The Lightening SuperBike is the fastest production motorcycle in the world, clocking in at 350 km/h (there are faster bikes, but none of them are street legal). It recently won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, beating all competitors, including gasoline-powered bikes. But don’t ask how many cylinders its engine has – this bike is solar powered. Well technically it’s battery-powered, but it charges the batteries with solar energy.
The SuperBike sports a liquid-cooled 125 kW electric motor, roughly equivalent to a 167 hp engine. At non-racing speeds, it offers a 160 km range on the highway and 250 km range in the city. Wondering why the mileage is higher in the city than on the highway? Two words: regenerative braking. How much will it cost to “fill the tank?” With its 370V 12 kWh battery bank and an average electric rate of R1.36 per kWh, you can drive 250 city km on R16.32 worth of charge, assuming you’re charging it from the grid. If you go solar, it’s free after you recover the investment in the solar panels and inverter.
The bike is charged with solar power through a mobile charging station that features an inverter made by SMA America. “The merger of solar power and electric vehicles is exciting to witness and we are thrilled with the success of the impressive SuperBike,” said Henry Dziuba, president and general manager of SMA America. “The win at Pikes Peak shows that superior, world-class performance can be achieved today with clean technologies.”
Paul Thede talks about energy efficiency and the Lightning electric bike:
“Personally, if I’m going 320 km/h, I want a solid frame around me. But for more reasonable driving I might consider the SuperBike. You can custom-order one, but it’ll set you back about R500 000. Much like the Tesla electric car, I like the concept and I’m sure this will eventually trickle down to more affordable electric vehicles, but for now I’ll have to let the rich kids buy them. To those who say electric vehicles are lacking in power and speed, well … this ain’t your grandfather’s moped”