This year at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) we only saw a few electric motorcycle teams competing but that doesn’t make Pikes Peak any less exciting. Here is a breakdown and wrap-up from this year.
Pikes Peak – Electric Motorcycles
In the Electric Bike Production class Hollywood Electrics won all three podium spots with Jeff Clark being the fastest up the mountain. His teammates Nathan Barber and Brandon Nozaki Miller took the 2nd and 3rd places spots. The team is sponsored by Zero Motorcycles and Hollywood Electrics came to defend their title this year, so they accomplished that goal.
It should be noted the Hollywood Electrics team was the only electric motorcycle team in the Electric Production Bike category this year. They also had 3 riders… so it was fairly easy to clinch those top podium spots. Something we noticed that Zero Motorcycles didn’t mention in the press release, oh well. Since Hollywood Electrics is the only bike dealership that only sells electric motorcycles in the country, it’s good PR for them. We’ve heard of people ordering bikes from them in Los Angeles and having them shipped. 🙂
What we were impressed with this year is that Hollywood Electrics decided to use solar panels to charge all the Zero SR racing bikes. Impressive and I assume we might see this more as Lightning Motorcycles (see below) set the example originally back in 2013.
We wrote about Jeff Clark’s lap on Pikes Peak already but you can also watch it here too.
Jeff Clark – Pikes Peak Lap
In the Electric Modified Bike class there were 2 teams that were racing up Pikes Peak, Buckeye Current and Mirai. Yoshihiro Kishimoto came in first place racing for team Mirai, which is based out of Japan. You can watch Kishimoto’s lap here.
Yoshihiro Kishimoto – Pikes Peak Lap
Buckeye Current came in second, which is a team composed of engineering students from Ohio State University. The team has been successful in electric motorcycle racing in the past scoring a 3rd place finish at the Isle of Man TT Zero last year. This year the team’s replacement rider, Joe Prussiano, said there were some gremlins with the reworked RW-3 electric motorcycle. Prussiano replaced Rob Barber, Ohio State’s original rider, after Barber suffered from injuries sustained during practice. You can read about the incident in my article about Ohio State competing at Pikes Peak.
To get an idea about Joe Prussiano’s lap on Pikes Peak you can watch it here. Still looks intense even with problems with the bike.
Joe Prussiano – Pikes Peak Lap
Electric Cars take 1st and 2nd Place
While the field of electric motorcycle contenders was small this year, I fell compelled to mention it still was a positive overall event for electric vehicles. Well known race car driver Rhys Millen took the fastest lap time up Pikes Peak this year in an electric race car built by the Latvian team eO. The second place finisher was also an electric car driven by Pikes Peak legend Nobuhiro Tajima racing for Tajima Motors.
This shows that electric vehicles can compete in racing with gas powered vehicles. I am expecting to see a lot more electric racing on Pikes Peak in coming years because Tajima and Millen took 1st and 2n place this year.
Check out LiveTiming for the complete listing of times and classes.
Noticeably absent this year at Pikes Peak was Lightning Motorcycles. Some people might remember back in 2013 Lightning beat all motorcycle teams, electric or gas, by 20 seconds. While that was a respectable time margin on Pikes Peak the more impressive thing was Lightning Motorcycles charged all their bikes with solar panels. So they spent nothing powering their electric race motorcycles.
We assume this might be due to the fact the company is currently trying to get their LS-218 street electric motorcycle rolling off the assembly line. Loz Blain from Gizmag reviewed the LS-218 and was impressed with the bike’s sheer acceleration. Translogic, an Autolbog show, also did an episode about the Lighting LS-218 and was impressed as well.
Pikes Peak next year?
We aren’t sure about the field of competitors that will be at Pikes Peak next year, but we hope to see more electric motorcycle teams. With the success of eO and Tajima motors I bet you’ll see more electric vehicles in general racing on the mountain.