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Electric Motorcycles - Ecobobs Top 5 in 2016

Electric Motorcycles, Redux!

Two years has passed since our last foray into the world of electric motorcycles, so we thought it was due time to re-visit the electric motorcycle market. Like last time around, we'll list a few of the markets favourites, along with some of our own.

The last two years has seen some interesting developments in battery technologies. Batteries are now able to store more power for longer and with lesser charge times; the progression of batteries can only equate to better electric motorcycles.

With that being said, lets have a look at some of the most popular electric motorcycles of the last 2 years. We'll feature just one model from each brand mentioned, as many of the brands mentioned have several electric cycles to choose from in their extensive ranges.

First up, the Zero SR.

Zero SR electric motorcycle

Zero have quickly established themselves as one of the most popular electric motorcycles available around the world today. And this is no fluke, Zero pay particular attention to what their customers are after, specifically; power, design, sustainability and affordability. All these attributes can be found in the Zero SR, coming in at a pricey, but worthy, $16,000 -$18,500.

A sleek machine to look at, the air forced-cooling system coupled with the instant torque of the "Zforce" motor offers its rider a stylish ride and a fast one at that. The motor requires very little maintenance, and is capable of 67 hp with 106 ft-lbs of torque, that's some serious stuff right there. Zero electric motorcycles make use of impressive lithium-ion batteries, meaning you can get more kilometres under your belt, whilst charging will take only a fraction of the time that other electric motorcycles are providing. You can also recycle the batteries once they have reached their life span of around 650,000 kilometres.

Without getting to carried away with details, the Zero SR has proven itself to be one of, if not the, finest electric vehicle on the market today. The whole Zero range is impressive; we suggest you check out their website for more amazing electric motorcycles.

We now introduce the 2015 Brammo Empulse R.

Brammo Empulse R

The Brammo Empulse R looks and feels like a regular sporty motorcycle, with sleek aesthetics and even an optional clutch and shift lever (lacking from most, if not all, electric motorcycles) which adds to its allure. Brammo appeal, in part, to a segment of the market that sometimes struggles with the electric motorcycle idea, the clutch and shift lever provide the rider with a familiar experience that can be found on a regular motorcycle. A compact and narrow machine, the Empulse R has been geometrically designed to offer the rider excellence in handling and comfort.

Charging time for the battery is around the 8-hour mark, using a 120-volt house hold plug in. Quicker charging is available through charging stations (Auckland has a few!) via the on-board Empulse charger.The Brammo Empulse R is suited to both newbies and veterans, offering something for everyone, its price tag sits at $18,000 - $20,000.

Well it might not be suited for everyone, but the Energica Ego is a powerful Electric superbike that takes itself, and its customers fun-o-meter, pretty seriously.

Energica Ego electric motorcycle

With 97 horses this bad bay will cut lanes faster than you probably think, and is turning heads in the motorcycle world just as quickly. These electric motorcycles are all about speed and functionality, offering the rider different riding modes; rain, race, eco and standard. A perfect motorcycle for the changeable New Zealand weather, if only they'd hurry up and sell them here.

The motorcycle looks and feels like a superbike, minus the noise and exhaust, and it does a lot in regard to changing the public perception of what an electric motorcycle is capable of achieving. Again, this motorcycle is not for everyone, but then, it never intended to be.

The Energica Ego is a sight to behold, and we can't wait to test drive one ourselves. We say test drive, because as much as we'd love to own one, the $40,000 price tag is slightly, way out of, our budget.

Harley Davidson, the mid-life crisis, the thundering anti-hero, the reluctant changer, has done just that, embraced change. In 2014, the Harley Davidson Live-wire was introduced to the public, and surprisingly, it has been well received by the faithful and recently converted. A small surprise considering that their customer base has been known to adhere to traditional motorcycle ideology; gears, grunt and gasoline.

Project live wire is yet to be in full production mode, so at this stage it is still to be considered a prototype, but one can see that it's not far from production quality.

It's a little bulkier than what we are beginning to see as a "traditional electric motorcycle" but perhaps that's the point. Harley Davidson is American through and through, large and in charge, the Live wire is still just a little squirt compared to its gas guzzling siblings, but still has enough of a presence on the road.

The charging time is still around 8-10 hours for its 300 volt, three phase brushless electric motor, and you can expect speeds of up to 145km. When you are reaching significant speeds you'll notice the absence of sound. This lack of sound has people divided, some enjoy the serenity, while others yearn for the pipes that scream like thunder. Perhaps there is sense in the old mantra "loud pipes save's lives"? Either way, we can't wait to test ride this puppy.

Lastly, a little dirt bike action.

Alta motors Redshift MX bike is one bundle of fun for off road adventures and dirt tracks. Alta motors have been chipping away at the electric motorcycle market for some time now, building dirt motorcycles to much fanfare. However, the newest edition to the Redshift line is something fresh indeed.

The Redshift MX has proven to be capable of not only matching its gas powered counter parts, but beating them too, as recently achieved by Keven Butler, who beat traditional dirt bikes in the Supermoto US race series in November 2015, winning the event.

The Redshift MX looks the part, it's style and vibe is very much reminiscent of traditional dirt bike, albeit looking a little more futuristic. The designers of the motor, and the cycle itself, have built this machine from the ground up, with designs that are still being closely guarded.

Only small snippets of information have been available to the public at present, but this electric motorcycle is one that is already proving its capabilities against standard machines, so watch this space.

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