Thad Wolff on the road. Read how they prepared for the challenge: Electric Cannonball Run
Earlier this month, riders on electric motorcycles made two ocean-to-ocean crossings of the U.S.
The Moto-Electra team used its Norton-based roadrace chassis, ridden by ex-AMA racer Thad Wolff and followed by a charging/support/data van staffed with students from James Madison University. Their operational scheme was to ride for two hours and charge for one hour, using only the batteries on the motorcycle.
Apparently, they could have improved on Wolff’s time of 84.5 hours (3.52 days). “The batteries were rock-solid,” said team manager Brian Richardson. “If we were to do it again, we would travel farther between charges and increase the speed a bit—something learned.”
Thad Wolff celebrates after finally reaching the west coast.
Meanwhile, engineer Terry Hershner tackled a 2600-mile west-to-east route all by himself, charging his Vetter-streamlined Zero ZF9 electric bike using only a standard SAE J1772 DC connector and existing charge points on the route. In case he could not find or reach a charge point, he also carried six chargers to plug into 110V household electric plugs. His time was just under six days, allowing 45 minutes per charge.
Both machines were understandably heavy with the extra battery capacity, but these efforts demonstrate that even long distances are possible for today’s electric-vehicle components.
Craig Vetter and Terry Hershner.