Chip Yates

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Chip Yates
Born William Morrison Yates III
11 February 1971 (age 42)
Portsmouth, Virginia
Occupation Inventor and Entrepreneur
Years active 1998-present
Chip Yates (born February 11, 1971 as William Morrison Yates III) is an American inventor and electrical vehicle pioneer[1] best known for risky record-setting feats in electric vehicles of his own design.[2] He designed and built the record-breaking SWIGZ.COM electric motorcycle,[3] which in 2011 he rode over 200 MPH[4] to 8 official World Land Speed Records,[5][6] 4 AMA National Championship Records,[7] the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record,[8] and the Guinness Book of World Records title of “World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle”.[9] Dubbed "the world’s most powerful electric superbike",[10] the motorcycle is now on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum[11] in Los Angeles, California.
To continue his stated mission to prove that electric vehicles don’t have to be slow and boring,[12] 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[13] in a flight that ended with an emergency dead-stick landing following an in-flight lithium-ion battery problem.[14] On-board video footage shows Yates barely making the runway at Inyokern Airport after the flight. Dubbed “the world’s most powerful electric airplane”[15] and renamed “Long-ESA” for Yates’ planned “Electric Speed and Altitude”[13] 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.[16]
The former professional motorcycle racer and engineer received his private pilot’s license on July 12, 2012 after two months of training[17] 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.[2] The week following the record flight, the Long-ESA was displayed at the 2012 EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh Wisconsin,[13] where Yates revealed the previously unseen cockpit video and telemetry[1] from the aircraft in a presentation for the Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation.[18] 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.[19]
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[20]

Early Life and Career

Born in Portsmouth Virginia,[21] 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.[22] At age fourteen, Yates was sent to Culver Military Academy,[23] 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.[24] In 1997 Yates replaced automotive designer Chip Foose at ASHA Corporation where he invented and patented a series of hydraulic control valves[25] for the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. He also launched a start-up company called "SWIGZ®" to market his patented dual-chambered fitness bottle concept. [26]

Internal Combustion Racing Career

From 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.[27] In January 2007, at age 36, Yates entered a beginner’s motorcycle track riding course at Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles, California.[28] 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.[29] 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.[21]
Yates also raced gasoline-powered motorcycles at the world level through his wild-card invitation and entry[30] 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 Career

While 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.[31] 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.[32]

Yates and the electric motorcycle at Bonneville
Although the electric motorcycle was completed in time to race the 2011 electric motorcycle schedule, the TTXGP and FIM e-Power series both adopted a new-for-2011 maximum weight rule that effectively excluded Yates’ motorcycle from competition based on a lower maximum allowable weight.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[35][36]
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.[37]
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.[38] 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,[39] 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.[40]
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”.[41]
Yates has occasionally appeared on television in interviews with NBC's morning show "Today in the Bay", PBS’s feature series "Real Orange",[22] 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

Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) World Records
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)
AMA National Championship - National Records
Record# Class Average Speed (mi/hr)
1 300 kg-A-W 173.574
2 Unlimited-A-W 181.439
3 Unlimited-APS-W 196.42
4 300 kg-APS-W 187.142
Guinness Book of World Records
World's Fastest Electric Motorcycle 196.912 mph 316.889 km/hr
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
2011 Record Finishing Time (Electric Motorcycles) 12:50.094 minutes
AutoClub Speedway Lap Time
Best Lap Time 1:37:308 minutes
Mojave Mile Shootout
2011 Best Speed (standing start) 190.6 mph


