8.168 @ 155.78 MPH -> Getting close to the magic 7′s

We learn something new with every race. We made a bunch of spot-on modifications recently that made a huge difference in our performance for our latest runs down the strip at the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) event on March 30th through April 1st. We vaporized all the existing EV drag racing records with a series of quicker and quicker record-breaking runs. On the last run of the event, we clocked 8.168 seconds at 155.78 MPH.

>>> More Batteries! < <<<
We put in another 110 of the most powerful Li-Ion cells in the world to make a total of 990 A123Systems M1 cells in the bike. This pushed the power output to over 350 HP. We are now able to draw 1575 amps from the 375 volt, 7.5 kW-hr battery pack. There are just 161 lbs of cells in this pack. We call the A123Systems battery pack “Mister Fusion” because it acts like a bottomless pit of power and energy on the track. We could make 7 or 8 runs without recharging if we wanted. It only takes a few minutes to recharge the pack between runs, so we top it off every time. With the latest PFC-50 charger from Manzanita Micro, we can recharge the bike in just 5 minutes! We only use about 700 w-hrs (about $0.10) of electricity for each round. This includes the burn-out and the more than 2 mile round trip back to the pits!

Without these powerful A123Systems batteries, we would have no hope of setting new world records.

>>> Series/Parallel Shifting< <<
Another change we made was to install a series/parallel contactor. The Zilla Controller has the ability to operate a serie/parallel motor contactor automatically. The motors are inititally configured in series. Thus, the full contoller output current travels through both motors. This gives maximum starting torque. As the motors spin up, the voltage across each of them increases. When that voltage matches the battery voltage, the current will decrease as motor rpm continues to increase. The Zilla will then switch the motors into parallel connection. This will double to voltage available to each motor, but will divide the current. The motors can turn much faster, but with half the torque. It result is just like shifting a transmission from low to high.

We could not get the contactor to shift automatically during the two runs we had on Friday test and tune session. The 60 ft times were fantastic, (1.169 seconds) but we were not getting the top-end performance we needed. We re-wired the launch button to be a manual shift button and this proved to work quite well for the rest of the weekend. We plan to upgrade the Zilla firmware and we believe this will solve the auto-shift problem.

These fantastic 60 ft times translate to a 0 to 60 mph time of 1.04 seconds.

>>> Pack Heaters < <<<

Another improvement we made was to build in Kapton heaters into the battery pack. We used these to bring the pack up to optimum temperature, (75 Celsius) and maintain it there for maximum power output. The A123Systems cells are unique in that you can bring them to very high temperatures without damage. (They age a bit more quickly at high temperature, but that is it.)

>>>> Next Event < <<<

We will be displaying the KillaCycle at the Wired Magazine NextFest on September 13th – 16th in Los Angeles

We’ll be running exhibition passes at the NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 25th – 28th

Here is a link to a video of one of the record-breaking runs at Firebird Raceway:

Here are some pictures from the event:
Team Photo

Burnout Action

Time Slips

Here is a link to a fantastic article about the KillaCycle in Designfax On-line

23 thoughts on “8.168 @ 155.78 MPH -> Getting close to the magic 7′s

  1. The Zilla controller is an awesome idea, keep it going. I wish you best of success. I hope I could join you guys, but its very far away from where i live.

  2. Hi
    After watching the video of the record 8.168 @ 155.78 MPH, I can see that the wind helped a little. Maybe the best way to get 7 seconds is to improve the aerodinamic shape of the Killa: if you go faster than 100 aerodinamic efficiency makes the big difference in acceleration…

  3. Pingback: Motorcycle Blog roundup April 16, 2007 » CycleChaos

  4. Man, this stuff is really Cool! Best of luck getting the 7′s.

    Question: Have you considered going Brushless with the motors? The problem would be making a brushless ESC (Electronic Speed Control). Outrunner Brushless motors and Li-poly have taken over the Radio Controlled hobby industry.

    P.S. If you guys are getting laid all the time I would like to join the team.

  5. You say that it takes only “a few minutes” to recharge your battery pack. Can you say exactly how many? From “empty” and when you “top off”? What kind of recharging setup do you use?

  6. Ever thought about teaming with Honda to produce a regular production electric bike. I sure could use 350 hp on my daily commute!

  7. I have two questions.

    1. Why didn’t you put the motors in to the wheel assembly instead of the direct drive system? The direct drive system with a chain seems to me a direct loss of power and takes up more space and weight.

    We consider all configurations. The weight of the motor is set by the maximum torque (turning force) it will produce. By choosing a reduction via chain, we reduce the maximum torque and thus the motor weight. This reduces the efficiency slightly, but greatly increases the power to weight ratio of the bike.

