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Chaz Haba astride Jin Bike electric motorcycle

Chaz Haba [right]has a reputation as an inventor, engineer and showman, which has endeared him to some and disillusioned others. His latest foray into the electric vehicle is his Whistler Investments - Lithium House project to develop integrated electric drive systems built around lithium battery chemistries. Here he demonstrates -- with an investor -- his lithium battery-powered Jin Bike and E Cobra at his company's recent open house in Van Nuys, California.

Chaz's New Jazz

An exclusive report from the field on Chaz Haba's latest electric vehicle projects

By Dan Wolfson

My friend and fellow EV-entrepreneur, Dave Cutter and I recently attended Whistler Investment's open house for its stockholders and the media at their Van Nuys, CA headquarters on September 15, 2004. Besides discovering a surprising variety of lithium-ion and polymer-powered electric vehicles, we also finally met up with the enigmatic Chaz Haba, founder and President of Lithium House™, which produces Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer "Pow'r Pak" battery packs and related electric propulsion systems and controllers.

Haba and Lithium House's main interest is in developing products that create a market for their Pow'r Paks. To help accomplish this, they "primed the pump" by building working proof-of-concept vehicles that demonstrate the superior capabilities of Lithium-ion batteries for transportation and other applications. We got to test drive most of these fun transportation "applications" at the open house.

According to Haba, "Lithium-Ion batteries are ten to twenty times better than other batteries. Lithium House has 90 employees and we shipped over two-million Pow'r Paks last year. We tested over a million batteries to come up with the right design." Lithium-Ion batteries in general are having a big impact on EV's and several other vehicle manufacturers are now offering them.

For our technically inclined EV World readers, the basic specs for a single AA battery-sized Lithium-Ion cell are 4.2 volts, 2.2 amps, 9 watts, 40 grams, 2.56 inches by .72 inches. Stated performance is 2.2 amps for one hour. The entire Pow'r Pak product line can be seen (and ordered) at www.lithiumhouse.com.

Here's some of the cool stuff Haba and company were demonstrating at the Whistler-Lithium House event:

Jin-Bike (aka Stealth Motorcycle)
Picture in your mind a full-sized motorcycle that looks (and accelerates) like a Harley-Davidson™ but sounds like an electric razor… a really quiet electric razor. Behold the Jin Bike! Whistler's macho answer to wimpy electric two-wheelers. I can personally vouch for the eye-popping acceleration and lack of noise this racy ride produces. The performance is as startling as the lack of noise is, well, just weird. To rocket from zero to sixty in nothing flat while the loudest noise you heard is the wind in your ears is quite a sensation to experience.

Sitting on this monster with its big bulbous (and empty!) gas tank in your crotch and lots of kilowatts of clean non-polluting horsepower between your legs is like "Easy Rider" meets Greenpeace. If these E-hogs can be produced commercially and affordably, I think they will do very well, especially in E-conscious California where you can ride most of the year. I'm sure the Harley purists will be rolling their eyes or otherwise expressing their dismay, probably with single digit gestures. Maybe the Jin Bike will offer an option of a built-in MP3 player and some earth-shaking boom-bass speakers to make it sound like a real gas-burner.

Stated top speed is 50 MPH, range in excess of 40 miles, charge time is one to three hours. No retail price has been set but a ballpark guess is that it will be in the $10K range.

This is truly an impressive demonstration of electric vehicle technology. If the range is anywhere near what is claimed, this could be a breakthrough vehicle for the "big boys and their rich toys" set. I can see Governator Arnold riding one for his re-election campaign. Maybe that will make up for reneging on his promise to "hydrogenate" his fleet of gas-guzzling Hummers! But I digress…

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