“It feels like the hand of God you encounter up the road’

E-cars grabbed all the headlines, but what about electric motorcycles? They are fast, clean, and quiet, and the major manufacturers have woken up to their potential as legislators around the world to bear down on the emissions of a vehicle.

Richard Hatfield, chief of the Silicon Valley-based electric motorcycle maker lightning motorcycles, believes that the experience of riding his high-performance superbike borders on the divine.

“It has something almost magical about a bike ride, where you turn the throttle and you get this incredible acceleration: no noise, no vibration …it is this seamless thrust,” he enthuses.

The first time he drove felt like “the hand of God coming behind you and pushing them up the road”.

Lightning ‘ s can only do the production model, the LS-218, 0-60mph in under two seconds and reaches a top speed of 218mph (361km/h). All through the battery.

In 2013, the company made history by winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb “The race to the clouds” – against electric -, and gasoline-engine rivals.

But this kind of power-cost – prices start at $39,000 (£29,000).

Lightning Motorcycles

So, Mr. Hatfield know if its electric motorcycles are ever reaches the masses, he’ll have to roll-out more affordable models in the future.

This was in the strategy of Zero Motorcycles, another Silicon Valley-based electric bike manufacturer.

Sam Paschel, the company’s chief executive, cited the performance as the number one selling argument for his bikes.

“As you can see, with a Tesla, the torque and power you out of the line, the acceleration is on another level from most of the gas [petrol] motorcycles,” says Mr. Paschel, also wax lyrical about “instant torque at any speed.”

This is a electric Motor the ability to maximum power immediately, if it is running only start-up or high-speed – in contrast to a gasoline engine, the tractive force at different speeds, depends on what gear you’re in, and how much HP it has.

Zero-the most powerful model has a top speed of 100 mph (161 km/h) and accelerate to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. This is on a par with some of the cheaper than in conventional models, the likes of BMW, Ducati, and Honda.

Zero Motorcycles

Mr. Paschel cites density annual rate of 8% -10% improvement in battery energy and power as a “natural wind from the back in the power and range” for electric motorcycles.

His team hand-makes the 2,000-10,000 of them a year at their facility in the Santa Cruz mountains. The company has an annual of double-digit revenue growth since 2006, says he, with the USA, France and Germany as its main markets.

The company offers six models with a starting price of $8,500 for his 50-mile bike area. For a long distance (100-200 km) and more of a strong performance, you need a larger battery, so you’d pay closer to $16,000.

The battery is about half the cost of the bike.

Most of the electric motorcycles can be charged with a standard outlet, but a full charge can be up to eight hours on this. For faster loading – one to two hours – you need a bike, equipped with a quick-charging port, with the existing car-charging infrastructure.

Energica

Most of the mainstream bike-makers to develop prototypes and even legendary brand Harley-Davidson has announced the launch of an electric model from the series in the next year.

In racing, 2019, the first ever MotoE series for E-bikes, take a seat in addition to five European MotoGP race, with slightly modified versions of the Energica Ego.

In China, where the government offers subsidies to electric vehicle makers, there are thousands of electric-motorcycle-manufacturer produce all kinds of model, from low-powered scooters to high-performance speed bikes.

The Chinese Evoke Urban S-model is due to go on sale in the UK later in the year 2018. And in Berlin, Germany, a Coup an electric scooter-sharing scheme launched in the last year.

Evoke Motorcycles

“Motorcycle technology – such as the injection, the break emissions equipment, ABS – tends to isolate, Auto-technology, the of four to six years,” explains Lightning, Mr. Hatfield.

But now improvements in electric motors and lithium-ion battery technology electric bikes have activated depending on the power, the reach and the speed of the traditional internal combustion engine bikes.

How an electric bike has relatively few moving parts, the maintenance and the vibration is minimal. With a large battery pack, the electric motor drives the rear wheel, there is no stinky fumes or greasy parts.

In the year 2020, Europe, China and the United States to introduce more stringent emission standards for motorcycles, which could increase the cost and reduce the performance of conventional bikes, and give an impetus to their electrical counterparts.

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Outside of the United States and Europe, fossil-fuel-motorcycles – mopeds – are often the primary mode of transport. But their popularity means that they are also the largest contributors to environmental pollution.

So the idea of a “guilt-free” ride is a selling point for environmentally conscious consumers, and something many governments around the world are keen to promote, especially in Asia, smog-bound cities.

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To do Harley-Davidson, the decision for the introduction of an electric model, maybe something to do with declining sales and plant closures in the last ten years. His appeal was waning as fast as its clientele is older of the population.

But his recent partnership with the electric-motorcycle-maker Alta motors could change the trajectory.

“We want to be a world leader in the electrification of motorcycles,” said Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich in a statement.

Anthony Shortland

But for many of the traditional motorcycle enthusiast, especially Harley-owners, the rushing Symphony of the internal combustion engine is a big part of the appeal.

The quieter electric-bikes have something of an image problem?

Anthony Shortland is a 55-year-old Silicon Valley engineer who rides a noisy gasoline-engine Triumph motorcycle for his daily commute to work.

“My beautiful Triumph screws is nothing more than a bucket, a hell of a lot of moving parts, all of which need to be serviced,” he says. “It is the result of 100 years of incremental engineering.”

But he also thinks that he might succumb to the charms of electric a day.

“E-bikes are a complete game-changer,” he says. “I have the elegance and efficiency of the building and appreciate a vehicle around electric motors.

“The E-bike really is the king of efficient engineering.” Follow the technology to the Business editor, Matthew wall, on Twitter and Facebook
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