Mike Corbin

World Changing Tech. Mike and his team have invented a new motor using permanent magnets as fuel. Imagine an electric vehicle running without batteries!

Mike Corbin has had a lifelong passion for the development of electric vehicles. In fact, in the world of EVs, the Corbin name is associated with many firsts.

1961-1964 Mike served in the US Navy as an Electrician aboard the USS Ranger CVA-61

1968 Established Corbin Motorcycle Accessories

1971 Invented Corbin Electric City Bike and produced 100 units over the next two years. This was the first EV motorcycle eligible for DMV registration on public roads and the first EV motorcycle VIN series.

1973: Mike Corbin built and piloted “Lightning,” the first electric motorcycle to set a speed record over 100mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats at 101.777 mph.

Electric Motorcycle XLP-21973: Professor Charles MacArthur piloted a Corbin electric motorcycle to the top of the challenging Mt Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire, becoming the first electric vehicle of any kind to do so. The Auto Road consists of eight miles to the summit on an average grade of 12% through 99 hairpin turns.

1974: Mike Corbin creates “Quicksilver,” the first electric race motorcycle to use a battery technology other than traditional Lead-Acid cell. Quicksilver takes to the salt with Yardney Silver-Zinc batteries, the first High-Density Battery EV in the world.

Quicksilver at Speed1974: Piloting Quicksilver, Mike bumps the electric motorcycle land speed record to 165.397 miles per hour… A record that stands untouched for 38 years and solidifies his place in history as the fastest man on EV motorcycle for 39 years total. To this day Quicksilver is considered the Godfather of Electric Motorcycles.

1975: Corbin XLP-2 electric street motorcycle makes TWO non-stop trips to the summit of Mt Washington on a single charge and recharges with a windmill to make the trip home. This was the first street registered EV motorcycle running on a high-tech battery (nickel/zinc).

1973-1976: Corbin’s motorcycle accessory company builds and distributes 500 EV conversion kits for the ubiquitous Volkswagen Beetle.

Quicksilver at Petersen MuseumClearly setting a land speed record so robust that it stood for over three decades is an achievement of which Mike is very proud. Considering he has always been a strong proponent of electric-powered vehicles, it makes it that much more near and dear.

Forty years later Quicksilver was back in the Corbin shop. No, there were no plans to fill her up with Li-ion batteries and challenge Elon Musk to a drag race… just giving the ole girl a thorough polishing and getting her ready for another day in the sun.

Quicksilver was one of many featured elements at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering that took place in Pebble Beach on May 17, 2014. The annual event was a celebration of the Evolution of Motorcycles and 100 Years of Bonneville Speed Trials. Needless to say, Mike was extremely proud to be a part of it.

Quicksilver then went for a temporary exhibition at the incredible Petersen Automotive Museum and has now returned to its permanent home at the Barber Motorsports Museum. Barber is also home to one of the original 100 Electric City Bikes and the XLP-2 Mount Washington bike.

Sparrow EV generationsMike’s passion for electric vehicles never faded. Decades later he again broke new ground and captured the World’s attention with the development of the Sparrow EV microcar in 1995. 300 Sparrow EVs were then manufactured and distributed from his factory in Hollister, California between 1998 and 2003.

The high-efficiency microcar concept was further explored through other vehicle designs like the V-Twin powered Merlin Roadster, modular design Raven and modernized proof of concept Sparrow.

His continued dedication to the field is clearly evidenced by the 18 US Patents and 9 Trademarks awarded through the years:

  • 1975 EV Emergency Disconnect Switch #3,997,749
  • 1976 Unique High-Efficiency Motor Mount #3,937,291
  • 1977 Magnetic Clutch #4,038,572
  • 1977 Linear Field Motor #4,011,488
  • 1997 Sparrow 1 #404,688
  • 1998 Sparrow Design #422,940
  • 1998 Merlin Roadster #424,979
  • 1999 Sparrow EV #5,960,901
  • 2003 Merlin Roadster #469,037
  • 2003 Sparrow 2 #469,386
  • 2003 Merlin Coupe #484,439
  • 2003 Three-Wheel steering #6,464,031 B1
  • 2004 Balanced Upswing Door #6,676,193
  • 2004 3-wheel car seat adjust system #6,695,388
  • 2005 Single sided swing arm #6,883,629
  • 2016 Wind Reduction system #9,394,011 B1
  • 2017 Wind Drag Reduction system #9,834,267
  • 2017 Sparrow 3 #777,060-S
  • 2021 Motoflux patent