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Electric Motorcycle Conversion

by Rick Hardy
(Belen NM)

How do you convert a motorcycle to electric? I'm looking to build an electric street cruiser. Not a moped, I mean a real tire smoking leave-you-in-the-dust bike! What would you use for motor and battery power?

Hi, Rick -
A tire-smoker! My kind of guy; )

The first place I'd start is with a book called Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel. Carl says that the decisions on motor and batteries aren't that much different than when you're building an electric car.

And when it comes to electric drag racing, all the tire-smokers I know are using DC motors. (Sometimes more than one at a time.) They're all using 12v lead-acid batteries, too.

Having said that? The KillaCycle uses lithium batteries from A123 Systems.

Here's why: Because 120v worth of lead batteries weighs at least 600 pounds. On a motorcycle, how do you support all that weight with a light racing frame? (Carl shows you where he puts the battery boxes; look toward the end of the book.)

The KillaCycle has since demolished the record it set in that video above, by the way; ) Faster and faster every year!

Best of luck with your project -


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