CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine JAN/FEB 2013

Page 82



By David Herron

hat if the fastest production motorcycle in the world was powered by electricity? What if you could fuel a racing weekend using solar panels mounted on a trailer hauled behind a race van? Welcome to the world of Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning Motorcycles, whose multi-year quest into the field of electric motorcycle racing and manufacturing is beginning to come to fruition. Its run has been impressive, with wins in the TTXGP and e-Power race series, and a string of land speed records under the company’s belt. Lightning is based in San Carlos, California, which makes it a “Silicon Valley Startup,” one of several e-motorcycle companies in the area. The Lightning racing team has been at the leading edge of emotorcycle technology development for over four years, in the company of Brammo, MotoCzysz, Mission Motors, Mugen, Muench Racing, and Zongshen. During that time, their products have gone from being dismissed as two-wheeled golf carts to catching the attention of serious motorcyclists. The Lightning plan all along has been to use its racing activities for technology R&D to develop a reputation for high-end, high-performance motorcycles, and to leverage that goodwill and know-how to develop a line of consumer motorcycles. It’s not only about going fast on the track, but making reliable

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