Electric Motorcycle Charges Past Competition at Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Takes Win for Solar!

This post was originally published in 2013. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Sunday marked the beginning of a new era for electric vehicles at the 91st annual running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The fastest two-wheeled vehicle to race up the famous hill was Lightning Motorcycle’s electric SuperBike with now three-time champion rider, Carlin Dunne. 

Lightning Motorcycle's SuperBike at Pikes Peak's Fan Fest

Lightning Motorcycle’s SuperBike at Pikes Peak’s Fan Fest

The SMA America-sponsored electric motorcycle, climbed to the top of the 14,115 foot peak just a fraction of a second over 10 minutes, clocking in at 10:00.694.  Dunne’s time outperformed the second place gas-powered bike by more than 20 seconds, marking the first time in history that an electric vehicle outperformed all gas powered challengers during a major motorsports event.

The electric SuperBike is charged with SMA solar inverters.

The electric SuperBike is powered with SMA solar inverters and Trina panels installed on a mobile van.

While the weather conditions were not ideal for racing, the sun was shining enough to power the record-breaking bike. The SuperBike is charged using clean renewable solar energy, unlike its gas-guzzling opponents. A custom engineered van was designed to house and charge the electric motorcycle, equipped with high-tech SMA Sunny Island inverters and Trina Solar PV modules.

Rider Carlin Dunne clocked the fastest time at Pikes Peak during the qualifying runs.

Rider Carlin Dunne clocked the fastest time at Pikes Peak during the qualifying runs.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest race in North America, and is widely known in the racing community as one of the most challenging and dangerous courses. The race begins at 9,390 feet and stretches across 12.46 miles of twisting paved roads with 156 turns, ending at the summit of the mountain.

Gas-powered engines struggle as the air thins at the higher altitude, making room for electric vehicles to pave a path in the racing world.  Dunne’s Pike Peak victory is also a win for the future of electric vehicles, showcasing that performance and clean renewable energy can work hand-in-hand.

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