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Killacycle - electric drag racing motorcycle and world record holder

Scotty Pollacheck astride the world's quickest electric motorcycle powered by $12,000 of A123 Systems M1 lithium-ion batteries. Despite pushing the batteries to the boiling point of water and sucking 4000 watts/kg of power from the pack, the team has yet to replace a single cell, proof these batteries are different in a big way.

The Secret of the Killacycle's Success

Killacycle owner and team manager Bill Dube shares the secrets of the world's quickest electric motorcycle.

By Bill Moore

What's it like to go from zero-to-sixty in 1.4 seconds?

Fifty-four year-old Bill Dube doesn't know. He turned over that job to young Scotty Pollacheck, who is half his age and has ice water in his veins.

Instead, he gets his thrills these days dreaming up ways how to make his record-holding Killacycle a bit quicker, endlessly tweaking, continually experimenting with a motorcycle that started life as a highly-modified Kawasaki but long ago left its Japanese origins far behind. According to the effervescent Coloradan, who has been building electric cars for decades, Killacycle is never the same machine from one race season to the next, and often between races.

But as excited as he is talking about the Killacycle, he simply can't contain his enthusiasm for the secret ingredient that makes 150+ mph quarter mile speeds possible: $12,000 worth of A123 Systems M1 lithium ion batteries.

"These are the batteries," he says emphatically.

He should know, he's destroyed more than his share of more conventional batteries over the years, pushing them to their limits and then some, leaving them smoking hulks at times.

Bill began my education into battery technology by first explaining the "positives" of A123's 26650 cells. They are:

  • Specific power -- He claims the bike is pulling an unbelievable 4000 watts/kg! At the end of a quarter-mile run, the custom-built battery pack consisting of 880 cells is the temperature of boiling water, 100 C/212 F.

    "Everything works better when hot, " he teases. Before a run, the team warms the battery up to 75 C. Pollacheck, who weighs wet somewhere around 125 pounds (56 kg) also spins the 10 inch-wide rear tire until it smokes, making it super sticky for added traction.

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