7 Electric Motorcycles You Can Buy From Startups Today
Do you like motorcycles? Do you like saving the environment? Then maybe what you need is one of these electric motorcycles from Harley Davidson that are cool AF:
You know that thing belongs in your garage, and you can get it past the wife by showing her pictures of this cute panda that you’re helping save by riding an electric motorcycle instead of that gas guzzling SUV.
Now before you get out the checkbook, we’re going to throw a first world problem your way. You can ride that bad azz bike, but you can’t buy one yet. You see, Harley Davidson is just kicking the tires on the idea of an electric bike by letting you ride one for free and then asking you for feedback. It’s called Project Livewire, and after they’ve established that consumer demand is there and that an electric motorcycle doesn’t tarnish their grease and leather macho image, they may take these into production. We’re sorry we got you all worked up and then let you down. We’ll make up for it, just keep reading.
Ditching fossil fuels is getting so cool, even companies like Harley Davidson are signing up. While all the focus lately seems to be on electric cars, motorcycles are adopting electric charging, battery-operated engines without losing their vibe, and some have even maintained some pretty impressive speeds, too.
This hasn’t been without setbacks though. Remember that company we highlighted back in 2013, Brammo, that was supposed to be selling tons of electric motorcycles by now? They were acquired by Polaris in 2015 and their product was launched as the Victory Empulse TT which sells for a cool $19,999:
That seemed to be going well until Polaris decided to start winding down their line of Victory motorcycles. So much for that.
Then there was a startup called Mission Motors which was launched back in 2007 to develop electric motorcycles. That Company has now ceased operations and speculation has it that the reason was because they lost “key talent to competitors such as Apple, and failed to develop a viable business model“, according to an article by Reuters.
This had us thinking. Aside from all the big motorcycle companies that are working on electric motorcycles like Harley Davidson, what startups are presently working on electric motorcycles? We found 7 electric motorcycles being developed by startups that will show you the spectrum of what this niche market is up to… and it might motivate you to join the movement. Like owning the world’s fastest electric motorcycle.
The World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle
Founded in 2005, Lighting Motorcycles has taken in just $50K in debt financing to develop the world’s fastest electric motorcycles that are presently in production and which can reach speeds of 218 miles per hour. Weighing around 495 pounds, the bikes have a range of 100 to 180 miles depending on the battery option you select. Enough already with the stats though, here’s how good this electric superbike looks:
Now get this. That motorcycle you see above, the LS-218, is the fastest production motorcycle in the world – gas or electric. If you feel the need to go from 0-60 in about 2 seconds, you can get one today but you’ll need more than just a cute panda picture to convince the wife. Retail prices for the LS-218 start at $38,888.
Rugged and Masculine – Like Your Mom
Brutus Motorcycles is a family owned business that began work on their electric motorcycles in early 2010. While they specialize in developing performance electric bikes for racing, they also sell a line of bikes for street use. Similar to Harley, Brutus realizes that you need to make an electric street motorcycle that appeals to the rugged macho image that many bikers find appealing. Here’s a look at the Brutus V9:
With a range exceeding 130 miles and a top speed of 115 mph, the Brutus V9 has a starting price of $32,490. Our initial thoughts would be, why not just pay an extra $6,398 and get the fastest motorcycle in the world? Brutus also offers several other lines of electric motorcycle that look equally stylish as the V9 which can be seen on their website.
Look Like a Total Tool
If you don’t have that sort of money to spend yet you still want something unique, this next Austrian electric motorcycle startup sells a production street bike that will make you
look like a total tool the envy of the neighborhood. The Johammer J1 electric motorcycle has some unique features like all dash displays being integrated into each of the round rear-view mirrors, and an electric motor that integrates right into the rear wheel much like Protean’s motor does for cars. All of that means a futuristic production bike that looks like this:
With a range of 124 miles, the base model J1 electric motorcycle will cost you around $24,332 and weighs just 350 pounds.
Get To “Now” Your Energica
Another European company selling electric street bikes is an Italian startup named Energica. While they are predominantly targeting the European markets, they also want to sell into the U.S. as well, though the U.S. version of their website doesn’t appear to have been around too long with a link that says “Get To Now Your Energica”. The 3 models that are being sold so far can be seen below:
Entry level prices for the Eva and Ego are around $34,500 which is still at a price point that we would not consider to be affordable, regardless of how gorgeous these Italian-made street bikes are.
An Affordable Electric Motorcycle?
Enough of these hefty price tags already. What about something that is around the same price as a gas motorcycle? Founded in 2006, Californian startup Zero Motorcycles has raised $64.66k to manufacture electric motorcycles with attitude. Zero has developed a line of fast-charging, fast-driving motorcycles built for speed and agility. Zero utilizes their own patented “Z-Force” electric powertrain to power their motorcycles, and combines it with a rigid, aircraft-grade aluminum frame to minimize weight and make these babies fly.
The motorcycle motor is completely air-cooled, and when slowing down, the motor itself generates electricity that is channeled back into the power pack to extend ride times. Zero’s line of motorcycles is available now from authorized dealers with removable or built-in power packs, multiple charging options, and prices ranging from $8,495 to $15,995. Finally, some electric motorcycles on offer with more accessible price points.
Electric Dirt Bikes
While we’ve predominantly covered street bikes so far, the electric motorcycles we got the most excited about are actually electric dirt bikes. Founded in 2010, California-based startup Alta Motors has raised $14.8 million to design and manufacture a “smoother, better, faster” electric motor for both off-road racing and city commuting. Alta’s most popular model is the $15,000 Redshift, a motocross bike weighing in at 261 lbs, with a 2-hour charging range. Offroaders are attracted by the Redshift because it doesn’t require air filters, oil changes, or top end rebuilds (though if you’re into that side of riding, we’re sure you can find something to pimp out.)
Each motorcycle is powered by “The Alta Pack,” a small, compact, energy dense battery pack that is waterproof, and can handle shocks up to 20G (and reach speeds up to 65 mph). The Alta Pack digitally self-monitors, and sheds heat with a thermal wicking system made right in California. There are only a handful of dealers around the US, but anyone anywhere can reserve a bike now on Alta’s website.
Electric Motorcycles for Kids
Our final company to highlight doesn’t seem like it merits a mention for electric motorcycles as they are primarily known for their kick scooters that were first introduced in 2000 and have achieved legendary status. The Company moved on to sell electric scooters (it’s another article you should check out), but we couldn’t help but notice one of their motorbikes called the Razor MX650 Rocket Electric Motocross Bike seen below:
It’s hardly just for kids as it can carry up to 220 pounds while traveling at speeds of up to 17 miles per hour. You used to be able to order one on Amazon for under $500 but it looks like they sold them all and there aren’t any more now.
While the startups we’ve talked about so far are selling into the U.S. and European markets, there are also other startups abroad that are selling electric motorcycles into the world’s most populous countries. Chinese startup Evoke Motorcycles is ready to launch a smart motorcycle that looks a lot cooler than those hybrid bikes you see whizzing around the streets of Beijing today. In India, Tork Motorcycles is preparing to do the same. As the price of lithium batteries continues to decrease because of advances in technology, we can expect to see price points continue to fall until the most economical two-wheeled transportation option becomes electric motorcycles.
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