Oct 20, 2016 | By Tess

While it may not look like your run of the mill motorcycle, the KillaJoule vehicle, developed and operated by Swedish engineer Eva Håkansson, currently holds the world record for fastest electric motorcycle with an impressive speed of 248.746 mph (400.2 kph). Håkansson, who has been working on the KillaJoule for some time, has unsurprisingly used and integrated 3D printing into the development of the electric vehicle, continually making it better, faster, and more eco-friendly than before.

Håkansson, who is a self-described speed junkie and tree hugger, is hoping to not only break records with the KillaJoule electric motorcycle, but is hoping to ultimately promote electric vehicles and demonstrate how fast, not to mention how cool, they can be. Additionally, as not only the world’s fastest female motorcycle rider, but also as a mechanical engineer (she recently received her doctorate from the University of Denver), Håkansson is hoping to promote STEM education amongst young women and inspire them to innovate and create their own game changing technologies.

One of Håkansson’s main inspirations with the creation of the KillaJoule was to make an environmentally friendly vehicle that can still be used for racing. As the mechanical engineer explains, “The real purpose of the KillaJoule is what I call eco-activism in disguise. We want to change the general public opinion about electric vehicles and particularly changing the image that they're slow … by building something that is so fast that nobody can ignore it.”

Notably, 3D printing has been a crucial technology in allowing her to get so far with the electric vehicle design, as she has used it to prototype and create a number of the KillaJoule’s parts. For instance, Håkansson has used LulzBot 3D printers to print aerodynamic parts for the electric motorcycle’s side car, which she has also been able to print out of a biodegradable PLA material, making her eco-friendly vehicle even more environmentally conscious. For parts such as the speedometer’s housing, the engineer has used materials such as INOVA-1800, a co-polyester filament.

“There is no more wonderful, beautiful way of creating aerodynamic parts like spoilers, leading edges, and so on than 3D printing. 3D printing is the absolute optimal way of doing that,” explains Håkansson.

Not only has 3D printing allowed the Swedish-born engineer to innovate and create her own vehicle using optimal materials, but it has also allowed her to cut back on costs, thus allowing for even more innovation and advancements. Compared to more traditional machining processes, 3D printing has made cost and time efficient development feasible. In terms of the time advantage, Håkansson says she considers her 3D printers’ as almost time free, explaining that while a part may take 24 hours to print, it does not stop her from working on other parts of the machine or continuing work elsewhere.

“It’s opening a whole new dimension of manufacturing,” said Håkansson about additive manufacturing. “You can do things you can’t even dream of making otherwise.”

Every year in August, Håkansson brings her impressive KillaJoule vehicle to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where she can test out the vehicle in optimal conditions. As we’ve seen, she has even broken records there, obtaining the title for world’s fastest electric motorcycle. The KillaJoule itself runs on a lithium-ion battery, similar to ones used in cordless drills and tools, and measures 19 ft. (5.6 meters) in length.

In addition to continuing work on her electric motorcycle, Håkansson is working on developing another electric bike with even more 3D printed parts, and in the long run is hoping to become a member of NASA’s next astronaut program.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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