Chip Yates: World Record Junkie and Electric Motorcycle Pioneer! On Two Wheels Ep. 39
Chip Yates - World Record Junkie and Electric Motorcycle Pioneer and his Electric Plane Speed Record
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|Born||William Morrison Yates III |
11 February 1971
|Occupation||Inventor and Entrepreneur|
To continue his stated mission to prove that electric vehicles don’t have to be slow and boring, Yates next designed and built an all-electric airplane based on a modified Burt Rutan Long-EZ which in July 2012 he piloted over 200 MPH making it the world’s fastest electric airplane in a flight that ended with an emergency dead-stick landing following an in-flight lithium-ion battery problem. On-board video footage shows Yates barely making the runway at Inyokern Airport after the flight. Dubbed “the world’s most powerful electric airplane” and renamed “Long-ESA” for Yates’ planned “Electric Speed and Altitude” world record attempts, the composite aircraft has been modified with a front-mounted recharging probe and ballistic parachute for an attempt Yates has announced he will make at mid-air recharging the on-board battery pack from another aircraft flying in close formation.
The former professional motorcycle racer and engineer received his private pilot’s license on July 12, 2012 after two months of training and days before the record-breaking electric flight on July 18, 2012. The construction of the electric plane, earning of pilot’s license and record flight all occurred within twelve months of Yates setting the electric motorcycle world records at Bonneville in July, 2011. The week following the record flight, the Long-ESA was displayed at the 2012 EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh Wisconsin, where Yates revealed the previously unseen cockpit video and telemetry from the aircraft in a presentation for the Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. Using a patent-pending mid-air recharging concept and dubbed “Flight of the Century”, on May 22, 2012 Yates announced plans to build a 100 foot wingspan custom electric airplane that he intends to fly along Charles Lindbergh's 3,600 mile transatlantic route, receiving battery recharges from a series of five unmanned recharging aircraft enroute with the goal of matching or exceeding Lindbergh’s average speed.
His exploits in pushing electric vehicle technology earned recognition from the State of California in the form of Assembly Resolution #1740, presented to Yates in Sacramento during Senate and Assembly sessions on August 30, 2012
Early Life and CareerBorn in Portsmouth Virginia, Yates spent his early years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he displayed an early interest in mechanics. By the time he was thirteen years old he could disassemble and reassemble complete motorcycles. At age fourteen, Yates was sent to Culver Military Academy, a co-ed boarding school in Indiana where he received his high school education. He went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Business Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California where he was later hired as an adjunct faculty. In 1997 Yates replaced automotive designer Chip Foose at ASHA Corporation where he invented and patented a series of hydraulic control valves for the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. He also launched a start-up company called "SWIGZ®" to market his patented dual-chambered fitness bottle concept. 
Internal Combustion Racing CareerFrom 1999 to 2002, Yates competed in the SCCA Club Rally and Pro-Rally Series driving a 1989 Toyota MR2 that he built with a 1.6 liter supercharged engine. In 2001, Yates won the SCCA Southern Pacific (SOPAC) Group 5 (2-wheel drive class) Rally Championship. In January 2007, at age 36, Yates entered a beginner’s motorcycle track riding course at Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles, California. He became drawn to motorcycle racing, earning enough points during the 2007-2008 amateur roadracing seasons to turn professional within nineteen months of his first track experience. In 2009, Yates competed in the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class in televised professional races at Auto Club Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Laguna Seca, and Heartland Park, before his season ended prematurely with a broken pelvis sustained in a high-speed racing crash during AMA competition.
Yates also raced gasoline-powered motorcycles at the world level through his wild-card invitation and entry in the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) World Superbike Championship round in 2009 at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was the only American to qualify and finish the 2009 World Supersport Race.
Electric Racing CareerWhile unable to race due to his broken pelvis, Yates recruited two volunteer aerospace engineers, Ben Ingram and Robert Ussery, to develop an electric racing motorcycle capable of meeting his goal of equaling gasoline-powered motorcycle laptimes. Yates announced plans to ride the hand-built prototype in the newly formed TTXGP and FIM e-Power electric motorcycle race series. To accomplish gasoline performance parity, Yates and his team developed and filed patents on several new electric vehicle technologies including a kinetic energy recovery system ("KERS") designed to capture braking energy from the front wheel of the motorcycle.
