Modern Electric Motorcycles: Page 3 of 4


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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.


Energica offers three variations of the EGO, its 150 mph, 600-pound, 0-to-60 mph-in-less-than-3-seconds core model. The EVA is a slightly tamer, stripped-down bike with a lower saddle height and with a lower (limited) top speed. It’s a bit more comfortable and easier to handle for those with shorter legs. The EGO 45 is a richly appointed model with essentially the same specs as the base EGO, but a more hand-built fit and finish. The EGO 45 is a limited edition, and includes, with the purchase, a factory tour (in English or Italian), and an exclusive Olmo watch by Lowell, made entirely out of wood.

The bikes debuted in 2015 with a few tweaks (such as ABS braking, promised in the final models and ultimately delivered), but have largely remained unchanged. They are fully homologated worldwide, with dealer networks in Europe and North America. The EVA and EGO base models are $34,544; and the EGO 45 (if available), retails for a starting price of $40,000, depending upon customization. One of the more notable features of the design is the vehicle control unit (VCU), which takes full advantage of the electric drive-train’s power, includes regenerative braking and suspension control, and results in possibly the most comfortable and controllable throttle response I’ve experienced. Once the bike is rolling, its mass fades into a memory, and it’s as light and agile as any 150-mph-capable bike I’ve ridden.

The bikes have a 3 kW onboard charger, accepting 120 and 240 VAC, and are compatible with SAE J1772 and IEC 62196-2-equipped charging stations. Energica also launched a Tesla Supercharger-like limited network of proprietary DC fast-charging stations in Italy and California—dedicated 20 kW DC chargers (DC technology, Combo CCS standard plugs).

Zero Motorcycles

Zero Motorcycles offers models with different battery capacity options. The lineup starts with the FX and FXS as the lightest and most affordable. The FX is an off-road, but street-legal bike and the FXS is a supermoto but equipped with street tires. They both come with 3.3 or 6.5 kWh battery options, and for chain-drive traditionalists there’s a conversion kit available.

The S and SR are strictly for street use and, in the case of the SR, with impressive performance even for gas-bike enthusiasts. The DS and DSR are “dual-sport” EMs for street and limited off-road use. For both the S/SR and the DS/DSR, the “R” indicates higher performance, with a 52 kW (70 hp), 116-foot-pounds motor—a slight increase over the 45 kW (60 hp) non-R version. Both the 2017 models sport a 6.5 kWh standard battery. An optional 13 kWh pack is available. All models support adding the Power Tank ($2,695), which at 3.3 kWh, boosts battery capacity to 16.3 kWh and range to about 200 miles.

Charging is via the onboard 120/240 VAC charger or the $2,000 dealer-installed Charge Tank option that uses a Level 2, J1772 charging standard and triples the charging rate from the base charger. The Charge Tank and the Power Tank won’t fit the bike simultaneously. Off-board Quick Chargers are available that work in conjunction with on-board chargers, and increase charge rates by 1 kW each.

In 2017, we’re witnessing the results of a remarkably short, 10-year gestation of electric motorcycles. The major bike manufacturers—BMW, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Polaris, and Yamaha—are watching closely, and in some cases have dabbled with their own prototypes. The bikes you can buy today, though, are the result of a few companies sticking to the basics—getting significant backing, offering reliable and upgradable products, and backing up their dealer and customer base with credible support. Most importantly, for a buyer, the costs have stabilized, and in some cases, dropped. In addition, electric motorcycles may qualify for financial incentives, such as tax credits and rebates.

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