Almost 40 Years Ago, Quicksilver Set Electric Motorcycle Land Speed Record at 165.397 mph


Mike Corbin helmet

Mike Corbin helmet

Electric vehicle history is a long story and even now we discovering new chapters and milestones.

One of such milestone was set in August 1974 when Mike Corbin (an inventor and founder of Corbin, the top motorcycle seat manufacturer in the world) set the Electric Motorcycle Land Speed Record at Bonneville with “Quicksilver”.

Speed of 165.397 mph in 1974 on an electric motorcycle? Yes. It was possible when Corbin swapped the old lead-acid pack for a new one – silver-zinc batteries made by Yardney. The name Quicksilver is derived from silver.

Such batteries had storage of about 130 Wh/kg and were the best prior to lithium-ion technology, but sadly were either primary cells without recharging capability or secondary cells with very low cycle numbers (around 200). Yardney for several decades supplied silver-zinc batteries to space missions like the latest for Curiosity on Mars.

Quicksilver had a unique drivetrain that combined two starter motors from an A-4 fighter plane.

And today, nearly 40-years later, the land speed records for motorcycles already well exceed 200 mph.

Hopefully, one more big step in battery technology will finish ICE domination in much less than 40 years.

Source: The Electric Chronicles

Categories: Bikes, General

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

6 Comments on "Almost 40 Years Ago, Quicksilver Set Electric Motorcycle Land Speed Record at 165.397 mph"

newest oldest most voted

Thanks for the link, Mark, but could you change the credit to read “The Electric Chronicles” please? Thanks, and feel free to delete this comment.

no problem, fixed

Thank you sir, and thanks for the interest in electric motorcycle history! I’ve been slowly working on a book – you can read more here:

I’m hoping to have it complete before summer.


Is there any chance that motorcycle is still around? We’d love to have it in our “World’s Largest Electric Vehicle Gathering” on August 10, 2014 in Long Beach, California.

That will be the kick-off event for the All Electric Vehicle Rally, “BC2BC-2014”, 1500 miles from Mexico to Canada.

Tony Williams
Rally Organizer
1500 Miles from Mexico to Canada
August 10, 2014 until August 17, 2014 Official Website #BC2BC

It is amazing how far motorcycle have come. It is crazy to think about where we will be 40 year from now!