 In response, Yates entered his electric motorcycle in a WERA (Western Eastern Roadracing Association) gasoline roadrace event on January 9, 2011 at Auto Club Speedway in both the Heavyweight Twins Superbike (HWTSB) class, and the Heavyweight Twins Superstock (HWTSS) class. Due to the unproven nature of the electric motorcycle, Yates was required to start the race from the back of the grid. During the race, Yates rode past numerous gasoline-powered superbikes to finish 2nd place in HWTSS, and 3rd place in HWTSB with a top speed on the straightaway of 158 MPH. The act of beating gasoline motorcycles with a self-built electric motorcycle to two podium results was hailed by some members of the motorcycle and mainstream media as historically significant.
In February, 2011, Yates returned to Auto Club Speedway and announced his intention to set a professional level laptime fast enough to qualify the electric prototype motorcycle for an AMA Pro Daytona SportBike series event despite its claimed 585 pound curb weight. Yates’ best laptime from the gas versus electric race the month prior was 1:39.0, which would require a 3.12 second improvement to get down to an AMA qualifying laptime of 1:35.88. Yates was unable to close the gap, ending the test effort with a best laptime of 1:37.308 and top speed on the straightaway of 163.7 MPH, an improvement of 1.692 seconds over his previous best time, but still 1.428 seconds short of his AMA goal.
After the Auto Club Speedway gasoline versus electric race and AMA gasoline superbike laptime attempts, Yates entered the electric motorcycle in the Mojave Mile Shootout competition on April 10, 2011, setting an unofficial land speed world record of 190.6 MPH. He then entered the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 26, 2011, setting the record for the most powerful motorcycle (240 horsepower) of any kind to enter the race in its 89-year history, and setting the official outright record for the fastest electric motorcycle to complete the hill climb, beating the previous record holder’s time by over four minutes.
The final act of Yates’ electric superbike campaign took place at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Utah desert at the BUB FIM / AMA Speed Trials August 27-September 1, 2011. During the event, Yates and his team overcame a broken chain, high speed instability and a 150 MPH crash into a mile marker signpost to set eight official FIM World Landspeed Records, four AMA National Championship Records, and the Guinness Book of World Records title of “World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle”.
Yates has occasionally appeared on television in interviews with NBC's morning show "Today in the Bay", PBS’s feature series "Real Orange", and he recently hosted a Discovery Channel aviation show on the Spruce Goose, for Discovery’s "World’s Top Five" series.
Electric Motorcycle Records and Performance
|World Record#||Bonneville Course Length||Average Speed (mi/hr)||Average Speed (km/hr)||FIM Class and Weight|
|1||Flying Mile||196.420||316.107||Group A1 (solo motorcycles) Division B (partially streamlined)|
|2||Flying Kilometer||196.912||316.899||Type VII (electric), Class 3 (over 300 kg)|
|3||Flying Mile||181.437||291.995||Group A1 (solo motorcycles) Division A (non-streamlined)|
|4||Flying Kilometer||181.608||292.270||Type VII (electric), Class 3 (over 300 kg)|
|5||Flying Mile||173.404||279.067||Group A1 (solo motorcycles) Division A (non-streamlined)|
|6||Flying Kilometer||174.543||280.900||Type VII (electric), Class 2 (150–300 kg)|
|7||Flying Mile||187.126||301.150||Group A1 (solo motorcycles) Division B (partially streamlined)|
|8||Flying Kilometer||186.982||300.773||Type VII (electric), Class 2 (100–300 kg)|
|Record#||Class||Average Speed (mi/hr)|
|World's Fastest Electric Motorcycle||196.912 mph||316.889 km/hr|
|2011 Record Finishing Time (Electric Motorcycles)||12:50.094 minutes|
|Best Lap Time||1:37:308 minutes|
|2011 Best Speed (standing start)||190.6 mph|
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- "US Patent: Dual cavity bottle". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013. "US Patent: Angled dual outlet closure". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013. "US Patent: Helical blow molding preform and method of manufacturing". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013. "US Patent: MULTIPLE CHAMBER BOTTLE AND METHOD OF FILLING AND ASSEMBLING SAME". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013. "US Patent: Multiple cavity bottle and method of manufacturing same". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013. "US Patent: DUAL CAVITY SPORTS BOTTLE WITH SOURCE SELECTING CLOSURE". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
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