per compact car, 300 kg for a mid size and about 400 Kg for large SUVs.
To present my argument, I will assume that the car of the future will carry 300 Kg of A123 batteries. About 75 million cars are built in the world every year (this number continues to grow). That means that every year we have to manufacture 75,000,000 cars * (300 Kg/car) =
22.5 billion kg of these A123 batteries. Each A123 battery weighs 70 grams or 0.07 Kg which means that the total world yearly production of A123 Systems batteries is about 321.4 billion batteries/year. Is there enough supply of lithium and other materials to make this amount of batteries per year? Even though we all know that energy density will increase as time goes on, even if we can increase power density by a factor of 3, we still have to come up with over 100 billion batteries a year. Assuming an average 10 year life span for future cars, that means a total of 1 trillion batteries in circulation. After 10 years, these batteries will be recycled but, how much lithium can we actually get back?


Here's an article on worldwide lithium availability:



Henrik, the bike launches at 3 g's. Acceleration tapers off quite a bit near the end.

Ash, you assume too high for the consumption of a bike. My 1988 Mitsubishi MightyMax pickup uses .350 KWH per mile , and its a dawg compared to a bike. Bikes get <.1 to ~.15 KWH per mile.

Mike H

Some things to consider with Lithium Ion batteries: Unlike other batteries they discharge and loose battery life just sitting brand new. Therefore they need to be produced on demand. They have about a 3 year life, not the 10 year life of the vehicle, so KillaCycle will be be an expensive endeavor. That is assuming the batteries are at room temperature (or even better in a fridge), which on a motorcycle they are certainly not. The hotter they get, the lower their battery life.

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