The Volcon Grunt is not your typical motorcycle. It has rubberized cartoon tires and a single LED Cyclops headlight. It is not a cruiser or a street racer. In fact, it is not even legal to ride on the street.
But with a top speed of 60 mph and an electric motor that its manufacturer says can go 100 miles on a charge, what it can do is take you deep into nature and back, almost silently. The target market for the $ 5,995 Grunt is less easy riders than hunters, hikers, anglers, bird watchers, and other adventure seekers.
Andrew Leisner, CEO of Austin, Texas-based Volcon, says, “This is a motorcycle not designed for motorcyclists.”
Apparently the same can be said for many of its competitors. After nearly two decades of electric cars, there is a boom in electric motorcycles of all shapes and sizes. There are commuter bikes, country bikes, and even some of the most elite sports bikes that cost over $ 100,000.
Some, like the Harley-Davidson Livewire, have been heavily promoted and tested, it seems, by every journalist with a motorcycle license. Others, like the Zero SR / S, are trusted resources in electric vehicle circles that are largely unheard of by the large cycling population. Others, like the Tarform Luna, have yet to debut; That one is scheduled to begin shipping later this year. Each, of course, promises sleek, emission-free alternatives to internal combustion.
The electric motorcycle segment has been constrained by the high initial cost of batteries but is gaining ground. In 2019, the global market for electric motorcycles and scooters reached $ 30 billion, according to research firm Global Market Insights. It is projected to grow 4% annually for the foreseeable future and reach $ 40 billion by 2026, GMI reports. Meanwhile, the market for conventional motorcycles has stagnated.!
Electric motorcycles foster that growth because they offer a lower barrier of entry for beginning motorcyclists and weekend enthusiasts. They can also reach outlying places for motorcyclists that most traditional motorcycles can’t reach, Leisner says, such as people who like to ride off-road in remote, unspoiled locations who aren’t friendly to noisy engines. and vehicular pollution.
“We believe this enthusiasm for the outdoors in general, camping and fishing, and life in trucks is growing, even after the pandemic,” says Leisner. “We are in a great space.”
Better yet, recent electric offerings, such as those from California-based Zero Motorcycles, can now successfully compete with conventional motorcycles when it comes to build quality and performance.
It won’t be long before there is stiff competition for gasoline versions, according to the head of BMW’s motorcycle unit. “Electric mobility will be important for motorcycles in urban areas within five years,” BMW Motorrad CEO Markus Schramm told CycleWorld. Although he admits that BMW’s own concept, which promised a futuristic cylindrical electric motor housed underneath the battery and power sent to the rear wheel via a universal hub, will not come true.
Still, there are plenty of featured products available now or soon for whatever you need (except maybe the noisy tailpipe). We assemble some and point out others that are still on their way to market. Emptor warning: while some of these come from established companies, many are from startups with little experience. Read on for the full list, organized by category:
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The Sporty Sophisticates
Looking as cool as a Ducati and solidly built, the California-made Zero SR / S sports bike gets the nod wherever it goes.
Who would drive it: Hollywood executives and Silicon Valley regulars whose other car is a Tesla.
Strengths: The SR / S is well built, fast, and practical, with storage where a tank of gas would have been, plus extensive onboard technology and application support, with Bluetooth connectivity. Of all the motorcycles
(gasoline and electric) we road-tested in 2020, this was the best.
Weaknesses: It is expensive compared to most conventional motorcycles
of similar performance, but still less than many others on this list.
The Arc Vector was developed by a group of engineers led by Jaguar Land Rover founder and former Special Vehicle
Operations Engineer Mark Truman. They are handcrafted in England and personalized for each owner.
Who Would Ride It: Design-driven riders with sassy haircuts, fitted leather jackets … and cash.
Strengths: The Vector is powerful and fast with long battery life. We look forward to testing your special additional helmet with a pilot system that integrates a head-up display, camera, and Wi-Fi inside to allow for fewer distractions while riding.
Weaknesses: It is the most expensive motorcycle
on this list. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2019, but Truman bought back the assets in 2020 and now says all systems are working.
The Lightning Strike Carbon is the latest from Lightning, a California-based company whose founder converted his Porsche 914 to run on battery power in the 1990s and has been experimenting with electric motorcycle technology
since the early 2000s. 2013, a previous Lightning beat gas-powered motorcycles to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado’s long-running annual race.
Who would ride it: speed-loving and reckless.
Strengths: With a rocket design, it includes elite components including Ohlin’s front and rear suspension, Brembo Monoblock brakes, and an AIM Strada racing dash with a lap timer and GPS-based data logging. Offers multiple options for battery size and charge. The top tier will do a good quick charge for 100 miles of driving range in just 20 minutes.
Weaknesses: Patience is required if you request one. “We do not guarantee when your motorcycle will actually be delivered,” according to the company’s website.
Made by the Modena, Italy-based CRP Group, the Energica Eva EsseEsse9 + is a classic-style motorcycle
that’s powerful enough to ride on the road, with amenities like heated handlebars, cruise control, and remote start, and a bench seat for two. riding.
Who Would Ride It: Seasoned riders looking to ride a few real miles.
Strengths: The Eva EsseEsse9 + has one of the highest range limits in the class. It has four riding modes (Urban, Eco, Rain, Sport), four regenerative braking modes, and advanced dash settings. Parent company CRP Group has offered sustainable mobility options for more than four decades.
Weaknesses: Beyond the name of the tongue twister? It is heavy compared to similar electric scooters.
Manufactured by a Canadian company founded in 2017, the Damon Hypersport Premier combines extensive engineering from industry leaders with the aggressive, eye-catching look of a sports bike.
Who would ride it: Miami / Los Angeles city dwellers and video gamers.
Strengths: The Hypersport is among the most powerful and fastest electric motorcycles
available today. And it’s made by a company with healthy business prospects: On March 11, Damon announced that he has more than $ 30 million in funding plus $ 20 million in pre-orders for his all-electric motorcycle.
Weaknesses: There are limited quantities available (we haven’t gotten a test model yet) and the ones for sale cost the same as an Audi sedan.
The Road Warriors
Who would ride it: Those nostalgic for Harleys but not leather, or early adopters of a second bike.
Strengths: It’s comfortable for long rides, and it was solid even on the race track where we first tested it in 2019. Seven selectable riding modes (including Sport, Road, Range, and Rain). An extensive and reliable dealer network.
Weakness: It is heavy and is among the highest-priced participants in the market. You’ll need 12 spare hours for a full charge without a quick charger, one of the longest of the bunch.
is the first electric cruiser from a company that according to their (somewhat random) website was founded in 2017, or was it 2016? In California.
Who would use it: Those willing to challenge the first product of a new brand.
Strengths: Although we didn’t test this one, it has what seems like a comfortable riding position; fast charging can take you to 80% of full capacity in about 30 minutes, Hadin says.
Weaknesses: It’s on the heavier end of the electric motorcycle scale, and a full charge is billed in eight hours.
The Urban Cafe Hoppers
The 74-year-old Italian company’s trademark scooter, the Vespa Elettrica 70km / h
offers iconic Florentine curves, without the fumes.
Who would ride it: Anyone chasing la dolce vita in 62-mile bursts.
Strengths: With an easy ride and ample storage space under the seat, we found it tremendously usable when we tested it for a few weeks recently in Los Angeles. It’s easy to use and maintain, it’s affordable compared to more powerful electric motorcycles
, and it has all the performance that riders in urban environments will really need. The battery is fully recharged in four hours after a simple plug-in.
Weaknesses: For anything other than casual neighborhood riding and light, varied tasks, the Vespa is underpowered.
The Tarform Luna
is an industrial-looking café racer, with sustainable components made from flax fibers, recycled aluminum, and biodegradable leather, from a Brooklyn startup that has limited production.
Who Would Ride It: All Brooklyn hipsters, need we say more?
Strengths: It reportedly has a unique sound developed especially for the motorcycle
, in addition to three riding modes (Eco, City, Sport). Advanced technology includes a rear-facing camera and radar that acts as blind-spot detection – vibration through the seat alerts the driver of any vehicle to the blind spot. Plus, it goes from vacuum to 80% of battery capacity in less than an hour.
Weaknesses: Although we didn’t use it, judging by the specs, the Luna is slower and less powerful than other electric motorcycles
in the same price range.
The silent Horwin CR6 Pro
is developed by a China-based company that makes brightly colored electric scooters with the curves of retro toasters.
Who would use it: commuters, delivery men in Bonn and Antwerp.
Strengths: You can get enough charge after 20 minutes to cover 20 or 30 kilometers (up to about 20 miles). It takes three hours to fully charge the batteries, at a cost of less than € 1 (about a dollar).
Weaknesses: Available only in Europe.