Chip Yates: SuperHacks, World Records and Risk

Bikes Drones & Vehicles Energy & Sustainability Science
Chip Yates: SuperHacks, World Records and Risk

chip-yates_blk (1)Chip Yates will present today, Saturday May 17, at 1 p.m. on Center Stage at Maker Faire Bay Area.

Chip Yates is an extreme electric innovator.  He has 18 world records in battery-powered vehicles of his own design.  He designed and built the world’s fastest electric airplane as well as the world’s fasted and most powerful electric motorcycle.  His “homemade” bike has beaten gas powered bikes in WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike races, and the electric airplane out-performs and out-climbs gas Cessnas.

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This is a guy with focus.  Before he got into designing electric bikes, Chip decided at age 36 to become a professional motorcycle racer, and two years later, had qualified to race (and successfully completed) the World Superbike Championship.

Edit that; Chip is a MAKER with focus. “I taught myself engineering by reverse engineering garbage.  I collected so much of it my parents moved me down to the basement.” He thinks it also may have been part of why they enrolled him in military school.  But it’s also why he’s the holder of 9 patents including 3 on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and one pending on front engine energy conversion (regenerative braking).

mrgGFTHrbwN-6gT7H5dBhSgHis first break was through young love: his first girlfriend’s father—a toy inventor—saw Chip’s raw talent and took him on as an apprentice.  He learned model-making, injection molding, and machining.  By his late 20s he had moved 30+ toys to market, and in his spare time invented the Fliplash, an extremely popular remote-control car that “keeps going”—as soon as it hits an obstacle it flips over and changes direction.

The frontier of electric vehicle design opened up just when he had mastered the superbike racing.  Chip realized he likely wouldn’t ever be the world’s fastest motorcycle rider—but the combination of his racing experience, his taste for risk, and his engineering talents could really create an advantage in the realm of battery powered vehicles.

That’s certainly been the case, and there are new records and innovations in sight (think long distance, Charles Lindbergh, and in-flight recharging).

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Saturday will be Chip’s very first Maker Faire.  In his pre-event research, Chip was amused to see so many moments in his life path represented at Maker Faire. His first job ever was at Radio Shack (a lead Maker Faire 2014 sponsor). Many many house with AutoCAD—and now he’s on stage just after Carl Bass (CEO of Autodesk).

Don’t miss Chip today @1 PM Center Stage—remember the Lindbergh angle; you might just be able to tell your grandkids about this one!

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Sabrina is the Maker Faire Program Director. She works on stage content for the flagship fairs (Bay Area & New York), and also runs Maker Faire's global licensing program for locally and independently produced Maker Faires. She also co-creates the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in her town, Oakland, CA.

View more articles by Sabrina Merlo


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