Image credit: Ecotricity
Wind entrepreneur Dale Vince may be a hardcore vegan who won't build wind turbines at turkey farms, and has banned red meat from the socccer stadium he owns, but he is also a bit of a petrolhead. His "wind-powered" electric supercar has already garnered a lot of reaction, and now he is sponsoring a "wind-powered" superbike too. In fact, it's going to race at the legendary TT races in the Isle of Man.
Electric Motor Bike Aims to Smash Speed Record
The Ion Horse electric superbike has been created by Kingston University, is sponsored by Vince's energy company Ecotricity, and is being taken to the Isle of Man to compete in the most prestigious zero emission electric motorbike race in the world.
The creators of this GB£150,000 bike are hoping to become the first electric bike to complete a lap of the circuit with an average speed of over 100mph, claiming a cash prize of GB£10,000 from the Isle of Man Government which has so far been unclaimed since the electric-bike event was founded. Vince suggested that the project provides a glimpse at the future of transportation:
"Following hard on the heels of our wind powered car, the Nemesis - comes Ion Horse our wind powered bike. The guys at Kingston have built an amazing machine and we expect it to take the TT by storm. It's another great demonstration of how transport of the very near future will be - powered by renewable energy, made in Green Britain - and with zero pollution."
A Glimpse of the "Near Future" of Transportation?
Just how much such initiatives contribute to a workable model for wider transportation choices will depend on your perspective, of course. When Vince first launched his Nemesis wind-powered car, it attracted a lot of attention—both positive and negative.
While many people were excited about a project that could further demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles, some were concerned about yet another toy for the rich as opposed to a practical mode of transportation, and yet others were derisive of the idea that it was "wind powered". (Though as I've said before, given the number of wind turbines Mr Vince has built, and the fact he is powering his car using electricity from green sources, I am inclined to give him a pass on that one.) I suspect that the Ion Horse project will be similarly divisive.
Just One Piece of the Puzzle
It goes without saying that bike-friendly cities, public transportation, telecommuting, car sharing and more affordable electric vehicles all rank well above electric supercars and superbikes on the TreeHugger wish list.
But as long as speed freaks remain, I'm delighted to see them running on batteries.