Modern Electric Motorcycles: Page 2 of 4

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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.

Electric Tech

The most common motor in use today is a brushless, high-rpm AC design, yielding an almost maintenance-free power plant, low weight, and a remarkable degree of speed and power control. Most EMs use the relatively new lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (LiNiMnCoO2; NMC) chemistry for their batteries—the same used in electric cars like the Nissan Leaf. These batteries have set the standard due to their ability to provide sufficient power and high energy density—lots of kWh in a small, lightweight package.

The current range hovers around the 100-mile mark. With the previous chemistries used only a few years ago, expanded range was an elusive target. Of course, your motorcycle’s actual range will vary, since it depends on riding style, speed, and the weight of the rider and cargo.

Charging solutions have evolved as well. While any of these vehicles can be recharged with a standard wall plug, several bikes feature the Level 2, J1772 standard—a 240 V, up to 30 A option standard on most car-charging stations that cuts the charge time by more than half (see “Charging Times” table).

Alta Motors

Alta’s marketing campaign focused on why we like to ride (because it’s FUN!) with some clever videos and ad work, capturing the imagination of the motorcycle world. In 2016, the company started delivering bikes. While there’s a limited dealer network, they cover the United States in traditional gas motorcycle dealerships focused on off-road riding. They’ve maintained interest in the Redshift, their base model, for nearly a decade, partly due to the leadership of Tesla’s cofounder Martin Eberhard (in 2013) and some serious financial backing.

Alta’s two basic models are the Redshift MX, an off-road motocross version; and the Redshift SM, a supermoto (see “E-Motorcycle Terminology” sidebar) configuration, with similar specs. As off-road recreational machines, these models are an almost-perfect application of an electric drive-train—lightweight with enormous torque and an interchangeable battery pack, and are ideal for pits and tracks.

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