Quicksilver: The Forgotten Electric Motorcycle

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In August of 1974, Mike Corbin (of motorcycle seat fame) set a motorcycle land speed record of 165.397 mph on a bike he named “Quicksilver.” The catch: it was entirely battery powered.

Many people mistakenly think electric motorcycles are a new phenomenon, when in fact battery operated motorcycles have been around for quite some time. It’s only now that battery technology has reached a point of being moderately affordable.

In the case of Quicksilver, it was fitted with silver-zinc batteries (this was before lithium-ion) from a company called Yardney, who also supplied NASA with silver-zinc batteries for its space missions. Considering this, it’s easy to imagine the enormous cost involved with securing these batteries for private use. The drivetrain was also unique in that it featured two starter motors from an A-4 fighter jet.

Silver-zinc technology never caught on with the EV world due to its limited recharging capabilities and the advent of lithium-ion technology. Corbin has since gone on to bigger fortunes in the seat industry, while Quicksilver currently resides at the Small Wonders Microcar Museum in Crystal Lake, IL.

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