The performance of electric motorcycles
may not yet be on par with their fuel-snorting brethren, but our outings on this new breed of two-wheeler
have convinced us that they are well on the way. Now San Francisco start-up BRD is throwing its hat into this rapidly expanding ring by announcing plans for battery powered bikes designed to "outperform their gas equivalents." Called RedShift, the motorcycles are slated for production in 2012 and will come in "dual-sport" and "urban" variants with both promising performance that would put them in the same ballpark as a gas-powered 250cc 4-stroke.
While I'm a big supporter of the push for the electrification of the motorcycle, I'm not really a big fan of the sports bike
or the street bike
or off-road bikes
- my tastes lean towards custom cruisers like the electric chopper
from Orange County Choppers. Come September, the electric cruiser camp looks to be getting a new member in the utterly gorgeous shape of the Dutch Orphiro Electric Motorcycle. Unfortunately details are scarce at the moment, but read on for what we do know.
Electric bicycles, with some exceptions, generally fall into one of two categories: those that can be powered solely by their motor, and those in which the motor is only used to augment the rider’s pedaling power (commonly known as “pedelecs,” or pedal-electrics). In both cases, they can also simply be pedaled, without any contribution from the motor. California electric vehicle designer Roy Prince, however, decided that he wanted all three – a bike that could be motor-driven, pedal-assisted, or just plain pedaled. The result is his intriguing creation, the eCortina v2 hybrid.
BMW has flagged a possible intention to get into the electric motorcycle market with the airing of its E-Scooter concept bike. Designed from the ground up as an electric bike, the E-scooter uses its battery casing as a primary component of the frame. With a regenerative braking system built in and a full charge from a conventional power socket taking less than three hours, the E-Scooter is capable of over 100km per charge, and easily makes freeway speeds.
Illinois-based ROEHR Motorcycles has announced a 2011 update to last year's eSuperSport
model. The new entry-level performance superbike's design is now based on the award-winning Hyosung GT650R
, it's been given a power boost, has a top speed of over 100 mph and its onboard battery is said to be good for 75 miles before needing some charging attention.
Electric motorsport pioneer Azhar Hussain has been awarded an MBE for his services to motorsport in the United Kingdom's Queen's Birthday 2011 Honours List. Hussain is the founder and CEO of eGrandPrix, the organization behind TTXGP
, the world's first sanctioned clean emission motorcycle race. Launched just two years ago at the Isle of Man TT, TTXGP is now the leading electric racing series in the world.
The continuing progress of electric motorcycle racing was illustrated this week when MotoCzysz won the TT Zero Race at the Isle of Man for the second year running. In achieving a new lap record for electric motorcycles of 99.513 mph, the Segway-sponsored MotoCzysz E1PC went within a whisker of claiming the GBP10,000 prize for the first electric bike to lap the 37 mile circuit at 100mph at the same time as demonstrating yet another quantum leap in electric bike performance from last year’s 96.820 mph average
and the 2009 winning average of 87.434 mph.
Montreal's Lito has thrown its hat into the ring with a new electric motorcycle
that makes some pretty outrageous claims. A full 12 kilowatt-hours' worth of onboard lithium polymer batteries gives the Sora a massive 300 km range – that's 185 miles between charges. Or you can choose to wrap the throttle on and scream up to a top speed of 200 km/h (125 mph). With chopper/fighter bad boy looks and some interesting and innovative features like in-dash touch screen GPS and electronically adjustable ergonomics, the Sora looks like an absolute animal of a machine. You can't help but think that if it had an accessible pricetag, it would look very tempting to the average biker.
The latest in our series of video road tests
is America's leading electric motorcycle: the Zero S, from California's Zero Motorcycles
. Seventy-five miles per hour and 60 miles between charges are the big numbers here – but how does that translate to real life use? Also, since electricity costs so much less than petrol, can an electric motorcycle be viewed as an economical option? And what about the environment? When the carbon cost of electricity generation is taken into account, how green are electric vehicles? These questions and more, answered after the jump!
When those of us who live in urban areas picture letter carriers – or posties, or mailmen/women – we usually think of them as people who deliver the mail by foot. The fact is, however, letter carriers in much of the world use small motorcycles to make their deliveries. If Australian inventor Simon Williams has his way, many of those motorcycles may soon be replaced by his electric three-wheeler. Not only is the Williams Deliver-E Trike quieter and cleaner than gas-powered bikes, but its two rear swing arms pivot independently, allowing the vehicle to lean into turns and stand upright when parked at the side of a sloping road.