It’s fair to say a motorcycle genie is well-and truly out of the bottle, and it’s electric. Several moments are coming together that will make the ride towards electric motorcycles shift into a higher gear.
Many younger riders often ask older bikers what it was like when certain, historic motorcycle milestones were set. Not to oversell what’s cruising through our current two-wheeled history but this could very well be one of those moments that are asked about.
As we write this, Energica Motor Company’s electric streetfighter is riding from Los Angeles to San Francisco in a single day along the iconic Highway One, the major north-south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of California.
Being called the ‘Energica Eva California 1 Tour’, it will set a new record in the world of electric vehicles and certainly a proud moment for the Italian electric motorcycle manufacturer to hang their helmet on. Also, a huge biker wave should go to Bill LeVasseur, the rider cruising to this record. Anyone who’s laid down serious miles knows that this long of a stretch leaves its own unique aches and pains.
Bill LeVasseur is scheduled to take the Energica Eva California 1 Tour - Source Energica Motor Company
But it’s much more than a plaque on the wall and bragging rights on the next bike night, rather a demonstration of the viability of electric motorcycles for a wider range of riders. Using the Energica Eva’s onboard accessory a DC fast charge, the electric motorcycle to be recharged up to 80% capacity in less than 30 minutes. This option allows for 350 miles in just one day, making it the first electric motorcycle in the world to make this trip in one single day.
This latest effort changes the dynamics for bikers shopping for a new ride who may have looked past the option of an electric motorcycle due to perceived range limitations.
Aside from the various technologies the likes of Energica Motor Company and Zero Motorcycles are bringing to the biker table, today’s electric achievement shows there is a growing infrastructure to make this riding alternative viable for everyday enthusiasts.
To use a 90’s corporate cliché, it’s a paradigm shift.
Coincidence is a funny thing, at around the same time Energica Motor Company is showing its electric muscle, Lightning Motorcycle are promising to reveal its latest technology innovations at the renowned Quail Motorsport Gathering in Carmel, California taking place this weekend.
Lightning builds the fastest production motorcycle in the world, has won many road racing competitions and set several world speed records. At first glance, riders not interested in track days or performance riding may not have an immediate interest, however Lightning’s solutions have been used in a range of electric applications. The electric motorcycle manufacturer states their innovations can be found in fuel cell hybrid electric buses, hybrid cars, electric motorcycle, electric ATV, electric yard trucks for ferrying shipping containers, professional ocean racing yachts and many other areas.
Lightning Motorcycle's competition quality bike - Source Lightning Motorcycles
Not everything needs to be world-breaking to be considered revolutionary. While world records and achievements make headlines, when something becomes an everyday event it’s moving us into a new world gently and with subtle nudges. In some ways, it’s a more powerful shift than a one-off world record.
An example of this would be the Apollo moon landings. When the program reached the later missions the public’s fascination faded with many not even carried live by broadcasters, but reported after the fact. Ironically, NASA engineers made huge advancements in technology during the missions the world considered as just another day in space.
To a lesser degree, this is happening with electric motorcycles.
When electric motorcycle teams such as Zero Motorcycles and Hollywood Electrics started entering the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb the media dissected the motorcycles taking part, what the competing teams faced as well as the advantages and disadvantages of electric over traditional motorcycles.
2016 Zero SR - Source Zero Motorcycles
It turned out electric motorcycles, and electric vehicles in general, tend to dominate this type of event and while it’s still reported on, probably not as in-depth as it was when electric was considered a new concept.
Without being invited into the skunk works of the various electric motorcycles manufacturers, Clutch and Chrome is sure the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb competition and others like it have led to many advancements and breakthroughs.
While May 12th, 2016 and the weekend following may never be considered definitive dates where electric motorcycles killed the V-Twin it will certainly be mentioned in the pages of Wikipedia as a notable moment.
Motorcycle enthusiasts should do themselves the favor of following the ‘Energica Eva California 1 Tour’ and check with Clutch and Chrome next week to hear what Lightning Motorcycle revealed at Quail Motorsport Gathering. After all, you’ll need to know what to tell the future riders when we rode through these revolutionary motorcycle times.