Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Zachary Norman and His Amazing Electric Motorcycle

[Slow Connection? Click to view the Viddler version.]

Numerous speed records have been achieved on the Bonneville Salt Flats, a surreal white plain that looks other-worldly. Some of the vehicles that race here look other-worldly, too. Imagine a 50cc streamliner rocketing down the salt speeds over 100mph, or the eerie whine of a lithium ion powered motorcycle, built on an old-school bobber frame.

The latter vehicle, built and raced by Zachary Norman of Venice, California, is the perfect juxtaposition of old and new technologies. Zack has outfitted a Flyright Choppers frame with a suitcase-sized lithium ion battery that powers an 84 volt, AC induction motor. A Curtis controller is matched to the AC motor for precise and smooth speed control. Zack also rides this motorcycle on the street, and claims a 50 mile range on a full charge.

Zack set a 69.059 mph record in the Omega class on his electric-powered motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats this August. He also clocked a run at 77 mph, and was trying to solidify that record with a second run. At the end of the day, he had set a world speed record of 73.056 mph. I interviewed Zack about his unique motorcycle as he was approaching the starting line.

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