If you want to buy an electric motorcycle today, you have the choice between models from Zero Motorcycles and Brammo Inc.
Zero Motorcycles is based in Santa Cruz, California and has been around since 2006. For 2014, it has a line of four different bikes:
– The Zero SR, with 63 hp and a max speed of 102 mph. Comes with a 11.4 kWh lithium battery, allowing for a range between 70 and 137 miles. Cost: $16,995. Available with the Power Tank option (extra battery of 2.8 kWh), giving it a range from 88 to 171 miles, and pushing the price to $19,490.
– The Zero S, with 54 hp and a max speed of 95 mph. Comes with a 8.5 kWh lithium battery, allowing for a range between 53 and 103 miles. Cost: $12,995. Comes also with a 11.4 kWh battery option (range between 70 and 137 miles). Cost: $14,995. Available with the Power Tank option (range bwetween 88 and 171 miles), for a total price of $17,490.
– The Zero DS, a combination of dirt and street bike, with the same motorization and battery options as the Zero S. Priced from $12,995 to $17,490.
– The Zero FX, available in two versions: with a 27 hp motor with a 2,8 kWh battery (range between 15 and 35 miles)), and a 44 hp motor with a 5.7 kWh battery. Top seed is 85 mph for both models. Prices are $9,495 and $11,990.
A Chademo quick charger adapter is available as an option for all Zero models. The firm had recently a recall mandated by the government for all 2012 and 2013 models to adapt the controller firmware. Interestingly, the recall affected 667 bikes, which gives us a good idea of the level of sales in the US. To that number we need to ad the bikes sold in Canada and most European countries, except Great Britain and Italy. Zero also recently announced a partnership to sell its bikes in Australia.
Brammo Inc. is based in Ashland, Oregon and was founded in 2009 by Craig Bramscher. It has a line of two models, and one limited edition:
– The Enertia Plus, with 17 hp and a max speed of 60 mph. Comes with a 6.2 kWh lithium battery, allowing for a range between 40 and 80 miles. Cost: $9,995.
– The Empulse, with 54 hp and a max speed of 105 mph. Comes with a 10.2 kWh lithium battery, allowing for a range between 51 and 126 miles. Has a 6-speed transmission. Cost: $14,995.
– The Empulse R/Icon Spec 32,. Same specs as the Empulse R, but it is a 2013 limited edition of 32 units. Still available at a price of $19,995.
It is difficult to know how successful Brammo has been. That the 2013 Empulse R is still available is not a good sign. It has some European distributors, and just signed a new distributor in Great Britain. Brammo has already raised $17 millions. It plans to raise a total of $150 millions and go public in 2015. In a recent interview, Craig Bramscher mentioned that he plans to also produce an electric car… We are tempted to tell him to stick to electric motorcycles. The automotive graveyard is full of wannabe electric car makers like Fisker, Coda, Think, Aptera, etc.
According to Navigant Research, 2014 should be the breakout year for electric motorcycles. And several new manufacturers should enter the market during the year, like BRD, Lightning and Mission from the US, and some imports: the Energica Ego from Italy, the Agility Saietta from England and the Lito Sora from Canada. Will it be enough to get this market really going? Let’s hope so.