Electric motorcycles offer bikers the chance to get your kicks without any of the oil-burning that comes with a traditional bike. Maybe you have an eco-friendly approach to living, or maybe you just don’t like the idea of a Middle Eastern regime (or Big Oil executive) cashing in when there’s an alternative.
Surveying the electric bikes in production in 2015, the alternatives to gasoline power range from exciting to wildly thrilling. Depending on your price range and heart condition, you can find two-wheelers that equal (or surpass) the fastest bikes on the market without spewing black smoke from the tailpipe. Here are the seven electric motorcycles that feature the highest top speeds of any green bikes in production.
7. Zero SR
Based in Scotts Valley just outside Santa Cruz, Zero Motorcycles has the most extensive electric bike lineup for 2015 with four models (each with multiple battery packs) available with the new model-year badge. The speed demon of the bunch is the 2015 Zero SR ($17,345) that can crank it up to 102 miles per hour. This bike gets a combined 115 miles of range in the base model or 141 miles combined in the Power Tank model ($19,840). Head from zero to 60 in 3.3 seconds with the base SR.
6. Brammo Empulse R
Polaris, maker of Victory and Indian Motorcycles, announced it had acquired Brammo’s electric motorcycle business in January 2015, so expect changes ahead for the Oregon-based manufacturer. In the meantime, the affordable Empulse R ($13,995 for 2014 model, $11,995 for 2013 MY) offers one of the lowest entry prices for a green bike. There’s no compromise on speed. Empulse R hits a top speed of 110 miles per hour and will hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in under 5 seconds.
5. Brutus V9
If you want a superbike from the stylish Brutus line, wait until the ferocious V2 Rocket hits the market. In the meantime, you have the musclebound V9 ($32,490) that combines classic style with serious power. All told, 125 horses and a devastating 277 pounds-feet of torque are on tap in the V9, which can hit a top speed of 115 miles per hour. Hate the puny range of electric bikes? Brutus has that covered in the V9, too, with 280 miles in city driving and 210 miles of highway driving with the largest battery pack. It’s like combining the soul of a Mustang with the range of a Tesla.
4. Lito Sora
Now entering superbike country. You’ll pay upwards of $50K if you want to drive a Lito Sora (Japanese for “sky”) home, but you get value for that lofty sticker price. Carbon fiber construction, aircraft-grade aluminum, soft leather details, and touchscreen controls combine with the first continuously variable transmission (CVT) in an electric bike, making the Sora a luxury ride by any stretch. You can hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 4.7 seconds and run to a top speed of 120 miles per hour in this Lito. Electric range is 120 miles.
3. Energica EGO
Speaking of superbikes, Energica has Italy’s answer to high-end electric motorcycles, and it is difficult to top EGO’s styling or performance specs. The race begins with 143 pounds-feet of torque, which allows this Energica to sprint to 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds and hit a top speed of 149 miles per hour. Real-world range is 120 miles, according to the bike maker. No final price has been quoted yet, but Energica says it will come in below $35K.
2. Mission R
Like Zero Motorcycles and Tesla Motors, Mission Motorcycles operates out of Northern California, the new epicenter of green vehicle production. The Mission R is the flagship superbike that churns out 160 horsepower and 120 pounds-feet of torque in the 15 kWh model ($36,499). Using that power punch, the R can sprint to 60 mils per hour in 3 seconds and hit a top speed of 150 miles per hour. Real-world range is 120 miles (200 miles city range).
1. Lightning LS-218
Lightning made a lot of noise when its electric motorcycle hit 218 miles per hour at Bonneville in 2013, and it decided to name its production bike after that feat. Using 200 horsepower and 168 pounds-feet of torque, the LS-218 can reach 60 miles per hour from a standstill in around 2 seconds on the way to its record-setting top speed. With the 20 kWh battery pack, real-world range is between 160 and 180 miles between charges. Custom models begin at the starting price of $38,888.