Makita Lithium-Ion Cell Races To 186mph In 7 Seconds

When Martin Newbury flashes across the finishing line at Santa Pod drag strip at 186mph on his Pro-Stock Suzuki, the engine is screaming round at 14,000rpm with the electronic ignition system working overtime to deliver the 360 maximum power. The power demand is enormous but remarkably the electrical energy comes from the standard 18v Lithium-ion battery cell from Martin’s Makita cordless drill. Within minutes the very same cell is working the drill as the team prepare the bike for another seven second drag race!

Electrical demand for this sort of high-speed road rocket is much higher than a standard bike. Martin’s machine has to run data acquisition, extra fuel pumps, vacuum pumps for cylinder efficiency, shift-lights, controls and that impressive ignition system. Battery demand is therefore very high and a critical element in successful performance that has made Martin a multi-title European star. This bike and many others for the worldwide drag-bike market are designed and built by Martin at his own engineering business Psycle Workz at Peterborough.

“We noticed the super-compact and lightweight 18v battery on our new Makita drill a couple of years ago and thought it should be something we should try. Eventually I designed and made a connecting shoe that takes the easy clip-in batteries just like the drills and then we added a small electrical connector to pick up the batteries built in terminals. Hey presto a super light battery pack  that saves more than three kilos in weight, a vital saving when you are trying to set record times. But would it deliver the power we need over a full burn run?” questioned Martin and his small team. There was only one way to be sure and that was to race the bike flat out.

Competitors aware of the new Makita cell installation wanted the same weight saving advantage but needed proof of performance. “It was total success from the outset and now more than 40 bikes across Europe are racing and winning with our Makita battery unit installed. We have run more than 20 races over two years and the same cell units are with the team now – and during the winter season they continue to power our Makita workshop tools!”

In fact data downloaded from the on-board data logger system shows that the Makita Lithium-ion cell maintains a flat line of voltage output across the quarter-mile sprint even allowing for the high electrical loads demanded by this fearsome motorbike in action. “These battery cells have really exceptional voltage with virtually perfectly balanced output. What you don’t need to make these engines perform perfectly is a voltage output line that drops down the screen over the final seven seconds of a run. The Makita cells are brilliant and more and more riders are choosing them for performance, reliability, low weight and ease of recharge. The charging system is very efficient. Sometimes we only have 45 minutes between runs and we can get the cells fully charged in 20 minutes. It is just so easy to unclip one cell and slide a fresh one into the holder,” says Martin.

For more information on the Makita Lithium-ion range, visit

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