A 27 year old, Brandon Nozaki Miller, from Kanuma-shi, Tochigi, Japan (he now lives in Thousand Oaks, California) broke the land speed record for unfaired lightweight electric motorcycles. He achieved this using the 2012 Zero S ZF6 motorcycle on the Bonneville Salt Flats at a speed of 101.652 mph over a one mile distance. This was done at the 2012 Bonneville Shootout.
The motorcycle is in the unfaired lightweight electric motorcycle class because it weighs less than 150 kg (330 pounds, one kg = 2.2022 pounds). His weighed 128 kg. At the Bonneville Salt Flats, Brandon was actually trying to break Keven Clemens record in the same class. Kevin’s record was set at a speed of 78.4 mph 78.4 mph at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials
Brandon also secured the FIM record for the kilometer distance at 102.281 mph.
I’m sure that many are wondering what enabled Brandon to achieve this, whether it was a lighter chassis, a motor with an improved power density, improved battery power density (power-to-weight ratio), which is the amount of power each kg of batteries can produce.
While it is possible to improve performance considerably in all these ways, the largest strides I have seen electric vehicles make is due to improved battery technology. This matters so much because the weight of a vehicle’s batteries is usually a significant fraction of its weight.
For example: The Tesla Roadster battery accounts for more than 1/3 of the entire car’s weight, so this slows it down tremendously. Replacing the battery with one that has twice the energy density, but the same capacity would facilitate blistering speed and hundreds of miles in additional driving range per charge, because it would weigh 495 pounds (224 kg), rather than the 990 pounds (449 kg) that it does now.
These motorcycles do use a 5.3 kWh li-ion (lithium-ion) battery pack. The family of lithium-ion battery technologies is the most powerful in the world, and their performance specifications vary significantly, so the fact that the batteries are lithium-ion is not enough information.
Lithium-ion batteries on the market do achieve energy densities in excess of 95 Wh per kg, though (the highest I have seen for li-ion is a 1,000 Wh/kg prototype), and power densities over 400 W (not to be confused with Wh) per kg. Lead-acid batteries, which pale in comparison (used for UPS devices, DIY electric cars, as well as gasoline-powered car starters) have an energy density of 30-40 Wh/kg.
Motorcycle MSRP: $11,495 USD.
Additional Technical Details About His Motorcycle Model
- Transmission: Clutchless, single speed.
- City MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent): 487 (0.48 litres per 100 km).
- Highway MPGe: 273 MPGe.
- Carrying Capacity: 384 pounds (174 kg).
- Frame Weight: 22 pounds.
- Charge Time: As little as 1.8 hours with an accessory and as much as 6 hours using the standard integrated charger and a 120 volt power outlet.
News Source: Ultimate Motorcycling