Eva Håkansson - with passion for electric drive

Eva Håkansson - with passion for electric drive

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NZ update: Electric Kiwis!

Blog - in EnglishPosted by Eva Håkansson 30 Jan, 2010 01:08:14

The KillaCycle New Zealand tour goes very well. After two weeks of conferences and public shows, we will race upside down for the first time tomorrow (Sunday).

Picture: We got a lot of attention when the tour vehicles were displayed at the waterfront in Taupo.

The Kiwis are extremely friendly and very interested in the KillaCycle and the other vehicles on the tour. We have been on TV twice and in several newspapers and magazines. With 70 % renewable energy, mostly hydro, and a stable electric grid New Zealand is perfect for electric vehicles. If all cars in New Zealand would be replaced with electric cars, the electricity production would need to increase with less than 10 %. This almost always surprises people, not many know that an electric family car takes as much energy per year as four refrigerators.

Picture: I went directly from the airplane to a public show in Palmerston North (in the southern part of the northern island). Already the first day I got into the local newspaper and made a TV interview.

Unfortunately, I had to cut down the NZ tour to only one week. Bill will be here for three weeks, but I can’t miss that much class. Despite I got a very generous scholarship from University of Denver because I do all this amazing stuff, I still have to take care of my studies. I hope that more University of Denver students will be able to come with us on the next tour, because it is really the ultimate engineering adventure!
Picture: On the same show was also the most gorgeous electric motorcycle conversion I ever seen (much nicer than ElectroCat). The Kiwi Iain Jerrett (to the right in the picture) converted this Triumph to make PR for his company Astara (www.astara.co.nz). It has 27 Thundersky LFP 90 Ah and an AC drivetrain from Thunderstruck EV. If he can collect enough coins to get over to USA, he will compete in the Pike’s Peak hill climb in Colorado this summer. (I will start ElectroCat and I love to get some competition, despite I am sure that Iain will beat me, he has more horsepower as well as more batteries… )

Picture: With us on the tour is also Athol Williams and his topfuel motorcycle with 1,500 horsepower (www.topfueldragbike.co.nz). Athol has the nickname “The flying Kiwi” and he is the 4th fastest in the world (the fastest outside USA). He does the ¼ mile in 6.17 seconds with a finishing speed of 238.5 mph (382 km/h). His motorcycle runs on nitro-methane and uses 25 liters (worth $300!) per run! KillaCycle is indeed a little slower, but it uses only 0.6 kWh electricity which corresponds to 70 ml/2 ounces of gasoline and is worth $0.07. Electric vehicles are _very_ efficient, and high performance electric vehicles are _not_ less efficient than low performance ones.

Athol started his motorcycle and if anybody was asleep in Palmerston North they weren’t any more. Even with ear protection it is painfully loud.


Picture: Athol and Bill are unloading the KillaCycle. Athol is a lovely guy and he lets us use his giant race rig to tour around NZ. And if that wasn’t enough, he has taken three weeks off work to be on the tour, let us stay at his house and cooked the most delicious meals on his barbeque.

Picture: This is what I call a race rig! It is a full size sea container with a fully equipped garage on the inside.

Picture: It is pretty crowded on the inside, it is only meant for one bike, not for two. Bill is charging the KillaCycle and getting it ready for the race on Sunday. The battery was charged the last time before we packed it in the crate in November, and it takes some time to get all the 1210 cells fully balanced and happy and ready to race.

Picture: Philip Court is the guy who pays for this party. Here he is unloading his gorgeous electric Saker at Wintec - Waikato Institute of Technology in Hamilton. Philip is going to manufacture motor controllers in his company Greenstage. The standard version will be 200 kW (270 HP) which is perfect size for a race car or a peppy street car. I hope to be able to use one of his controllers in my land speed electric streamliner motorcycle that I just have started to build (more information about that project will come here shortly).

Picture: Tom Parker is another brain in the development of the motor controller mentioned above. He has converted this very nice Mini. With a state-of-the-art Siemens motor and motor controller and Thundersky lithium-iron-phosphate batteries it is the perfect city car. A range of 100 km (60 miles) is enough for most daily trips. Here the car gets a well deserved bath after being on a trailer for over a week.

Picture: It isn’t enough to be fast, you have to look good too. I am giving KillaCycle a polish while Athol is checking the tire pressure.

Picture: Showing KillaCycle at Wintec – Waikato Institute of Technology. The interest was great again and I did another two interviews – one for the local newspaper (with a couple of hundred thousand readers) and an engineering magazine.

Picture: Find something that is unusual on this car at Wintec…

Picture: KillaCycle was the large attraction on the Te Papa museum in Wellington.

Picture: The kiwis aren’t only good at engineering; they also know how to cook delicious food. This little ordinary roadside café had food that definitely wasn’t ordinary. From left to right: Bill, Edward Cheeseman and Philip Court. Ed is also part of the team that develops the motor controller. His daily job is to sell equipment for the high voltage power grid.

Today we are at a very loud car show in Greenlane, Auckland. KillaCycle, Ian Wilkins “Afterburner” and Athols topfuel bike are in the center of the show, surrounded by very pimped Japanese cars, DJ’s and girls in bikinis and gownless evening straps. This is the show and shine for the “4 and Rotary Nationals Drag Racing” that will take place tomorrow. KillaCycle doesn’t have any cylinders, but I think we can call it a rotary motor because it indeed rotates. Or to be correct: they rotate – KillaCycle has two motors.


Picture: Athol and me with his topfuel dragbike. It has 1,500 horsepower, weighs half a ton and eats a KillaCycle for breakfast…

Picture: It is really a beast!

Picture: Ian Wilkins, me and his beautiful “Afterburner”. The Afterburner runs on high octane gasoline with nitrous injection. It is slightly faster than the KillaCycle. KillaCycle and Afterburner will race head-to-head tomorrow. It will be really exciting.

Picture: Last but definitely not least; University of Denver (DU) deserves many thanks from Bill and me. We hope that more DU students and faculty will be able to join us on the next big tour. Racing is indeed the ultimate engineering adventure!

// Eva & Bill


Articles about the KillaCycle NZ tour:

"Green can be sexy way to go" Manawatu Standard, Jan 26, 2010

“Electric motorbike definitely no drag” Waikato Times