One of the toughest aspects of building a modern electric motorcycle is dealing with weight. While you save a bunch of tonnage by not having a heavy gas engine, that advantage is squarely offset (at present) by the weight of the battery required if you want the thing to cover a respectable distance.
Most electric motorcycle makers like Brammo, Zero and Mission Motors compensate by using lightweight materials and cutting fat wherever they can. Still, the bikes typically end up tipping the scales at 500 pounds or more, usually about 100 pounds more than their gas-powered brethren in the same power class. But French electric motorcycle maker Voxann is taking a different tack with their WATTMAN electric bike, introduced in December at the Paris Motorcycle Show.
Instead of try to pare down the WATTMAN to a svelte fighting weight, Voxan has gone the Honda Goldwing route and embraced its considerable 771-pound bulk while offsetting it with some prodigious power.
While the WATTMAN looks nothing like a Goldwing, its long, low silhouette bears more than passing resemblance to the recently announced gas-powered bikes from Lotus – and the Tron Lightcycles that the Lotus machines also resemble.
Underneath an aluminum exoskeleton, Voxan tucked a 12.8 kWh battery that should power the WATTMAN to an 111-mile range – provided you don’t hammer on it. But that’s like handing Dale Earnhardt Jr. a Corvette and telling him to hypermile it: not going to happen. So when the need for speed arises, the WATTMAN’s 200 horsepower electric motor also packs 147 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to spin the big bike up to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, with 100 mph coming in at just under 6.0 seconds.
Top speed is pegged at a respectable (for a 770-pound electric bike) 106 mph. As is typical with many electric bikes, there’s no gearbox, just a toothed belt from the electric motor connected to the rear wheel’s final drive. The electric motor signs off at 10,500 rpm, according to Voxan.
When it’s time to slow down, Voxan says the whoa comes from a Beringer 4D quad-disc system up front and a single disc out back. Both wheels are made from carbon fiber, so I guess they actually worked hard to keep the WATTMAN under 800 pounds. With its oddly forward-mounted pegs, the riding posture looks to be more upright – like on a Harley – than the racing crouch riders of the Lotus and Tron bikes are required to adopt.
Want one? Voxan says the bikes will only be built to order but no price was made available. Looks like another sad case of “if you have to ask … “