Building world-class, two-wheel electric transportation with superior efficiency, performance, and affordability.
Lightning Motors was founded in 2006 by Richard Hatfield who after 25 years building a financial company decided to combine his passion for motorcycles with his commitment to the environment. In 1995, Richard was invited to be the driver for an electric Porsche race team dedicated to winning a national electric vehicle road race championship. At that time, the battery technology didn’t provide enough energy density, but the electric Porsche provided a glimpse into the possibilities of electric vehicle technology and ignited Richard’s interest. As a lifelong motorcyclist Richard believed that the lighter weight and aerodynamics of 2-wheel vehicles was better suited to the energy density of batteries. This was the beginning of Lightning Motors Corporation and Richard’s quest to achieve parity with internal combustion engine motorcycles.
In 2006 when lithium battery technology became available, Lightning converted a Yamaha R1 race bike (“E1”) to the first lithium battery electric sport bike in the world. The “E1” provided proof that lithium battery motorcycles could compete with gas motorcycles.
Based on our initial success, Lightning designed and built a new prototype electric superbike. In October 2009 Motorcyclist magazine proclaimed that “The Salt Flats Have Never Been This Quiet!” when Lightning broke a longstanding land speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats. Lightning continued developing the technology and won the first North American Zero Emissions Championship in 2010. In 2011, Lightning broke its own land speed record twice more and became the 1st electric motorcycle to exceed 200 mph. Lightning continued the success in FIM ePower races by achieving two 1st place finishes at Infineon Raceway, won the Laguna Seca race and won the FIM World Finals at Le Mans.
Each of these accomplishments was one step closer to Lightning’s goal of winning major motorsports events against the world’s top ICE motorcycles. In 2013, Lightning won first overall at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb beating the best gasoline race motorcycles by over 20 seconds. This was a historic milestone for Lightning and the accomplishment of a goal that only a few years prior most experts thought was impossible. With the Pikes Peak win, Lightning began to convert EV skeptics into believers.
As we achieved our technology goals, the Lightning team formulated the next mission of accelerating the adoption of electric motorcycles by bringing compelling performance and value to market.