The Life Electric: Preston Petty is a cool video that Motorcycle.com has released about motorcycling legend about Preston Petty. The 74 year old still races on dirt flat tracks but these days he is using his Zero MX made by Zero Motorcycles. Petty is clearly nostalgic for what he’s done for the industry but he is able to embrace electric motorcycles.
Preston Petty is one of those rare souls that is capable of embracing his own motorcycling heritage while also being a cutting-edge thinker who maintains a fascination with the latest and greatest technology, and that includes Zero electric motorcycles. That’s why, at 74 years old, Petty races flat track with his Zero MX.
“It’s got excellent torque and zero RPM and plenty of power and it’s neighbor friendly.” said Petty about his Zero MX electric motorcycle. “You don’t have to set valves and that sort of thing. The only maintenance are the tires and the chain but otherwise not much.”
When he talked about racing the Zero MX, “When you hit the throttle on it, it’s gone and you better make sure you have enough traction… it’s got regenerative braking.” He seems to be competing well with his Zero Motorcycle against gas powered counterparts at the dirt track. The video is about 8 minutes and is worth a watch.
I ran across a company called Evoke Motorcycles recently, which is a Chinese electric motorcycle company. Evoke claims to be “Asia’s First Electric Motorcycle Company.” While this might be a lofty claim, and it’s always hard to tell what company’s are vaporware, the guy behind the company has an interesting background.
Nathan Siy, the founder of Evoke, runs tours of Beijing on electric scooters with his company Beijing Electric Bike Tours for those that want to explore the city with a guide. The tours get good reviews on TripAdvisor and the concept is smart. The cost to run electric scooters is low as they don’t require much maintenance and charging costs are minimal I imagine in Beijing. (At least I assume electric production and therefore rates are low.) More importantly they don’t produce much noise and are easy to ride which is a plus for talking to people while riding around Beijing and explaining landmarks and attractions. (Again, this is what I assume.) Scooters can also go where cars can’t and there are lots of electric scooters around Beijing.
The experience Siy has gained from running tours and fixing the electric scooters he’s translated that knowledge into starting Evoke Motorcycles it seems.
Urban S100 – Electric Motorcycle
Currently the company only has one model that hasn’t gone on sale, the Urban S100. Here are some specs;
Top Speed – 74 mph
10 kw Direct Drive – Hub Motor
150cc gas engine equivalent
Battery – Lithium Cobalt
Estimated Range – 93 miles City, 55 miles highway
Charge Time – 8 Hours
Starting Price – $6,500
The Urban S 100 looks like a fairly well put together motorcycle. Of courses it’s hard to tell from pictures. From what I can tell the bikes are retrofitted with an electric motor, battery, and motor controller. Still the expertise and manufacturing capabilities are already there. China’s electric scooter industry accounts for the majority of sales around the world, and builds millions of electric mopeds a year, so it makes sense to build electric motorcycles in China. Unsure where I remember hearing this but there were 9+ million electric scooters sold in China last year.
On the website there is a “In the Works” page. They have a model called the Kruzer which will be a cruiser motorcycle. In addition they have a second model the SuperSport V2, which will be a larger and more powerful sportbike compared to the Urban S100. There are no specifications given for the Kruzer of SupserSport V2, price range, or estimated dates of availability.
Siy is a Chinese Canadian (there is a large Chinese population in Canada), so this begs the question, will he import these to North America? Currently the Evoke Motorcycles website has no information about it and it doesn’t even look like you can purchase an Urban S100. There would be a lot of regulatory hurdles in terms of safety standards they would have to meet for the motorcycles to be licensed for US roads though.
If Evoke was able to import electric motorcycles and sell slightly more powerful models it would likely be an attractive option for American and Canadian buyers. Even with import duties and shipping costs they could be sold for less than what is available right now. Zero Motorcycles, arguably the leader in the market right now, has said the most common complaint they hear is their motorcycles are too expensive. The base price for the Zero S is $13,345 and that does not include any taxes, shipping fees, or registration fees. If you want extra mileage range expect to shell out $2,500 for the PowerTank and $600 for the quick charger. You might be able to find a good Zero S, Zero SR, or Zero DS that someone wants to sell used but the savings are not that great. The market is small so electric motorcycles hold their value as far as I can tell. That’s why having an attractive lower cost new bike option would be ideal.
Electric Motorcycle Club’s Take
I haven’t come across any other company like Evoke Motorcycles. Although, there could certainly be other companies like Evoke that are building electric motorcycles in China. That would be logical. I don’t speak or read Chinese. That means I’m not doing searches in Chinese for “electric motorcycles” or “电动摩托车” according to Google Translate. That’s electric motorcycles in Simplified Chinese if it was not clear. 🙂
I hope Evoke is successful and it sounds like Nathan Siy has the expertise and background to build these bikes. However, it’s always hard getting a vehicle company started and operational and I’m not sure if they’ve even sold too many of these yet.
