During last week’s SCTA Bonneville Speed Week event, a slew of hot fancy new electric streamliners were hauled out to the salt seeking the overall speed record for electric propulsion. None of them managed to do it, as EV West’s streamliner kept shredding drive belts and all the other contenders fell short of last year’s record setting run. One conservative EV project did manage to set a new record, however, as the Delfast Dnepr electric motorcycle managed to set a Special Construction (A-class motorcycle) powered by electric propulstion (Omega) class record at a lowly 107 miles per hour. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
The rider, Serhii Malyk, had previously set new records at Bonnevile on his Dnepr Electric special in 2017 and 2018, continually iterating the bike to make it faster. This year the bike managed to beat its previous 2018 record by 3 miles per hour. While the frame is a special one-off for the class, the motor and batteries are aparently taken directly from a stock Dnepr.
For the 2021 running of the event, Malyk upgraded the bike with a new controller carrying updated software, and a new production 50 kW permanent magnet electric motor (capable of 100 kW of peak power). Apparently the bike carries 36 batteries onboard to make a run, totaling 22,000 milliamp hours supplying the inverter about 800 volts. Now, if I’m doing my math correctly (or more accurately if the conversion calculator I found on Google is) that should total up to 16 kWh of battery, or about half what my Nissan Leaf has onboard. It’s probably not going very far, but it is going fast.
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This is an interesting little ride, as it doesn’t appear to be carrying any kind of aerodynamic aids. I haven’t studied the SCTA’s Special Construction Motorcycle rulebook, but this record looks to be one that would be fairly easy to beat in coming years. Hell, a stock LiveWire One is electronically limited to 115 miles per hour, so grab one of those and build a special chassis for it and Robert’s your mother’s brother.
In any case, it’s pretty cool to see electric propulsion breaking records at Bonneville. There’s a lot of development to go, but it is theoretically possible that electric-powered cars will soon overtake piston-engine-powered machines in the record books. Watch this space. You know, over the next decade or so.