Electric Garage: BatPod


Well, just in time for the first official entry into the Electric Garage, we have Domenick Yoney’s find on eBay:  the “Battery-Powered BatPod”.  Read more about it on his story on Autoblog Green, but it’s a truly inspired (deranged?) bit of work.  Complete with working flamethrowers (disabled, however, for the eBay sale), the thing is a 16 year-old boy’s motorcycle wet dream.

The specs (from the eBay page, assuming it will all come down in a day and 6 hours):


The frame is a modified 2002 Harley V-Rod frame. It has been converted to rigid-frame design (like most choppers) with no rear suspension. The swingarm was replaced with 1.5″ thick solid aluminum plates that support the rear wheel. The section under the seat has been modified to permit storage space required for two batteries. The tray supports for the remaining six batteries have been welded & fixed in place, but still permit easy removal of batteries if required.

The front wheel is actually a rear wheel from a 2004 V-Rod. The tires are new and are identical in size (Dunlop D407, size 200/50/18). Recommended inflation is 35psi. The fork tubes are factory 2002 V-Rod, but due to the extra-wide front wheel/tire, they are supported by a custom “triple-tree” made from solid aluminum.

The aluminum front cowl protects the hand controls, brake levers, and also holds the headlights & turn signals. The convex mirrors are a little on the small side, I know, but I wanted to keep the look as low-profile as possible. The mirrors are held in place by small knob screws so the mirrors can be easily removed (if desired).

All of the painted parts are in Satin Black. I am including a can of touch-up paint.

As you can see from the low-profile design, the rider lays down in the prone position as opposed to sitting in the traditional upright position. Because there is no gear shifting required, the feet are supported by footpegs near the rear wheel. The hand-made leather seat (bobber-style w/ an aged, “worn-in” appearance) is supported by standard seat springs with a rubber pivot cushion. The top frame section features steel tubes that are padded in rubber cushioning to support the rider’s chest weight. The helmet chin guard rests near the fork area, and this riding position is actually quite comfortable. The rider’s entire body weight is fully supported, and the hand controls are in easy reach for anybody 5’6″ or taller.


The heart of this system is the AC-20 electric motor (by HPEVS) with a Curtis 1238-7501 Motor Controller. This system is rated at 650amp, 82ftlbs torque, 65hp, 7500rpm with regenerative braking (this sends a charge back to the battery pack during deceleration). Acceleration is controlled by the Magura twist throttle grip. The system is pre-programmed for this specific motorcycle (final drive ratio & tire diameter), but it can always be re-programmed via a Curtis hand-held programmer (available for rental from several sources. Details provided in the instruction manual).

The Curtis “spyglass” instrument gauge provides the following stats: Speed (mph), RPM (7500 max), Amps, Voltage, B.D.I. (Battery Discharge Index) percentage, Temperature (Celsius) of the Motor Controller (will automatically scale back performance if the unit gets too hot. Great safety feature!), a “Check Engine Light” indicator (Indicates any “error codes” that have been has been activated, but all systems have worked perfect so far), and a lighted, “at-a-glance” battery power indicator.

The entire system is powered by Optima Bluetop D34M batteries (AGM chemistry, qty 8), wired “in series” to provide 96VDC (nominal) to the system. The batteries are new, but have been painted black. I am also including an off-board 96VDC charger, specifically designed for this battery pack. It operates on any standard 110VAC outlet, but the recharge time depends on the amount of stored battery power that has been depleted. A fully depleted battery pack will pull about 15amps from the charger, and then slowly taper off until the battery pack reaches full charge. More details are in the instruction manual.

A Chennic voltage converter (96VDC > 12VDC) is used to supply power to the lighting components & horn. This unit is totally separate & independent from the Motor & Controller wiring, and has its own 10amp fuse for protection. The only other fuses on the bike are a small 10amp fuse (for the ignition switch) and a large main fuse (to protect the battery pack).

The drive belt is from a 2002 V-Rod. The rear wheel sprocket pulley has 72 teeth, and the motor drive sprocket has 16 teeth which equates to a 4.50:1 final drive ratio.

The bike features a main “kill switch” which will cut power to the Curtis Motor Controller in an emergency (short circuit, stuck throttle, etc). This switch has a removable “key” that prevents unauthorized start-up. Because there is no combustion engine, the only sound that the bike makes is a slight electrical “humm & tick” created by the Tyco LEV200 main contactor solenoid switch (w/ 10watt-450ohm resistor) between the battery pack & the Motor Controller. This is a typical, expected electrical sound that is inherent with this type of solenoid.


