While I was away, my inbox never slept and judging by the number of notices coming in for concept, pre-production or in-production electric motorcycles, you would think the end of fossil fuels had already arrived. The discussion of that possibility deserves a post all its own, but I thought I’d highlight a few of the latest rechargeable two wheelers, in no particular order, to see what we’re dealing with.
First up is the most far out in the design category, Curtiss Motorcycles. It’s the rebirth of Confederate Motorcycles under a new and politically correct name, but also completely dedicated to electric power. The CEO is still Matt Chambers and their latest design, the Hades, is from none other than JT Nesbitt, who previously worked with Confederate on the Wraith and Hellcat.
The other design currently in their lineup is the Zeus Radial V8 with batteries laid out in a V8 array, reminiscent of the bike designed and ridden by Glenn Curtiss in 1907 setting a speed record of 136.3 mph. Each cylinder holds a battery in visual homage to the engine it replaces.
Both designs are a great example of what I said years ago, that electrics, without the internal combustion engine to work around, would be able to reshape motorcycles into almost anything you can imagine. This design freedom will not only bring us a lot of new designs, but designers, too. I’m looking forward to it.
As to the specifics of these two, the specs are the pretty much the same for both; a proprietary axial motor of 217 horsepower and 147 foot-pounds of torque, battery capacity of 16.8 kWh at 399 volts and a Cascadia Motion PM100 Propulsion Inverter putting it all together. Both bikes are priced at $75,000.
Neither bike is currently being manufactured, production is slated for 2020.
These designs will occupy a very limited niche market, the same as the Wraith, Hellcat and various other models did for Confederate. I’d expect the usual suspects to be signing up for pre-orders.
If visual impact is the measure of success, these bikes have it. How will they perform in the real world? When they become real, we’ll see. What relationship will they have to the larger market for electric motorcycles? Probably the same as that previously held by Confederate to the world of motorcycles in general.
I like both of these designs, I think their appearance is striking and they may spur other designers to get a little more creative when they’re coming up with new models of their own. Curtiss is worth watching.