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A book about how technology, innovation, renewable energy and the electric powertrain transformed motorsports in the 21st century.
A book about how technology, innovation, renewable energy and the electric powertrain transformed motorsports in the 21st century.
A book about how technology, innovation, renewable energy and the electric powertrain transformed motorsports in the 21st century.
95 backers pledged $11,542 to help bring this project to life.

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Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles

$11,542

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Remember the first electric motorcycle you ever saw?  I do.  In 2006, the Killacycle, a battery-powered drag bike changed the way I saw electric vehicle technology forever.  From that moment on, I was obsessed. 

Electric vehicle technology began in the earliest days of cars - losing the battle with gas engines as far back as the early 1900s.  After a short-lived rekindling of interest in the latter days of the 20th century, we saw an explosion of electric vehicle technology, with motorcycles at the forefront, starting with the dawn of the 21st century.  Today, electric motorcycles compete on the same field as gas bikes - and often surpass them.  

The story of electric motorcycles is the story of scientific research, technological innovation and the confluence of technologies.  ...but it's another story too.  It's the story of how the power delivery of a high-performance, no-compromise, pure-electric drivetrain can redefine transportation, motorsports and the perception of renewable energy.  It's the story of power in flux.

Join me on a very personal journey within this small community of innovators - from industry leaders to garage mechanics - to experience how a revolution in motorsports - as well as technology and innovation - happens.

The Project - Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles

8.5 x 11", ~250pp, full color printing with perfect-bound hard and soft-cover.

The chapter outline is a work in progress, but here are my current chapter summaries:

Chapters:

The Timelines:

• Battery development • Brand development • Community/forums • Racing

The Pre-history – makes and models, tests and development:

• The Age of Lead • 1900 to 1950 • the late 20th century • The Dawn of Lithium • The 2000s

Battery and Supporting Tech Development:

• A Short History of Lithium Battery Research • The BMS • The Motor and Controller Equation

The People (notable cast and characters of the 2002-present period):

• Mike Corbin • Michael Czysz • Terry Hershner • Chip Yates • Craig Bramscher • Livia Cevolini • Jeff Disinger • Carl Vogel • Shawn Lawless • Luke Workman • Azhar Hussain • Cedric Lynch • Neal Saiki • Brian Richardson • Bill Dube and Eva Håkansson • Craig Vetter •Richard Hatfield

The Student Teams: Ohio State • Purdue • Virginia Tech • Kingston University (others)

The Australians - A continent in flux:

• Danny Ripperton • The Voltron • Racing

Europe and the UK

The Communities:

Endless Sphere (and the e-bike crossover) • Elmoto • ElectricMotorcycleForum • V is for Voltage • DIY Electric Car • Brammo Owners Forum

Racing:

• The Early Years (Team Bettimoto and the EVN CUP) • The Isle of Man • TTXGP • FIM • eMotoRacing • MotoE • eFXC • Land Speed Racing • Drag Racing

The Brands:

• Zero • Brammo • Energica • Harley Davidson • Electric Motorsport • Agility Saietta • Quantya • KTM • Mission Motors • BRD • Vectrix • Electric Moto • ELMOTO • MotoCzysz • Oset • Roehr • Bell • Lito • Sarolea • Lightning • Amorak  (others)

World's Firsts, Records and Feats:

Mike Corbin • The NEDRA • KillaCycle • Chip Yates • Shawn Lawless • Lightning • Mission • Nathan Abbott • Terry Hershner • Team MotoElectra • Pikes Peak • Charlie MacArthur (more)

The Medicine Show: Snake Oil, Magic Batteries and Perpetual Motion - the PT Barnum Effect.

The Future of Electric Motorcycle - Overtaking a century of carbon-fuel development: Mainstream Manufacturers • Emerging Brands • Custom Builders

• • •

Much of the research I've compiled can be seen here: The Electric Chronicles: History category.

The final result will be a full-format book, 8 1/2 x 11, and 250 pages in full color.  The details of the design can change, but the scale and scope of the book will remain the same: a conclusive, complete history.

Risks and challenges

The challenges of this book are the challenges faced by anyone putting a work like this together - gaining access to sources, compiling information, writing, editing and designing the book itself. I have a few things going for me.

