In quite a first for the electric motorcycle industry, California-based Lightning Motorcycles this past weekend not only finished first in the Exhibition Powersports division at the tough Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Springs, Colo., but in the process also beat all similar gas-powered competitors over a 12.42-mile, fully-paved course that included 156 turns ending at the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak.
The Lightning SuperBike was handled by rider Carlin Dunne. He was the top qualifier on Friday (June 28), posting a time just over 10 minutes (10:00.694). Wired reports this time was “within spitting distance of the overall course record a few years back” and easily smoked the closest gas-powered bike by an over 20 second margin.
And, in a nod to clean energy, this electric motorcycle was indirectly powered by solar energy, noted SMA America. The company provided the solar technology necessary to harvest solar power that was channeled through a mobile charging station, fueling the motorcycle’s onboard battery pack.
And just in case you think this was a fluke on the part of Lightning, consider this: last year it set land speed records for electric motorcycles at El Mirage Lake bed in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino, Calif. and at the Bonneville Speedway near Wendover, Utah.
“We are incredibly gratified with the performance by Carlin,” said Richard Hatfield, founder and CEO of Lightning Motorcycles, in a statement. “The Lightning team worked around the clock to ensure that we provided the best possible bike for the race. We set this as a goal more than four years ago after our first North American road-racing event. Sunday, we achieved our goal. This accomplishment is a big step forward for Lightning, and we believe this is a giant leap forward for public acceptance of clean, renewable energy-based transportation.”