Electric Motorcycles, the Beginning of a New Era!

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December 23, 2010 | By: Jason Hayes

Electric motorcycles aren’t just a futuristic idea that might someday take off. A voltage revolution is upon us right now and it promises to be exciting.

There are lots of companies out there that are taking on the challenge of making electric bikes practical for everyday use. And while you’d think some of the bigger manufacturers would be leading the charge for electric power, it’s really the smaller companies that are actually bringing these bikes to the market.

In doing a little bit of research I have found two companies that stand apart from the rest with what they have to offer a consumer. Zero Motorcycles out of Santa Cruz, California, and Brammo from Ashland, Oregon, are two manufactures that really see the potential in the growth of a competitive alternative to the combustion engine. Both offer a selection of bikes that suit different styles of riding. The nice thing about these companies is that their bikes are not only environmentally friendly but also bank account friendly. You normally associate cutting-edge technology with a cutting-edge prices, but these bikes range from $7,995 to $13,995 — and that’s before government tax incentives.

Zero Motorcycles offers two models with variations of each model. The company’s off-road model features an “X”(trail riding) or “MX”(track riding) version that puts out 50 ft-lbs. of torque with 23 horsepower. The range for these bikes is about 40 miles and they can be fully recharged in less than two hours using a standard 110V or 220V outlet. The road model comes in an “S”(street) or “DS”(dual sport) version with a top speed of 67 mph and a range of 50 miles. Oh, and I should mention that the average cost per mile is less than a penny.

Brammo is manufacturing two models aimed at the street market. The entry-level model is the Enertia and Enertia Plus, each with a top speed of 60 mph. The range of the Enertia is about 42 miles, but for another thousand bucks, the Enertia Plus has an 80-mile range.

The second model is the Empulse 6.0/8.0/10.0, with the numbers representing the mileage range of each bike (6.0=60 miles, 8.0=80 miles, 10.0=100 miles). This bike has a noteworthy top speed of 100 mph and 59 ft-lbs. of torque (not bad considering an average 1200 Sportster has 79 ft-lbs.). Brammo’s Empulse also entered the Time Trial Xtreme Grand Prix (TTXGP) in 2009 — an electric-only grand prix — where it finished third.

In my opinion, the electric motorcycle has a strong base of ingenuity and practicality to start the genera off on the right path. Just like the first combustion engine motorcycles, these electric rides are starting off with a short range of travel, but on the flip side of that technologic advances are occurring at a much faster pace in this era. Take for instance an electric 500 hp drag bike, that can do 0-60 in 0.97 seconds. That’s astonishing.

The more I look into this subject, the more excited I become. In the not-so-distance future, I think we’ll be seeing electric motorcycles making their way into more and more garages. These wonderful machines offer the promise of a green future while staying competitive in the performance arena.

Comments: 13 Comments | Categorized Under: Product Information

Comments (13)

I ride a Yamaha RZ-350, and a Ultama, 113cid, belt primary, 250 tire and Baker 6. I will by a electric bike like that sweet cafe-racer.

No one including the most die hard traditionalists are on the same bike that existed 20 years ago. It’s about change and innovation or you haven’t looked close at your ride.
Thumbs up for forward thinkers and those who dare to be different.
I think electric bikes will take off when they start smoking the dino dog fuelers. Until then , they’ll be a fringe machine. When they start going 500 miles on a charge, then my Harley is just gonna have to share the garage.
Any technology that puts the screw to OPEC is good in my book.

To John Hoeg

It’s easy to put a tow hook on the back of your harley. Just take it off the front. My electric cost about 4 cents per mile. Duh! there is no maintenance. Let’s face it when was the last time yhour stereo broke down.

I dig ‘em, especially the empulse! American ingenuity at work, now that’s cool. I say, the more, the merrier. Just like any bike, they’re not for everyone, but that’s cool, too. Bikes are about freedom and individuality, in my book, and I’m always appreciative of new ideas.

The Electic Motorcycles. come on what is the saying going to be on T-Shirts…. NO MORE LOUD PIPES GONNA SAVE LIVES???? PLEASE LEAVE THE LOUD PIPES SAVES LIVES ON THE T-SHIRTS!!!!!

My Electra Glide Bagger is loud – My Vulcan 2000 Chopper is really LOUD! These bikes make my pulse quicken just to hear their rumble come to life and yet I STILL have to dodge cars that don’t see me or apparently hear me. There is NO WAY I’ll ride an electric piece of crap that simply whispers by and hopes not to offend anyone no matter what price tag it has. I WANT RUMBLE and maybe the car driver just might hear me…My bikes announce my arrival. An electric bike sneaks in and hopes no one notices. Besides, Chic’s dig bikes and bikers not sewing machines with handlebars.

I already hate these green al gore types who try and control the express car pool lane by themselfs.. I blow by them with my pipes arouring and my finger riding proud and high. .

L’ectric M/C…BOOOO!…kill us all, hope they get caught in a rain an’ light up like a neon tetra!…At least most of us have been able to enjoy some of the “Good Ol’ Days”

Cute…..very cute. How much does it cost to recharge it? How long does it take to recharge it? Where does a rider of one of these plug in? Riding, as we know it, will be limited to the length of an extension cord? How much to replace the batteries, and how easy is it to push at 2:00 o’clock in the morning when it quits on you? I hope they come with a tow-bar to hook to the back of my Harley.
Sorry……this isn’t the way I’m going in the future.

I can just see it now Everyone riding electric motorcycles. The hardcore riders putting playing cards in the spokes. for that real true to life motorcycle experience. God save us please.

I think it is bs. Riding to me isnt about speed and acceleration. Which is what they are using to justify buying these bikes(other than obvious fuel economy). And if they are anything like electric cars, the cost of maintenance is more than the vehicle itself. Plus making and disposing of those batteries does more damage to the eviroment than all the volcanos over a span of a year. I don’t claim to be an expert though. Besides when did tree hugging hippies start riding?

I’ve seen video of these bikes. They are very quite.
I don’t get payed enough attention to on my Harley.
That worries me.

Yes i agree with you about the commin advent of the electric vehicle,i have been watching it for some time and its really commin of age,infact i have a project that i’m thinking of converting to electric,its a Lotus Elan plus 2 S the motor tech is already pretty established and the batteries are catching on,the heyday of the internal combustion engine is just about gone,,,

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