I've done it before. My "Pipeline Series", published by Sterling Publications, was a 2-year project of four 250+p books, all devoted to digital photography and the RAW file process. After that, I put together "...from Fossils to Flux", a small introduction to building your own electric motorcycle, filling a void in resources available for people looking for access to the basic information.

I've also been an active member in the electric motorcycle community - in the words of Terry Hershner, multiple record holder for his cross-country electric motorcycle exploits, "You know EVERYBODY in electric motorcycles...".

I have a lot of the work started. I know the people and the timelines, because I was there. I have personal friends like Mike Corbin - who set the Land Speed Record in the early '70s on a bike powered by the same batteries used by NASA. I've been compiling information since 2006 on The Electric Chronicles, and it's time to put that together into one coherent volume.

The challenge? Simply, getting the work done. With your help, that work happens, and I can roll up my sleeves and start.

Where does the money go? Most of it will go into printing costs, but a portion of it will help me devote more of my freelance writing and editing time on this project. It's a labor of love, but like any full-time profession, writers have to keep the wolf from the door too. Photographers, artists and other contributors will be paid for their work as well.

I've allowed a year for this project to reach completion - 6 months for preparing the manuscript, and 6 months for the production - design, layout and printing.

Your support will let me give this project the full attention it deserves, and make it what I know it can be - the definitive story of a remarkable time of exploration and innovation.

Please note: ALL REWARD LEVELS will include a PDF file of the book for your use. (I neglected to mention that, and now can't edit the Rewards.)

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Thank you for your support! $20 entitles you to an electronic version of "Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles" in pdf form, delivered to a computer near you.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    One last, last-minute reward! Jeff Disinger ("Dice") of Predator and Electacutioner fame has offered the amazing! For $40 you get not only the electronic version of Power in Flux, but you get a 16 x 20" personally autographed photo of the legendary shot of Predator! (See Update 8 for details)

    Lovingly printed (by me, personally) on 100% archival Baryta gicleé stock, and personally inscribed to you (or whoever you request), this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

    And THANKS DICE!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    SWAG!

    OK, you gotta bear with me on this one, but here's the deal. In addition to getting an electronic version of the book, I'm lining up signed prints of that AMAZING photo of Mike Corbin setting the Land Speed Record on the Quicksilver bike, but we're still working out the details. I'm ALSO working on getting original TTXGP t-shirts! We're not 100% confirmed, but if everything else falls through I'll guarantee a free Charge DVD, how's that?

    Take a chance, it's a bit of a gamble, but if I can do one, or the other, or both, then I'll do it... stay tuned for the update.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Your awesome $75 pledge gives you a perfect bound, soft-cover limited-edition copy of "Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles", in full-color, full-sized format.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Enjoy your hard-bound, full-color edition of "Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles" for years to come! Lovingly produced with the highest quality, this book will be the envy of your motorcycle-loving friends.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You're a True Believer!

    Along with your hard-bound, signed copy of "Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles", you get three soft-cover editions for your friends and family, an electronic version - along with an acknowledgement in the book!

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    You are truly a Patron Saint of Electric Motorcycles. You're also my ad-hoc editor and publisher.

    For your loyal support, you get three hard-bound, signed copies of "Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles", and a personal acknowledgement on the title page. You also get up to 5 additional copies of the book's soft bound version, and the electronic version.

    You will also get frequent updates and drafts of the manuscripts - physical drafts - for your notations, comments and suggestions. Every author is only as good as their editor, and you've got the job.

    Stay tuned. I may have one more little treat for you, but arrangements must be made and red tape must be cut.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Seriously? You rock beyond all measure.

    On top of all the stuff listed above in the Patron Saint level, for the $5000 sponsor level Chris Bell of Brutus Motorcycles has offered to host a "Build with Bell Day". A full tour of the Brutus Motorcycle shop in Boulder City NV, with a ride around Lake Mead with one of the working test bikes, (probably the V9).

    I'll fly you out there, (round-trip ticket, the cost will be limited to the contiguous US fares) you need a license, and to be considerate of Chris' hospitality we have to limit this to 3 people.

    Read more about Brutus at www.brutusmotorcycle.com

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Funding period

- (30 days)