    2. If you put a Alternator and regulator on your system the bike could charge itself up as you drive it, instead of going 7 or more runs then having to charge the bike.

    The energy must come from “somewhere”. It requires mechanical energy to turn an alternator to make electrical energy. This mechanical energy turns up as a greater load on the motors which increases the electric energy we must feed them.

    Each of these transformations of energy is imperfect and results in losses. If you pour water from one bucket, to another bucket, and then back to the orgiginal bucket, you lose a little bit of water with each transfer. In the end, you have less water than you started with, not more.

    Bill Dube’

  8. Bill Dube, I am truly impressed. You’ve taken it to the nth degree. Nanophosphate batteries. I’ll have to look that one up. A long way from the Volkswagen or do you still have that?

    Keep up the research. Very impressive.

    Vic (formerly of CO, now of Naples, FL)

  9. First off, I’m SUPER pumped for what you have accomplished, I get giddy thinking about the electric vehicles that I will see in my life time (i’m 22)

    Can you tell me how you are rating your HP? is it Electric Horsepower, or converted to “standard” horsepower like an internal combustion engine. Because “Home Power” magazine states that 1 electric horse is roughly equivalent to 4 internal combustion horses….

    Thank you for blowing my mind.
    (please email me because I have more questions that I would like kept alittle more hush hush, thank you)

  10. Hi, I am from Russia, I have question…. HOW any mechanical transport can go opposite without phisical????
    In our country we haven’t this dragn trasse…it’s so bad…. becouse our bikers can do it too, Welike it & we want do it.

    With best wishes)

    Cris & Aleksandr

  11. Hello,

    What kind of batteries are used in the Killacycle and how can I get some.

    The batteries in the KillaCycle are made by A123 Systems. You can buy an engineering developer’s kit here:

    You can order an A123 Systems battery and chargre for your radio controlled model here:

    A description of the features of these batteries here:


  12. My son and I are planning an ultralight car/conveyance and I’m having a tough time finding a motor/power supply. I saw yours and wondered how your controls work, if it was 3 phase AC, what voltage???? We are hungry for info. We will understand if you are holding back due to patent stuff. Your bike was cool in the video segment on the green machine shows. Thanks ~ Tim ~

    We are an open book. All the major comonents that we use are listed on the “about” page. You can see details of the drive train and the motor set-up on the “motors” section of the photo album.

  13. with gas at european prices, cant your bike be mass marketed with less hp and more batteries? Heck id take this over the smart car any day.

  14. I watched your bike on discovery ch>tonight it’s too fast for it’s design. If you can change the power source to electric, then why can’t you change it’s design.? A formula 1 car needs fins to hold to the ground. Why can’t your bike have 2 fins in the front, 2 in the back, with pre-set trim.(or variable driver controled trim} I believe this could add substancial weight to your bike as it accelerates. putting your green machine within the 6 second 1/4 mile record.

    I’m glad you enjoyed watching the show. We certainly enjoyed filming it.

    There are many factors at play, not just traction alone. The biggest factor is the HP to weight of the bike as a whole. We see weight reduction as the prime path to increased performance. The total weight of the bike is about 650 lbs, plus the rider’s weight. The bike could lose a lot of weight if we had the money to pay for lighter components. The wheelie bar weighs 17 lbs and could easily weigh 7 lbs, if we were to buy a more expensive replacement. The drive motors weigh 87 lbs each. If we manage to find the funding to go to an AC drive, the motor weight would cut in half. We could swap out the $1800 fiberglass body shell for a $12000 carbon-fiber body shell that was half the weight, if we could afford to do so.

    The typical Prostock bike that makes qualifying (and runs in the low 7′s or high 6′s) has an annual budget of $500,000 to over $1,000,000. The KillaCycle annual budget is less than $20,000 per year. The impressive performance of the KillaCycle in relation to our tiny racing budget tells you just how much potential there is in the battery technology we are using. If a person were to spend the money on an electric bike, that they spend on a Pro Stock bike, the electric would be MUCH faster than the Pro Stock bike.

    The reason the Killacycle goes faster every year is that I pay for the improvents I can afford every year.

    Because of the total weight of the bike, we are not traction-limited beyond about the 200 ft mark. We are HP limited beyond that point. To get benefit from fins or aerdynamic down force generation, we would have to be traction limited at high speed, not at low speed. We would need to lose weight on the bike to be in that position.

  15. What if the wings worked like a plane’s wings, creating lift and reducing weight .But not effecting the control of the bike. Ifeel like an ass thinking the bike should be heavyer. perhaps it could be an affordable way of weight reduction.

  16. I giddy thinking about the electric vehicles.

    In Hong Kong China, we haven’t this dragn trasse…it’s very good Thank you for blowing my mind..

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