Mainstream’ electric motorbike launches
Bikers, on the whole, are more used to lean machines capable of high speeds, high ranges and plenty of noise, so creating a battery-powered bike that can win them over is something of a tall order.
At the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles this week though, one company determined to do just that, launching its first mass-market product after ten years of development.
The Brammo Empulse is the first bike with a 100-mile (160 km) range and 100 mph (160 km/h) top speed and might become the first of its genre to be taken seriously by leather-clad biking aficionados.
Priced at US$16,995, it's hardly the cheapest option on the market, but Brammo believes that users will recoup some of that in fuel savings -- and the environmental impact of its zero-emission drive will make the added outlay worthwhile for some riders.
The Empulse R, a high-performance variant, will start from US$18,995 and features carbon fibre instead of plastic for much of the bodywork.
Electric bikes, much like electric vehicles, have been slow in the development but now seem to be catching on, with a spate of new launches and concepts appearing through the course of the last year.
Volta, a European electric bike manufacturer, is aiming for a lower-cost urban bike and is set to reveal its first product, the Volta BCN, in the coming months, with a range of 70 kilometres.
Zero Motorcycles, one of Brammo's key US competitors, included several models with a range of over 100 miles in its 2012 lineup, although even the-highest-speed models topped out at around 88 mph (140 km/h). — AFP/Relaxnews