Lightning Motors in California has converted a Yamaha R1 into a lithium-powered superbike. The bike handles like a Yamaha R1, but the entire engine has been removed to make room for the batteries. Now, it rockets silently to 100 mph.
The cost of the conversion was around $15,000, but Lightning Motors expects they can reduce the cost to the $6k - $8k range.
The bike was just featured in the LA Times, who compared the ride to the Tesla supercar, "Unlike the Tesla electric sport car, which is powered by thousands of tiny batteries, the R1 conversion uses just 28. Each of them is 90 amp-hours at 3.2 volts and 6.6 pounds. Together, they weigh less than everything that was taken off the bike to make it electric. While the majority of the batteries are concentrated in a Mondrian-esque block where the engine used to be, they're also tucked under the seat where the exhaust was once located, to mimic the weight distribution of a stock R1."
Lightning Motors' 1999 Yamaha R1 electric conversion
Powertrain: AC regenerative motor powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries, 550-amp system, one speed
Maximum torque: 80 pound-feet
Maximum rpm: 8,000
Potential horsepower: 70
Estimated range: 80 miles at 65 mph
Dry weight: About 400 pounds
Charge time: Seven hours with on-board charger that plugs into a standard outlet
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