Cars steal the spotlight when it comes to electrification, but the motorcycle industry is undergoing a similar transformation. The gradual shifts towards zero emissions look a lot alike — some actors are well ahead of the curve and pioneering a new niche in their respective segments, while others are unwillingly hopping on the bandwagon to keep up with the rest of the industry.
Can’t name an electric motorcycle? Don’t worry, there aren’t many options to choose from right now. That’s set to change soon when major manufacturers like Harley-Davidson, KTM, Yamaha, and Honda come to the market with their own spin on the concept. Until then, here are the best electric motorcycles currently on sale in the United States.
Alta explains the Redshift MX is the electric equivalent of a 250cc dirt bike. The 261-pound machine offers 40 horsepower and 120 pound-feet of torque from a compact, water-cooled electric motor. A water-proof lithium-ion battery pack provides enough electricity for up to two hours of riding, and the Redshift never needs an oil change. Pricing starts at $14,995.
The Alta Redshift SM is to the track what the Redshift MX is to the trail. Both use the same 40-hp electric motor linked to a 5.8-kWh battery pack, but the SM is equipped with lights and turn signals so it can be driven on the street. It has just 60 miles of range when it’s used as a commuter, 40 miles of range when the pace picks up on a twisty road, and it can go flat-out for up to 20 minutes on a track. It retails for $15,495.
The Café option turns the Brutus 2 into a head-turning café racer. The list of modifications includes down-turned handle bars, adjustable rear seats, and a stripped-down chassis that gives the bike the naked look that has historically characterized café racers. It’s equipped with a 10-kWh battery pack, but Brutus hasn’t published additional specifications such as range and output. Pricing is available upon request.
While Harley-Davidson is busily working on building an electric motorcycle, the model is still a couple of years away from cruising down the boulevard. If that’s the style you’re after, Brutus has you covered with the 125-hp V9. The company advertises performance and acceleration that will make any sports car green with envy, though more specific details (such as pricing) haven’t been released yet. That’s a tall order — the fastest cars in the world are truly impressive.
The 136-hp Energica Ego45 is for riders who want a touch of luxury with their performance. Think of it as a two-wheeled Lamborghini, except it’s electric. It stands out with top-of-the-line components (including some that are 3D-printed), as well as design elements borrowed from the worlds of aerospace and racing. Act fast if you want one — production is strictly limited to just 45 examples. Buyers can work directly with Energica to create a custom, one-of-a-kind bike, and they can even pick it up directly from the factory in Italy.
Energica brought together big names in racing to develop its lineup of performance-oriented electric bikes. Manufactured in Italy, the land of Ducati, the Eva is the most basic model in the Energica catalog. Underneath the muscular design hides a 95-hp motor with up to 120 miles of range when Eco mode is turned on. An 85-percent charge is available in just half an hour when the bike is plugged into a quick charger, so range anxiety becomes less of a worry.
Lightning doesn’t beat around the bush — you know its bikes are electric as soon as you read its name. Instead of catering to commuters or casual riders, the company aimed the LS-218 directly at the top of the electric bike segment. It became the fastest battery-powered motorcycle when it reached 215 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 2011.
Its specifications sheet is equally impressive. It gets a 200-hp, 168-lb-ft. powertrain with up to 180 miles of range. Brembo brakes keep the power in check. This is a full-blown superbike designed to race, as reflected by its asking price of nearly $40,000.
The Sora by Lito hails from the land of poutine — Quebec. Built entirely by hand, it turns heads with a design that’s as original as it is sharp. The bodywork is crafted out of carbon fiber to help offset the weight added by the bulky lithium-ion battery pack, and the bike is capable of hitting 60 mph from a stop in four seconds flat. The downside is its Porsche-like $104,000 price tag; that puts it in the same ballpark as a lot of highly desirable two- and four-wheeled machines.
In many ways, Zero is the Tesla of the electric motorcycle industry. The California-based company has the technology figured out better than most of its rivals, so it offers a comprehensive range of products for all experience levels. Named S, its entry-level model is an urban bike that’s nimble and practical.
In its top configuration, the Zero S offers 60 hp, 81 lb-ft, and up to 153 miles of range when it’s ridden in a mix of city and highway conditions. Pricing varies between $10,995 and $16,690.
The DSR is Zero’s dual-sport model. Based on the DS, the R designation signifies it receives an electric motor dialed up to 116 lb-ft, a custom-tuned suspension, and a Bosch ABS system for extra peace of mind. It boasts up to 138 miles of range in a combined cycle, which is plenty for on- and off-road adventures. The Zero DSR starts at $18,690.
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