Modern Electric Motorcycles

Beginner

Inside this Article

Dream of hitting the highway on two wheels, with no tailpipe pollution? An electric motorcycle could meet your needs for fun, exhilarating transportation.
The Alta Redshift SM.
The Alta Redshift MX.
The Energica EVA.
The EGO and EGO 45 are true superbikes, at an 150 mph top speed and 0-to-60 mph acceleration in 3 seconds.
The Zero DS, dual-sport.
The Zero FX.
The Zero SR.
The Brutus V9.
The Brutus 2.
The Brutus V2 Rocket.
The Johammer J1.150 & 200.
The Lito Sora.
Carving up the twisties with the EGO 45—a true Italian superbike.
The Alta MX charges up for another run in the dirt.

Over the last 10 years, the electric motorcycle (EM)market has developed, yet only a handful of products have emerged that are available to the ready buyer. “Concept” bikes, custom builders, and what can only be called “startup vaporware” ventures have clouded the market with products that were either unavailable or unwise purchases. At this point, only a handful of electric motorcycles have proved to be reliable, supported, and viable. 

We’ve set a few criteria for inclusion in this guide. The most important is that of homologation (the process of designing a vehicle that meets state and federal safety and environmental standards)—a daunting, expensive, and ongoing process. It’s prohibitively expensive to homologate any vehicle after it has been designed; it’s the reason you don’t see many (if any) custom-designed, one-off machines making it into production.

The next criterion is having a traditional dealer network. When you’re considering buying a vehicle for tens of thousands of dollars, you’ll want to be able to visit a dealership and test-ride (or at least sit on!) the bikes. You’ll also want after-sales support—for service and warranty repairs. While many companies tried creative alternatives to traditional dealer support, like marketing out of a big-box electronics store, the industry has settled on a more conventional strategy of dedicated electric vehicle dealerships or selling alongside gasoline motorcycles.

Only three brands meet these two criteria: Alta, Energica, and Zero. Alta has two models and has about 25 dealers signed up so far. Energica covers the “superbike” category (a type of production street motorcycle capable of being modified for racing) with three 150 mph models based on essentially the same drive-train—the Energica EGO, EGO 45, and the EVA. Zero has six models based on two main platforms, covering everything from fun-in-the-dirt bikes and supermotos to the SR, which compares to most midrange sport cycles.

Out of all the electric motorcycle companies, Energica and Zero Motorcycles have established a solid development curve, conventional sales and service support, and protections for customer loyalty in a fast-evolving technology. The risks of buying into this technology are far less daunting than even a few short years ago.

We’re also including several electric motorcycles available that don’t necessarily meet these criteria, yet are available to an interested buyer—either built-to-order or one-off designs. They include the Brutus, Johammer, Lightning, and Lito Sora. While some, like the Lito Sora, have earned homologation, there is no solid dealer network yet. Others, like Brutus, are in the process of developing a fully homologized machine.

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