At Pikes Peak, electric vehicles really shine, as they do not have to contend with power loss from altitude like combustion-powered vehicles do.
powered vehicles But at Pikes Peak, electric vehicles actually have an advantage. A hill climb that reaches a soaring 14,000+ feet, combustion engines have to deal with power loss at altitude – but electric motors don’t. As a result, electric vehicles have become seriously competitive in both four-wheeled and two-wheeled classes in the last few years – last year, Victory’s Empulse RR finished the course with its 156 treacherous corners in 10:17:813…just seconds off the performance of the fastest gas-powered bike!
Electric motorcycles have also been put on the map in dirt bike racing, with San Francisco-based Alta Motors leading the way there. Their Redshift electric dirt bike has demonstrated excellent performance against gas-powered bikes in 250cc classes in the last several years, but Alta – and electric dirt bikes in general – became the talk of the industry after an impressive performance during Red Bull’s Straight Rhythm event last year. With instant on torque throughout the powerband and no need to shift gears, electric dirt bikes are perfect for racing on dirt tracks – and even better, from a commercial standpoint, they can do all that in near-silence, making the challenge of establishing tracks and riding areas near residential communities a thing of the past.
But while all these races are exciting for the electric motorcycle industry, none have the prestige that well-established heads-up race series on world-renowned race tracks do – but that too is about to change. It was recently announced that MotoGP, the world’s premier motorcycle racing series will be adding an all-electric class by 2019.
The race series will share much of MotoGPs race schedule, touring famous race tracks at major events around the world, and will be a single-make series (like Moto3) to ensure exciting competition. Interestingly, Dorna, MotoGP’s organizer, has said that four major manufacturers have all made offers to be the supplier of the electric bikes – which means that, perhaps, the big OEMs have been working on electric powertrains more than they’ve been letting on.
Despite the rapid growth in electric motorcycle racing of all types, electric motorcycles continue to lag behind commercially. But that should soon change – with huge developments in battery technology driven by the automotive market, range is increasing while cost and charge times are falling rapidly. In fact, Lightning Motorcycles – whose beautiful LS-218 superbike holds the distinction of being the fastest production motorcycles in the world (gas or electric) – will soon send a modified LS-218 on a history-making 400-mile trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco this summer to demonstrate the huge gains made in range with modern battery strore.
For now, most of the development in electric motorcycles will probably come from racing, a trend that is sure to accelerate. Bkut that technology will surely trickle down to commercially available bikes, and it won’t be long until electric motorcycles are some of the most refined, capable, and powerful options on the market. Click Here…