Ēlektra

While the Koch brothers plot the extinction of electric vehicles1 and possibly by default the human race, one woman shines brightly2 in the fight to make electric vehicles exciting, and therefore appealing to the masses. Born in Sweden in 1981, this race driver with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering holds the distinction of being the world’s fastest female motorcyclist.

Eva Håkansson & the KillaJoule

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“My mission is to show that eco-friendly can be fast and fun, and hopefully make people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in low-emission vehicles be aware of their potential. Speed is a great way of showing the potential of battery power, because fast is always in fashion!”

August, 2014. The Bonneville Salt Flats. The KillaJoule, a sidecar streamliner motorcycle piloted by Eva Håkansson, sets an electric motorcycle speed record of 240.726mph in the flying mile (measured after the vehicle hits top speed, for one mile). The KillaJoule was hand-built by Eva and her team in her garage. Her crew chief, co-designer and co-builder is also her husband, Bill Dubé, who has set a few records of his own with the legendary KillaCycle, an electric drag bike that will do 0 to 60 in LESS THAN ONE SECOND. Together, they’re out to make people interested in electric vehicles. Setting land speed records is certainly one way to do it.3

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It doesn’t hurt that Eva stands out from the racing crowd in her red high heels.

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But don’t let the promo photo fool you. Eva has Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Environmental Sciences, a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, and will graduate early 2016 with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver. Both of her parents are mechanical engineers, and her brothers are electrical engineers. It’s no wonder she calls her passion for engineering and racing “a genetic disorder.”

In 2007, with the help of her motorcycle-racing father (mom was his racing mechanic), she converted a 125 cc Italian two-stroke motorcycle into the “ElectroCat” – Sweden’s first street legal electric motorcycle. Her passion for electric vehicles was now at full throttle. While writing a book about electric and hybrid vehicles that same year, she learned of the world’s fastest electric vehicle (the KillaCycle) and wanted to include a photo. Enter Bill Dubé, of Denver, Colorado. After a series of very fortunate events, including Eva’s ride to the alter on the ElectroCat, the couple was pronounced “Anode and Cathode, may the sparks fly” in the summer of 2009. Their story is told both on Eva’s website, as well as in the compelling article “FAST LOVE: THE KILLACYCLE BROUGHT THIS COUPLE TOGETHER” by Ron S. Doyle. It’s safe to say their relationship truly is “electric.”

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In 2014, the KillaJoule not only set a record as the fastest electric motorcycle in the world, it made history by beating internal combustion motorcycles in the sidecar category. No other sidecar motorcycle is faster. Period. With a registered top speed of 270mph, the KillaJoule has the potential to set even more records, and the team has 300+mph as a goal. Then, it will be the incandescent Dr. Håkansson at the helm, drawing interest and attention to the exciting world of electric vehicles, proving both that “eco-friendly electric vehicles don’t have to be slow, and that engineering is a great career choice for women.”

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Helmets off to Eva for enlightening us all.

Photos courtesy of Eva Håkansson Racing

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1. [The Huffington Post, 02/18/2016, by Peter Stone]↩
2. [Elektra is a female given name. Its Greek origin ( Ἠλέκτρα, Ēlektra) means “amber”, and thus “shining”, “incandescent”.]↩
3. [The KillaJoule has a registered top speed of 270mph, suggesting more records are to be broken.]↩



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