Crate engines are common in the auto world, giving rebuilders and restorers an easy way to replace a tired or blown engine with something new and more powerful. Recently, Ford and GM have extended that idea to electric crate motors, so you can replace the entire internal combustion drivetrain in your car or truck with factory built electric power.
The external appearance of the car or truck can remain unchanged and the only thing you might notice is the absence of a tailpipe. The other obvious difference would be the sound, or lack thereof, when the vehicle drives off. Keeping the stock appearance is pretty neat as is the ability to reverse the procedure should you want to.
Since GM and Ford are committing a lot of resources to electric vehicles, they have ready made crate motors and drivetrains, the GM ecrate is from the Chevy Bolt and Ford takes theirs from the Mustang Mach E GT, a convenient way to expand the market for their electric investment.
Would this work for motorcycles?
Motorcycles, for the most part, have their drivetrain in plain view, if you replace the engine, you’ll see it, but look at the Ducati above, it’s their new electric racer for MotoE. The exhaust is absent, but everything else looks just like a Ducati sport bike. Interesting.
So, my question is, would you ever think about a swap?
Electric motors and batteries and the associated electronics are expensive which means it’s unlikely to be cost effective, though custom builders might jump at the chance and those able to afford high dollar customs would be the target market. It’s also likely to be restricted to those brands building a factory electric, since the cost to develop an electric crate motor kit of some sort, while possible for a custom shop, won’t bring with it the economies of scale a factory would have.
Also, unlike cars where the engine is hidden, the potential motorcycles for a swap like this would likely be those with fairings, like the Ducati shown above plus, motorcycles are often built around a specific engine, so an electric motor and batteries would have to be small enough to allow some flexibility in potential applications.
Of course, even if Ducati decided to provide an e-crate motor, how many Ducati owners would want to eliminate the sound and ride around in the quiet?
I don’t know if this is on anyone’s radar, but after seeing a number of articles on electric crate motors for the four wheel world, I began to think about it. What do you think?