This is the first of two parts about the cousins Hans-Henrik Thomsen and Glenn Ellegaard Nielsen and their amazing efforts in electrifying the drag racing sport. They have built and driven battery-powered vehicles for drag racing since 2007, resulting in 7 — still standing — world records with 4 different vehicles: 2 motorcycles and 2 cars.
They call themselves True Cousins and I reached out to them after seeing their performance at the track. Being totally astounded by the extreme contrast of their powerful machines compared to the usual loud combustion powered drag racers, I just had to learn more about their work.
Hans-Henrik Thomsen has the pleasure of riding the bikes, and please be warned: the following contains mind boggling numbers!
It all started with 2 x 12V lead-acid batteries, but soon the number of batteries grew to 4 and 16 in the Silver Giant motorcycles at 24V and 48V respectively — and it resulted in the first world record. Later, they got the first lithium batteries and the reward was the next record, an improvement of their record in the 48V class.
Silver Giant I Specifications (2009):
Motors: 4 x 12V (from hydraulic pumps)
Batteries: 16 x Odyssey PC625
Weight: 177 kg
World record holder in the DMC/J class (NEDRA)
Top speed: 150 km/h
1/8-mile: 8.677 sec.
0-100 km/h: 5.7 sec.
Power: approx. 36 rear wheel HP
Silver Giant II Specifications (2010):
Motors: 4 x 24V (from hydraulic pumps HF)
Batteries: 48V Lithium-Polymer battery pack from Positive
Weight: 129 kg (133 kg incl. wheelie-bar)
World record holder in the DMC/I class (NEDRA)
Gearbox: Pneumatic 2-speed, automatic
Frame: 3 mm aluminium
Top speed: approx. 150 km/h
1/8-mile: 7.80 sec.
0-100 km/h: 3.7 sec.
Power: 50 rear wheel HP (dyno)
The cousins decided to step up the game in 2010 with the construction of the Silver Bullitt sharing a battery pack with the first car, the TC9. The battery pack was built with Li-Po cells in modules of 48V, making it easier to change voltage and thus competition class.
With inspiration from other drag bikes and the legendary KillaCycle, the frame was designed and later built in a 1 inch steel tube.
This time, they even designed and built the BMS (Battery Management System), controllers, charging system, and everything else from the ground up.
In 2012, the first record with Silver Bullitt of 6.75 seconds at 1/8-mile was achieved in the 96V class, followed by a record in 2013 of 5.58 seconds for the 1/8-mile and 1.3 seconds for the 0–100 km/h race in the 144V class.
In order to keep the tradition around the “Silver” name and also add a special look, the area between the tubing was covered with 1 mm aluminium plates, which is actually 1–1.5 kg lighter compared to plates made in glass-fibre.
Needless to say, the spelling of the name is a tribute to 1970s action hero Steve McQueen and the famous movie “Bullitt.”
The plan for 2014 was to move to the 192V class, but a series of instability problems meant that for 2013 and all of 2014 no real improvements in ET (Elapsed Time) were achieved. However, during 2015, several modifications were made to the bike, like enforcement of the rear end, a stiffer rear tire, and re-location of the steering damper.
During 2015, a series of good runs and ETs finally resulted in the quickest ever 1/8-mile ET for an electric motorcycle at 5.16 seconds, with a top speed of 222 km/h, which was an improvement over the legendary KillaCycle. This was the third record for Silver Bullitt in a row, making a nice hat trick. No other vehicle at NEDRA holds 3 concurrent world records.
They aim to go below 5 seconds, with 4.5 seconds being the ultimate goal at 1/8-mile. The quickest run ever on any electric drag vehicle was done by Larry McBride on The Rocket in 6.92 seconds at 1/4-mile.
During the winter of 2016–2017, an upgrade of Silver Bullitt began with a new and more powerful battery pack able to deliver 600kW of power (previously, it was 400kW at 250V) through a pair of new and similarly powerful controllers.
Silver Bullitt Specifications (2011–2017):
Chassis: 1” steel tube
Body: 1 mm aluminium plates
Tyres: Hoosier 15 x 29 x 11″
Motors: 2 x 7.5 ” 48V
Battery pack: 400+ HP (TC design + BMS)
Controller: 2 x TC controllers: Max 1500 Amps each
Weight: 265 kg (without rider)
Performance 2012 — 96V:
1/8-mile: 6.75 sec.
Speed at line: 155 km/h
Best 60”: 1.54 sec.
0–100 km/h: 1.80 sec.
Performance 2013 — 144V:
1/8-mile: 5.58 sec.
Speed at line: 193 km/h
Best 60”: 1.34 sec.
0–100 km/h: 1.36 sec.
Performance 2014 — 144V:
1/8-mile: 5.56 sec.
Speed at line: 200 km/h
Best 60”: 1.30 sec.
0–100 km/h: 1.28 sec.
1/4-mile: 10.3 sec.
Speed at line: approx. 225 km/h
Performance 2015 — 200V:
1/8-mile: 5.16 sec.
Speed at line: 222 km/h
Best 60”: 1.30 sec.
0–100 km/h: 1.28 sec.
Performance 2017 — 400V:
1/8-mile: 4.82 sec.
Speed at line: 230 km/h
Best 60”: 1.19 sec.
0–100 km/h: 1.1 sec.
Goals for 2018
Hans-Henrik is hoping for some crazy runs this year:
“We are currently building a new 600kW battery pack for Silver Bullitt, so hopefully we can beat the fastest time ever set with an electric vehicle driven by legendary Larry McBride on ‘The Rocket’ at 1/8-mile in 4.499 sec. At the same time, we will try to get the time registered in Guinness Book of Records: Fastest standing 1/8-mile electric motorcycle.”
We will see what happens at Mantorp Park in Sweden this season, where they also have the chance of doing 1/4 runs. Can’t wait!