UPDATE – After a little more digging I learned that Evoke Motorcycles evolved out of another company called ElectroForce Motors. Same idea as Evoke, build inexpensive but quality electric motorcycles. ElectroForce is defunct due to a difference of opinion among management I was told but this actually a good thing. According to this article in the South China Morning Post the development and research sounds like it was far along with ElectroForce and they had lined up distributors in other countries.
Loz Blain recently reviewed the Lightning Motorcycle LS-218 for Gizmag. Generally Blain really liked the riding experience and commented “riding this thing around at normal speeds is really pleasant” and “it is a surprisingly easy and friendly bike to ride.”
When he tested out rolling the LS-218 into full throttle “I have never in my life felt acceleration like this” which is a good comment. What’s interesting is that Richard Hatfield, the CEO and founder, said that most riders can’t handle full throttle on the LS-218. Why? The acceleration is ridiculous.
Lightning Motorcycles LS-218 Review
The downside? Well it doesn’t much noise so that’s a negative for traditional motorcyclists. If you want to go fast and have a a ton of spare cash the Lightning LS-218 is probably for you.
You can read the review here if you want to see more of what Loz Blain said about the LS-218.
Welcome to the Electric Motorcycle Club, which will be the first official club for electric motorcycles. Here you can find information, news, all related to the burgeoning electric motorcycle market.
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Internet Official Contest – First Prize Finalist
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ElectricMotorcycleClub.com was honored to be a First Prize Finalist in the Internet Official Contest. This contest is being run by Verisign the domain registry for .COM and .NET domain extensions (yeah, that would be a good gig to have) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the .COM extension. Funny to think that .COM has been around longer than the Internet which Tim-Berners Lee launched in 1995.
Fortunately being a finalist in the Internet Official contest allows us the opportunity to compete for the grand prize of $30,000. How the contest will work is that there will be 10 other finalists announced, for a total of 15. These 15 finalists will be given the chance to garner public votes for their domain names and a panel of judges will also make a determination about which domain they think deserves the grand prize.
If we were to win this money this would really help our mission to create the best club for electric motorcycles. Please stay tuned as we will keep our readers updated with how you can vote for our ElectricMotorcycleClub.com once the voting period starts. We would really appreciate your vote and support. Be safe out there on the roads.
The Energica Ego in a video posted on Youtube shows the all electric motorcycle going head-to-head with several supercars and motorcycles in a drag race. Vehicles that the Energica races against include the Tesla Roadster, Ferrari 458 Italia, BMW 1000RR HP4, Zero S, and a Tesla Model S 85D.
Who wins? What cars or motorcycles are the fastest? Well, I’ll save you the suspense as the Energica Ego wins in each of the drag race match-ups.
Gizmag recently released a really good interview with Richard Hatfield, the founder of Lighting Motorcycles. This electric motorcycle company has made waves since they won Pikes Peak in 2013 beating gas powered motorcycles by almost 20 seconds up the mountain in the Open Class. Also they charged all the bikes using solar panels.
This interview is a bit long but you can just listen to it if you want on SoundCloud. The YouTube video is below.
Hatfield says that one area that electric motorcycles and the Lightning LS-218 have over gas powered bikes is the fact that there is not as much gyroscopic inertia making turns easier.
Energica has announced that is has added three new motorcycle dealerships to it’s franchise network. The new dealerships are in completely different countries which include Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
“Developing a sales network adds value to the project”, says Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica, “it shows how dealers believe in our business. First of all Energica dealers are our partners: we are going to build a successful global brand with them”.
The wording in the press release is not entirely clear but it seems these companies are not only dealerships but distributors too. Anyway here are the three new dealerships that have been added to the network that will be selling Energica Egos:
W.C. Distributing – Energica Official Dealer Distributor for Canada
Extablish AG Energica – Official Dealer Distributor for Switzerland, with the exclusion of Canton of Ticino
Electric Motorcycles Nederland – Energica Official Dealer Distributor for Netherlands
The Italian electric motorcycle has yet to start selling it’s first model, the Energica Ego. The company is backed by a European conglomerate CRP which makes carbon fiber parts for F1 racing cars. The estimated cost for an Energica Ego is $25,000-$28,000 dollars. This begs the question… do you have to have a big Ego to buy one? Early reports from the company’s “Where is my Ego” tour are mostly positive and they are planning on introducing a less expensive model, the Energica Eva, sometime next year. Hopefully these dealerships and distributors in Canada, Switzerland, and the Netherlands can start selling Energicas soon.