It’s long been said that electric vehicles just can’t match the speed of gasoline-fueled rides. But longtime motorcycle racer and builder Shawn Lawless just put that notion to rest. Earlier this month, his Rocket EV bike hit 201 miles per hour in 6.94 seconds in an exhibition sprint at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Originally built in 2010 with help from the famous Orange County Choppers in a two-episode television special, the Rocket made history as the first EV to break the quarter mile in less than seven seconds. The driver was Larry “Spiderman” McBride, a 30-year veteran in racing supercharged, nitro-burning motorcycles (His moniker comes by way of an announcer’s comment at the 1980 NHRA U.S. National about McBride’s style of crawling around on his motorcycle to keep it in the groove).
The Rocket boasts a 150-pound, 1.2 k Wh battery and runs on a 13-inch DC motor with a custom Zilla controller. Lawless and his crew, which includes McBride and his brother Steve McBride of Cycle Specialties, have been tinkering with the bike since its 2010 debut. But a recent engine overhaul made way for the record-breaking feat.