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Physics major Tony Coiro planning 2nd generation solar-powered motorcycle


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University student who built a street-legal motorcycle that can be powered by plug-in AC current or solar energy is looking to build and commercialize a second-generation version that will be faster and more powerful.

Tony "Danger" Coiro, a junior physics major from South Bend, Ind., redesigned and retrofitted a 1978 Suzuki that he purchased for $50 on eBay. He spent $2,500 on the motorcycle, which has a range of 24 miles per charge and a top speed of 45 miles per hour. He believes the next model will outperform the original.

"This high-performance motorcycle will be powered solely by electricity. It should produce 100 horsepower and travel close to 100 miles per hour," he said. "The second-generation version will be similar to the first in two ways: it will cost less than a penny per mile to operate, and it will have instant, silent and constant acceleration that outpaces urban traffic because there is no shifting or clutch."

Coiro took second place in the undergraduate division of the fifth annual Purdue University Elevator Pitch Competition in April, earning $500. His presentation also was named the most entertaining pitch in the undergraduate division, which earned him another $500.

"There is not a lot of competition in the electric motorcycle market, but that may change as gas prices increase and more people search for alternative ways to power vehicles," he said. "It will be cool to see how this market develops and grows, and I look forward to being part of it."

Coiro is looking for a partner to enhance his motorcycle and take on large-scale development to produce consumer-ready bikes. The technology is available for licensing through Jonathan Gortat, project manager for the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, at 765-588-3485,

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Last Updated: May 4, 2016 4:17 PM

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