Limited battery space once made it hard for production electric motorcycles to approach highway speeds. Now that batteries are lighter and more compact, there are more choices.
Zero Motorcycles' street legal Zero SR 2016 model can hit 102 mph, has a range up to 161 miles on the standard version, and cost about $14,400 after government incentives. The electric Empulse TT from Victory Motorcycles retailed for around $20,000 in 2016. Its fast-charging 10,400 watt-hour battery and AC electric motor with regenerative braking give the bike top speeds exceeding 100 mph. In late 2015, Yamaha indicated it was getting serious about electric motorcycles by unveiling the PES2 and PED2 concept bikes at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Despite all the speed heading to the show room floor, the National Electric Drag Racing Association's longtime record holder in the production motorcycle category was a moped that went a mere 21.01 mph in June 2011. One reason for the low speed on the books is that a production motorcycle has set specs so the owner would have to tweak it to push the limits, voiding the warranty and insurance.
An additional factor is limited selection within a reasonable price range, NEDRA PR and communications director Raymond Cooper noted. "
are better off buying a used bike from the scrap yard and starting there or, better still, building a custom bike from scratch," he said. "This gives the rider better flexibility in the setup and configuration."