Lightning Motorcycle announces the ultimate Superbike LS-218 and it’s electric

Lightning Motorcycle LS-218
Lightning Motorcycle LS-218

2013 Pikes Peak Lightning MotorcycleLightning Motorcycle announces the ultimate Superbike LS-218 and it’s electric. It’s been a while in the making and the Lightning Motorcycle team is happy to announce the motorcycle that will change the face of the motorcycle industry, the LS-218. The first commercial electric motorcycle from the company will be revealed this weekend at the Quail Lodge in California on Saturday at 10AM. CarNewsCafe will be there for this momentous occasion. See our interview with Richard Hatfield, CEO at Lightning Motorcycle here.

Why is it so important?

Lightning Motorcycle has done things in the right order. It first built the technology, then it created a unique culture in-house, the rest is now history in the making. The results of four years of designing, research, building and intense racing, hard earned wins, which culminated last year with 22 seconds in front of the best Ducati at Pikes Peak. We were lucky enough to witness it, and it was a defining moment in history. Since then, the Superbike continued to win and set records at the FIM EPower championships at Le Mans 24 Hours, TTXGP wins, all on electricity.

A little history

LightningWinPikesPeak2013So who is Lightning Motorcycle? In 2006, Lightning converted a Yamaha R1 race bike to electricity using Lithium batteries. It boasted over 60 horsepower, nearly 70 foot pounds of torque, with a range of over 60 miles and a top speed of 100 MPH. This Skyline Drive became the early prototype, which, according to the LA Times and its test ride, was the motivation for the electric competitions on the Isle Of Man and in the US, now known as the TT Zero.

Later in 2009, Lightning Motorcycle took on the Salt Flats with a historic SCTA World Finals at the Bonneville Salt Flats achieving a top speed of 166.388 MPH on an electric motorcycle. It placed the Lightning Motorcycle then as the fastest production electric motorcycle in the world. By 2011, Lightning Motorcycle set a new world land speed record of 215.907mph (218 MPH top speed) at Bonneville, UT, an impressive 40 MPH improvement from the world record a year ago, also set by Lightning Motorcycle.

Superbike on solar power!

All of this is already incredible, in and of itself, but Lightning ups the ante by making its electric superbike win races and set records charged on solar energy. Lightning competed in and won the EPower/TTXGP race during the MotoGP weekend at Laguna Seca in July 2012, using solar power alone, a historical first. In November of the same year, Solar-Powered Lightning Motorcycle set New Speed Record at El Mirage.

Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, enjoy the following to get your adrenaline pumping.

Lightning Motorcycle at Pikes Peak
Lightning Motorcycle blows gasoline bikes at Pikes Peak

Lightning Motorcycles  LS-218 Specs

Transmission: Direct drive motor.

Motor: IPM liquid cooled 150kw+ 10,500 RPM, electric motor. This generates an equivalent of 200 HP and 168 ft/lbs of torque.


Two options;

380V 12 kWh battery pack, estimated 100-120 miles per charge

380V 15 kWh battery pack, estimated 120-150 miles per charge

380V 20 kWh battery pack, estimated 160-180 miles per charge

Charging: 30 mins with a quick charger or 120 minutes on level 2 charger. Weight: 495 lbs


Front, Öhlins FGRT inverted fork NIX30 cartridge internals, TiN surface treatment, billet aluminum radial caliper mountings. Fully adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping.

Rear, Billet aluminum swingarm with linear, Öhlins TTX36 Shock and linkage system Adjustment for preload, ride height, high and low speed compression and rebound

Brakes: Dual Brembo 320mm disc; Brembo radial-mount forged 4-piston calipers 2 Brembo T-Drive 320mm Fully-Floating Rotors, 2 Brembo Brembo GP4-RX CNC Radial Calipers

Regenerative braking: User programmable

Wheels & Tires:

Front, Marchesini forged magnesium 3.5″ x 17″, 120/70ZR17

Rear, Marchesini forged magnesium 6.0″ x 17″, 190/55ZR17

Seat height: 32 inches

Press Release

Fastest Production Motorcycle Now Electric – Lightning unveiling LS-218 Lightning is excited to introduce the most technologically advanced and highest performing street-legal production motorcycle in the world — the Lightning Superbike LS-218! May 12, 2014 – SAN CARLOS, Calif. — On

May 17th,2014, Lightning Motorcycle will reveal the LS-218 electric Superbike at the Quail Motorsport Gathering held in Carmel, California.

Lightning is excited to introduce the most technologically advanced and highest performing street-legal production motorcycle in the world — the Lightning Superbike LS-218!

“Since 2006 the Lightning team has been dedicated to developing electric motorcycles that meet and exceed the performance of the best ICE (Induction Combustion Engine) alternatives”, said Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning Motorcycle.“ To have broad acceptance from the motorcyclist community,we need to provide design, performance and value that competes head to head with the best gasoline motorcycles on the market. Lightning’s R&D team has developed electric vehicle technology through years of competition at racing events around the world. We believe that the LS-218 offers consumers the best of design, performance and value in today’s market.”

The Lightning LS-218 presents the first opportunity that consumers can purchase a production motorcycle capable of setting land speed records and winning road racing competitions that is as easy to ride as a 250 cc commuter bike. Lightning’s LS-218 IPM liquid cooled 10,500 rpm electric motor can produce in excess of 200 hp and 168 ft/lbs of torque. Lightning’s proprietary Ultra High Power Density Drive system allows max power setting without any concerns of overheating. At highway speed, LS-218 can exceed 100 miles range per charge with the standard battery package.  You can use the standard power outlets to charge LS-218.  At public fast charging stations, it will take less than 30 mins to charge.

The Lightning LS-218 is a direct street legal version of the same bike that won AMA and FIM races and set landspeed records. Customers can purchase a Lightning LS- 218 and have the same opportunity to win an FIM EPower race or set a land speed record themselves while still using their LS-218 as daily commuter bike.

“Consumers no longer are required to pay more for less performance to support green technology”, said Richard Hatfield , “The Lightning LS-218’s can compete with the best ICE alternatives today. Lightning achieved the goal we set in 2009 to compete against and win against the best gasoline race bikes. In June 2013 at Pikes Peak. Lighting won first overall competing against 93 other motorcycle teams (electric and gasoline) by over 20 seconds.

In addition to the performance, Lightning provides customers unprecedented options to personalize their Lightning LS-218. Some examples of available options are fully programmable Android display, carbon fiber swingarm and frame, titanium fasteners, custom graphic wrap and seating.

The Lightning LS-218 has more horsepower, more torque, more speed and more performance than any other production motorcycle on the market.

Lightning is taking reservation right now. Reserve your own Lightning LS-218. Be the first owner of LS-218 with VIN 0001!

Contact Jojo Chang ***


Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart