Electric vehicle racing delivers innovation

Electric car and motorcycle racing can deliver important breakthroughs and innovations for the future of electric vehicles. I learned that at the ReFuel electric vehicle races at the Laguna Seca racetrack back in 2010, and it’s just as true today. At this year’s ReFuel races, electric vehicle startup KleenSpeed broke a racing record, and electric motorcycle racer Chip Yates broke another one during the Pike’s Peak race climb this week. While it might seem like these events are frivolous and niche (yes, they are small), they are basically the ultimate testing ground for cutting-edge and high-performance electric vehicle technology.

For this year’s ReFuel event, KleenSpeed used a UQM electric drive system, which helped it break a lap speed record, doing one lap at the Mazda Laguna Seca raceway in 1 minute, 38 seconds. The UQM system is small, lightweight, uses the battery as efficiently as possible, and provides super-fast torque.

Motorcycle racer Chip Yates has built what he says is the world’s most powerful and technically advanced electric motorcycle, called the Superbike. Yates says the Superbike has 240 horse power and 295 foot pounds of torque. His run on Pike’s Peak set the world record for an electric motorcycle on that track.

Check out Yate’s Pike’s Peak ride:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EI6IhNqGCU]

Here’s our video of KleenSpeed from ReFuel 2010:


And a racing video of WrightSpeed from ReFuel 2010: