The electric motorcycle industry is finally heating up.
While Asian manufacturers have long produced small electric scooters for urban commuting, manufacturers around the world are finally getting serious about the true potential of electric motorcycles.
Dedicated electric manufacturers like Zero, Emflux, Tacita, and Italian Volt have tirelessly worked to improve their concepts to the point where better established traditional motorcycle manufacturers have taken notice.
Harley Davidson and Triumph are both working to elevate electric motorcycles to meet the discerning tastes of traditional motorcyclists.
Meanwhile, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, and Suzuki announced in April that they’re working together to standardise battery technology to help them establish their niche in a growing electric market.
Here is a look at the incredible bikes and new technologies that are available to riders now, or that are about to enter the market.
Electric manufacturers are driving change
While traditional manufacturers were mostly comfortable leaving existing electric technology undeveloped, electric manufacturers have been pushing the envelope of what an electric motorcycle could be for years.
Today, several of these are building electric motorcycles that give traditional combustion engines a run for their money, and generating serious interest as a result.
Founded only recently in 2016, Emflux is hoping to make a big splash with its Model One, which is set to launch in December of 2019. India’s first electric superbike boasts a range of 200 km, a top speed of 200 kmh, a recharge time of less than an hour, and a price tag of just over $12,000. This makes it not only one of the most promising, but also the most affordable motorcycle on this list. If the riding experience lives up to the hype, we’ll likely see much more of Emflux in the future.
Italian Volt Lacama
With a range of 200 km, and a top speed of 180 km, the Lacama’s €40,000 price tag might seem a bit steep at first glance. However Italian Volt is looking to do much more than simply to drive up their motorcycle’s range and power. Italian Volt is determined to not only create a quality electric motorcycle, but also to ensure that it offers the kind of luxury riding experience its customers expect. Its parts are custom designed and 3D printed to meet the customer’s individual needs and desires. It also boasts a suite of technological features, including built-in GPS, Internet, and a TNT digital dashboard, as well as a stunningly fast 40 minute recharge time.
2019 Zero DS ZF 14.4
The Zero DS offers the longest range of any electric motorcycle on our list, going up to 320 km on a single charge. Besides this, it can be charged using a specialised charging station that allows riders to recharge in less than an hour. Otherwise, it can still be charged using a regular wall socket in approximately 3 hours. This makes it uniquely suitable for longer-distance riding, and makes it one of the first electric motorcycles that is more than just a commuter or a recreational sportbike. Best of all, it’s affordable, with prices ranging from around $20,000 to $35,000 depending on the exact model and optional extras.
The Lightning LS-218 is the world’s fastest electric superbike, with a top speed of 351 km/h, making it significantly faster than even some of the world’s fastest traditional motorcycles, including Yamaha’s YZF R1 and Honda’s CBR1100XX Blackbird. The 2019 version of the LS-218 gives buyers the option of a 20 kWh battery that brings its range up to just over 300 km.
The world’s motorcycle giants could change the game
While electric manufacturers are certainly beginning to challenge traditional motorcycles, the entry of traditional manufacturers like Harley Davidson and Triumph could be the event that brings electric motorcycles into the mainstream.
Not only are they working to bring their own top-of-the-line electric motorcycles to market, they’re looking to catch up to, and quickly come to outclass existing electric motorcycle manufacturers.
Harley Davidson LiveWire
Coming in September 2019, Harley Davidson aims to enter the electric market with the LiveWire. With enough torque to go 0-100 km/h in under 3 seconds, and a range of over 225 km, Harley Davidson is hoping not just to compete with electric manufacturers, but to get the attention of its traditional customer base.
The Triumph TE-1 Project
Triumph is taking a different approach to other manufacturers, in that it is deliberately avoiding rushing an electric motorcycle to market. TE-1 is not a motorcycle model, but rather a research and development project launched by Triumph in collaboration with OLEV, Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain Ltd., and Innovate UK to advance critical technologies for future motorcycles.
Specifically, they’re targeting battery technology, motors, ad packaging constraints, which are currently limiting the potential of electric vehicles across both the motorcycle and electric car industry. In doing so, they hope to categorically outclass all competitors by the time they bring their motorcycle to market.
Japan’s big four are working together to standardise batteries
While Triumph is focused on creating new technology, Japanese manufacturers are focusing on market integration and infrastructure. Japan’s big four motorcycle manufacturers, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki, have decided to work together to create standard battery and charging architecture.
The purpose of this is to allow riders to use the same standardised batteries and charging stations, so that they won’t be forced to wait to recharge their batteries. Instead, they’ll simply be able to swap out a depleted battery for a full one at any charging station.
By working together, the manufacturers hope to generate enough demand to economically justify these charging stations, and to incentivise other brands to adopt the technology.
As the technology continues to evolve, we can be sure that electric motorcycles will continue to improve, and to provide us with new and exciting riding experiences.
To protect yourself and your motorcycle on your adventures, be sure to get properly insured with Star Motorcycle.
We offer the coverage you deserve, with roadside assistance, coverage for mechanical breakdowns, coverage for any damaged gear, and much more to keep you in your seat with the wind in your face.