From the Dept of Shameless Self Promotion, here’s my Official Press Release of the Mount Washington run. And Awesome Photo.
Sep 27, 2012 – In a tribute to electric motorcycle pioneers of the ‘70s, Ted Dillard successfully climbed the tallest peak in New England – Mount Washington – with an electric motorcycle converted from a vintage roadracer. He is the third electric motorcycle rider in history to do so, following in the legacy of Charles MacArthur and Mike Corbin, both legends in the Electric Vehicle community.
The Mount Washington Auto Road has a long history of firsts, including a race pre-dating Pikes Peak races by several years. At an average grade of 12%, the Mount Washington Auto Road is steeper than Pikes Peak’s 7% and makes the same vertical climb of approximately 4700’, and, unlike Pikes Peak, is still partially unpaved. The first race – the Climb to the Clouds – on Mount Washington was held in 1904, 12 years prior to the Pikes Peak race.
In 1974, Charles MacArthur reached the summit of Washington on his Corbin electric motorcycle, the first production electric motorcycle in history and was followed by Mike Corbin in 1975 on a custom machine powered by a revolutionary NiZn battery pack, charged with wind power on the mountain. This was the start of what would become a yearly, week-long event: The Alternative Energy Regatta at Mount Washington.
Dillard’s attempt was inspired by the work of these pioneers, but also motivated by a more simple goal: to see what his DIY electric motorcycle conversion could do.
“I found the frame to this classic bike in a chicken coop in North Brookfield MA.” …says Dillard. “It’s the core of a lineage of bikes that defined roadracing in the 1970s and ‘80s starting with the 350cc twin 2-stroke R5, the factory racer TD3, and on through the RD400 and LC350 of later years. They were remarkably fast, good handling bikes that were simple and cheap to maintain. They had the nickname ‘750 killers’, because they dominated the much bigger 750cc classes.”
Using an electric motor designed for high-performance electric vehicles by Motenergy, Inc, and the lightest, most powerful lithium-ion battery technology, his electric version of this classic motorcycle has a faster top speed and quicker acceleration than these legendary privateer roadracers. It also weighs in at around 100lbs less.
“The power delivery of an electric drivetrain is unlike anything I’ve experienced in over 40 years of motorcycling. There’s no ‘power curve’ as we’re used to on race-tuned gasoline motors. It’s like getting shot out of a gun.” …Dillard continues. “Using technology that is essentially over a century old, an electric motor, batteries and a motor speed controller, I was able to experience something completely new to motorcycling. The electric ride is like nothing else.”
Apparently, this is not the end of Ted Dillard’s interest in Mount Washington. “I now know that I can make it to the top. Now I want to find out how fast I can make it to the top.” Dillard is planning another attempt with a more powerful battery pack for next year.
Dillard’s ascent may have had some unforeseen, but welcome results. Interest in the Mount Washington Alternative Energy Regatta has been rekindled, and discussion of a Summer 2013 event have already begun, possibly to coincide with the launch of the latest version of the Corbin Motors Sparrow 2 – a revolutionary one-person electric vehicle, originally designed in the early 1970s by Mike Corbin.
For more information, see The Electric Chronicles, at http://www.evmc2.com.
The Mount Washington Auto Road website: http://www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com