What started it all

by admin on February 22, 2010

A couple years back, I visited the Midwest Renewable Energy Associations annual energy fair.

As part of the fair, they host an alternative car show. One slick vehicle I saw, was an electric bicycle, built by a kit.

The first thing I did when I got home, was ordered the kit, and then installed it on a $20 bike from the thrift store. I had a blast that summer zipping around on the bicycle at 20 mph, and had about a 20 mile all-electric range on it. However, I also quickly discovered that car drivers never expected me to be going that fast on my granny-style bike, and often pulled out of driveways right in front of me. The lack of any suspension on the bike also made pot-holes an issue because of the weight of the batteries.

What I really wanted was something with suspension, maybe some lights, a horn, and a little more road-respect. Hmmm – guess that’s a motorcycle. I spent the next summer converting a $100 Kawasaki KZ440 motorcycle to electric. It’s a standard motorcycle, not too big, and not really that much more complicated than a bicycle.

When I was finished with the conversion and checked how much energy it used over a set distance, I realized it got the energy equivalent of 320 miles per gallon!

I had a video camera and internet access, so the next thing to do was make a little web video to share with friends. Later, Google sponsored a video contest, where the 3 winners would be shown at a Plug-In Vehicles Conference in Washington DC. The following video was chosen as one of those three videos.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Grant Connor March 18, 2010 at 9:16 am

A full suspention moutain bike with an electric motor, full fairings, and a supercapacitor is an excellent choice for urban commuting. Anyone want go for 500mpg?

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