  1. ^ a b "Chip Yates all-electric Long-ESA aircraft breaks 200 mph speed barrier". Retrieved 7/24/2012.
  2. ^ a b Demorro, Christopher. "Video: Chip Yates Sets Electric Airplane Speed Record". Gas 2.0. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  3. ^ Blain, Loz. "Chip Yates prepares to race his 196-horsepower electric superbike against the gas-guzzlers". Retrieved 04/01/2013.
  4. ^ Siler, Wes (02/21/2012). "Ride onboard as Chip Yates hits 200mph". Hell For Leather. Retrieved 03/30/2012.
  5. ^ "FIM WORLD RECORDS (from 1979 - present) - Electric - Over 300 kg". Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. Retrieved 04/01/2013.
  6. ^ "FIM WORLD RECORDS (from 1979 - present) - Electric - Over 150kg up to 300kg". Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. Retrieved 04/01/2013.
  7. ^ "2011 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials ~ AMA National Records". BUB Speed Trials. Retrieved 04/01/2013.
  8. ^ Beeler, Jensen (06/28/2011). "On-Board Chip Yates’s Electric Superbike at Pikes Peak". Asphalt and Rubber. Retrieved 07/04/2011.
  9. ^ "Fastest Electric Motorcycle". Guinness Book of World Records. Retrieved 04/01/2013.
  10. ^ "Chip Yates to Debut Electric Superbike at The Battery Show". EV World. Retrieved 05/10/2012.
  11. ^ Allen, Kathleen. "Chip Yates: no small stuff for this technology entrepreneur". The Venture Edge. Retrieved 04/01/2013.
  12. ^ Berg, Tom (02/21/2011). "He makes history, fast, on electric motorcycle". Orange County Register. Retrieved 03/22/2013.
  13. ^ a b c Paur, Jason (07/19/2012). "Record-Setting Electric Airplane Breaks 200-MPH Barrier for First Time". Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  14. ^ Hidalgo, Jason (07/27/2012). "Extra footage of record-setting Yates electric plane flight shows power loss, dramatic deadstick landing (video)". Engadget. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  15. ^ Carter, Patrick (07/31/2012). "Lindbergh Inspiration Balancing nature and technology". Plane and Pilot Magazine. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  16. ^ Boyle, Rebecca (07/16/2012). "Recharged in Midair By Flying Battery-Drones, Electric Aircraft May Never Have to Land". Popular Science. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  17. ^ Paur, Jason (07/26/2012). "Exclusive Video: The Story Behind a Record-Setting Electric Airplane Flight". Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  18. ^ Yates, Chip. ["" "Lindbergh Foundation Ignite Series - Chip Yates Presentation"].
  19. ^ Ridden, Paul (05/31/2012). "All-electric aircraft to emulate Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight". Retrieved 04/02/2012.
  20. ^ "Senator Jean Fuller Introduces Chip Yates on the Senate Floor". Senator Jean Fuller. Retrieved 04/02/2013.Yates, Chip. "Honored by California Assembly and Senate". Flight of the Century. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  21. ^ a b "AMA Rider Biography - Chip Yates". AMA Pro Road Racing. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  22. ^ a b "Youtube - PBS Television Feature on Chip Yates - Electric Superbike and Electric Airplane". Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  23. ^ "Chip Yates - LinkedIn Profile". Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  24. ^ "Chip Yates Biography". EAA Airventure. Experimental Aircraft Association. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  25. ^ "US Patent: Check valve". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013. "US Patent: Limited slip differential having thermal compensating valve for regulating torque bias". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013. "US Patent: Limited slip differential with temperature compensating valve". Google Patents. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ Siler, Wes (03/24/2011). "Chip Yates enters Pikes Peak Hill Climb". Hell For Leather Magazine. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  28. ^ "Between the Races: Chip Yates". 11/15/2010. Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  29. ^ "Youtube - Chip Yates: From First Year Novice to AMA Pro Racer". Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  30. ^ "American Chip Yates Gets Wild Card Entry For World Supersport Race At Miller Motorsports Park". RoadRacing World. April 29, 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  31. ^ "Youtube - Chip Yates Electric Superbike 2010 Program". Retrieved 04/02/2013.
  32. ^ Trevitt, Andrew (June 2011). "Chip Yates' Electric Superbike". Sport Rider Magazine. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  33. ^ Yoney, Domenick. "Chip Yates cries foul after rule change, won't compete in 2011 TTXGP". Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  34. ^ Beeler, Jensen (12/09/2010). "Chip Yates’ Electric Motorcycle Will Take On Gas-Powered Competition in WERA Race".
  35. ^ a b Squatriglia, Chuck (Jan 10 2011). "Electric Superbike Kicks Some Gas-Bike Ass". Wired. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  36. ^ Current, Jon. "Chip Yates Puts Electric Bike on Gas Podium". All About Bikes. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  37. ^ Evon, Dan (02/15/2011). "Chip Yates Brings Electric Motorcycle Within 1.5 Seconds of Daytona Sportbike Qualifying Time". All About Bikes Magazine. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  38. ^ Squatriglia, Chuck (04/13/2011). "Electric Motorcycle Hits 190.6 MPH". Wired. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  39. ^ Beeler, Jensen (06/27/2011). "PPIHC: Chip Yates Races the Most Powerful Motorcycle Ever on Pikes Peak – Sets New Record for Electric Motorcycles". Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  40. ^ "SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing's Chip Yates Sets New Pikes Peak Record". EV World. 06/28/2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  41. ^ Nichol, Mark (9/06/2011). "Video: Eight land speed records in one week". AOL Cars. Retrieved 7 April 2013.

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