Land speed record holder Eva Håkansson and her home-built electric streamliner sidecar motorcycle “KillaJoule” set several historical records at Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials. With a top speed of 241.901 mph (389.219 km/h) and a two-way average of 240.726 mph (387.328 km/h) (pending official certification by AMA), she beat the previous electric motorcycle speed record with a stunning 25 mph. The new speed record also made her to the world’s fastest female on a motorcycle.
In addition to being a new electric motorcycle record, the speed is also an overall new record for any kind of sidecar motorcycles, including internal combustion-powered sidecar motorcycles. (The previous top record was 224.201 mph, set by John Stege.) “This is a truly historic event,” Eva Håkansson says. “It is the first time in over a century that an electric vehicle beats internal combustion for a vehicle type. The last time this happened was in 1899 when the world’s fastest car was the electric car ‘La Jamais Contente’ driven by Camille Jenatzy at 65 mph. Since then, internal combustion has dominated everything.” Well, until now. The record runs at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials on August 28 2014 give Eva and KillaJoule the titles:
- Fastest electric motorcycle in the world
- Fastest sidecar motorcycle in the world (including internal combustion)
- Fastest speed of the event
- Fastest woman on a motorcycle in the world
The 33 year old Eva was then a PhD student in mechanical engineering at the NSF Center for High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures at University of Denver. However, KillaJoule is just a very expensive hobby project together with her husband Bill Dube’. Bill is also a mechanical engineer and research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA. Although the design is a team work involving family and friends, Eva has manufactured about 80 % of the vehicle herself in their two-car garage. It has taken 5 years to build the KillaJoule on a shoe-string budget. Eva and Bill define themselves as “backyard racers with high-level engineering skills”. They owe much of their success to “doing the math” to calculate exactly what will work best, instead of relying on luck, intuition or anecdotal information to find the optimal solution.
Although the KillaJoule is a fun hobby project, its real purpose is to be eco-activism in disguise. The main purpose of this 19 ft., 400 HP, sleek, sexy motorcycle is to show that eco-friendly doesn’t mean slow and boring. Eva is also on a mission to encourage girls and women to pursue a career in science and engineering.