Rear disc brake system is made of stock parts from a 2002 V-Rod. The rear brake is activated by the left hand lever.

Front dual-disc brake system features a master cylinder from a 2002 V-Rod, but the front brake calipers are from a 2000 Yamaha R-1. Due to the fact that the front wheel is actually a rear wheel from a 2004 V-Rod, there was no ready-made, bolt-on, dual-disc brake system available. The Yamaha R-1 system was the closest size available to suit the required fit, so I modified a set of rear Yamaha R-1 rotors to bolt to the Harley wheel. The front disc brakes are activated by the right hand lever.

The brake hoses are flexible stainless steel (size -3AN) with 10mm “banjo” type fittings. The brake systems use DOT-5 brake fluid only.


The bike features a 12VDC lighting set-up. Dual headlights, front & rear flashing turn signals, and a rear tail & brake light housing. These lights can always be switched off (if desired), and the headlights have a separate on/off switch as well. The horn is from a 2002 V-Rod, and is activated by a left hand control button.


PLEASE NOTE: Although the flamethrowers and cannons are in a fully authentic & operable state as pictured, the cannon trigger breach blocks and flamethrower pressure release valves are NOT INCLUDED as part of this sale listing. Without these components, the weapons are INOPERABLE. These INOPERABLE weapons that are included as part of this specific sale are to be considered as DECORATION ACCESSORIES ONLY. …..BUT….. If the BUYER wishes to take possession of the cannon trigger breach blocks and flamethrower pressure valves (required to make the weapons operable), then he must contact the SELLER and ask that these parts be donated and shipped separately (for free). The BUYER is under NO OBLIGATION to take possession of these extra parts.


The flamethrower system uses Argon pressurized tanks and unleaded gasoline. Click on link above to see video of flamethrowers in action. I am including a filled Argon tank, regulator, & required fittings for this system with the sale. The tank can be refilled at any welding supply store. Never use compressed air to pressurize the flamethrower fuel tanks as this is a deadly risk! I am including a brief instructional video (USB flashdrive) which clearly shows the safe & proper procedure for filling the flamethrower system.

The 12ga. cannons are single-shot, and are activated by simply pulling the spring-loaded trigger breach block knobs. When operational, they will fire any 12 gauge cartridge. For demonstration purposes, I suggest that the operator pry open the cartridges, and then replace the lead shot with shredded paper strands. Lotsa fun and very loud! More details about the weapons are in the instruction manual.

The flamethrower and cannon assemblies are easily removed (hex-head Allen screws) if you prefer a “normal” motorcycle appearance. Re-assembly is quick & simple.


I have compiled a detailed notebook containing specific instructions & information on “need to know” issues: operation, battery charging, disassembly procedure, electrical, mechanical, part numbers, suppliers, etc.

I am also including a USB flashdrive with the entire Curtis 1238 Motor Controller manual (134 pages), and all the original videos that are related to this sale.


The driveable distance range varies, as with all electric vehicles. Many factors such as environment, rider’s bodyweight, hills, traffic conditions, etc. should be considered. You can expect to get approx 40 miles of battery use in average, moderate city driving conditions. Freeway speeds & hills eat up a lot more power of course when compared to casual trips around town, etc. The BUYER will need to experiment in their own environment to get reliable data on expected distance between battery charge-ups.

The bike weighs approx 750lbs (including the battery pack). Total length: 94.5″ (outside rear tire tread to front tip of cannons), width: 32″ (front cowl, widest point), height: 38″ (ground to top of fork tubes).

Calculated top speed: 126mph. This calculation is derived from the max motor rpm: 7500, rear tire diameter: 25.50″, and a final drive ratio of 4.50:1

Yes, you read that right.  The Fatal Flaw: Blue-top Optima lead cells.  (wtf?)

Here are a few videos.  Links provided, since he’s disabled embedding:

1 of 3: close-up walkaround tour http://youtu.be/G4cGjzKhao4

2 of 3: ride demo http://youtu.be/lGSMaYrgFiE

3 of 3: flamethrowers demo http://youtu.be/5NLOToJNmYs

moar photos:

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 8.00.40 AM Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 8.00.23 AM


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