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The Lightning Story: Chapter 1 – First Lightning Strike

Over the next few weeks we will be posting the Lightning history and updating our timeline to get us to a very exciting announcement in April.  To begin with we want to talk about that first lightning strike and what sparked the idea to create this company.

Lightning e1 photo at the Ritz HMB small

Richard Hatfield our founder and CEO has been a motorcycle rider since he was 12 yrs old.  He became interested in electric vehicles in 1994 after driving an electrified Porsche.  He drove the car in racing events in 1996-1997, and became very interested in EVs and started thinking about where this technology was going and could it be used in motorcycles.

The key was finding the right battery technology.  He finally found a source for lithium batteries with the right size, current and amps that he could use to build a bike.   An AC motor and controller were installed in a Yamaha R1 Race bike that became the donor chassis and the project began.

The bike was built in 2006 and 2007 and made it’s first appearance in this video by the LA Times in 2007.

Watch on Youtube

In 2009, the promoters for the first electric motorcycle race staged at the Isle of Man stated that the LA Times video with the first Lightning bike inspired the idea to convince the Isle of Man to create an EV class at the TT.  This would eventually become the TT Zero, the world’s premier electric motorsport event.

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