2017 electric motorcycle buyers guide Page 4

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Lightning LS218 electric motorcycle

Lightning LS218 electric motorcycle

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Lightning LS 218

$39k - 12kwh - 100mi - 8kw charger - 200HP - 168ft-lbs - 495lbs

$43k - 16kwh - 120mi - 8kw charger - 200HP - 168ft-lbs - 495+lbs

$47k - 20kwh - 160mi - 8kw charger - 200HP - 168ft-lbs - 495+lbs

Lightning has been the king of electric motorcycles for years, especially since its bikes won the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in 2013 outright. 

These powerful bikes are listed with a top speed of a stunning 218 mph, and have the largest battery packs on the market. 

With DC fast charging as well, Lightning bikes appear to have it all, but they come at hefty prices. Limited manufacturing runs mean you can order a Lightning LS-218 and customize it to your desires, if you live near the San Francisco area.  

Lito Sora electric motorcycle

Lito Sora electric motorcycle

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Lito Sora

$77k - 12kwh - 124mi - 1.3kw charger (110V) - 60HP - 66.4ft-lbs - 573lbs

Lito Sora sells a luxury electric motorcycle with a customizable seat position, key-card ignition, leather seat, and a safe-range system that works with GPS to tell whether you will make it to your destination or if you will need to charge. 

Featured in the television show Hawaii 5-0, the bike is made to look cool but is also stunning expensive.

Harley Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle concept

Harley Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle concept

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There hasn’t been much word on new concepts from major manufacturers over the last year. 

Harley-Davidson has stated it plans to release an electric motorcycle by 2020.  Presumably the company is hard at work developing a bike based on the feedback it received during the two-year tour of the Harley Livewire in 2014 and 2015.

BMW sells its maxi-scooter C-Evolution in Europe, but not yet in the U.S.  The concept race bike BMW eRR made more waves, but no plans to produce it have been publicized.

WE RODE IT: Harley-Davidson Livewire Electric Motorcycle Concept: Test Ride (Jul 2014)

KTM has made several dirt bike Freeride-E machines that have been racing around Europe and the subject of exciting videos. However, no word on whether we will see them in the U.S. either.

Yamaha teased us with a street bike and dirt bike called the PES2 & PED2, but it hasn't shown any new concepts since the 2015 Tokyo motorcycle show.

The Skunkworks division of Airbus made a 3D-printed electric motorcycle, seemingly as an exercise in designing for 3D printing. The frame weighed only a mere 35kg and it had limited range, though it would be easy for smaller riders to pick up if the bike dropped.

Honda has won the TT Zero at the Isle of Man two years in a row with some spectacular race bikes, but it hasn't produced any electric two-wheeled vehicles in any country. 

Johammer electric motorcycle

Johammer electric motorcycle

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An odd-looking bike from Austria, called the Johammer J1, has been seen around Europe in the WAVE trophy race. Again, no mention of availability in the U.S., though it is interesting to look at.

A company in China called Evoke Motorcycles plans to begin shipping preorders this summer from its U.S. warehouse. Its bike is said to have a 9.0-kwh battery, 86ft-lbs of torque, a top speed of 81mph, and an onboard charger.  

Hope springs eternal in the land of electric motorcycles, and every mention of electric vehicles by an industry C-level executive creates buzz, but so far new entries are few and far between. 

Zero Motorcycles continues to lead the way, and by now it has developed a significant lead in R&D against any manufacturer now considering an entry into the market. However, Zero still lacks a fast-charging option, which will become important if it wants to expand its market beyond commuter bikes.

With the addition of Energica’s second model and Alta Motors now ramping up production, the competition should drive continued innovation in two-wheeled electric transportation.

NOTE: Author Ben Rich has owned electric motorcycles since 2007, including a Vectrix VX1, a 2012 Zero S ZF9, a 2014 Zero SR, and a 2016 Zero SR.  He has gone for a test ride on all Zeros, Alta, Harley-Davidson, and Energica electric motorcycles and is active in the electric-motorcycle community.


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