Electric Motorcycles Rise From Vintage Models

A hobbyist in Dedham,¬†Massachusetts, just south of Boston, has started salvaging old gasoline motorcycles and turning them into electric vehicles in his shop. But Ted Dillard isn’t converting the old bikes to electric motorcycles to sell, or even to save the environment, he’s doing it for the sheer thrill of instant-torque power.

So far, Dillard has saved two motorcycles from the scrapyard, the first being a 1984 Honda VF500F seen in the photo below. The bike had apparently logged over 135,000 miles and was doomed for meltdown, but is now able to reach a top speed of 60 miles per hour, and able to hit that target in just seven seconds.

Electric Motorocycle Conversion Honda

image via Ted Dillard

Dillard also recently converted a 350cc cafe-racer styled, 1971 Yamaha R5e, seen in the photo below, to racing specifications, which he claims was fairly easy and cheap to accomplish despite starting with basically nothing but the original frame. According to Dillard, lithium-ion battery companies, like the Massachusetts-based A123 Systems, have made it possible for the used bikes to perform as well, or better, than when they were first created.

Electric Motorcycle Conversion, Yamaha

image via Ted Dillard

The at-home engineer is currently working on a third electric bike, progress of which can be seen on Dillard’s blog, where he also notes his interest in working with Oregon-based manufacturer Brammo in its attempt to bring more attention to electric motorcycles in America.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.