A Forgotten Spanish Brand Is Now Making Italian Electric Motorcycles
The influx of electric technology hasn’t only affected trucks and cars. More and more motorcycle companies, both established and new, are creating electric models. Some, like Zero and Cake, only offer electric motorcycles. And recently, another brand announced that it would, too. But while this is the first time Soriano Motori is building electric bikes, it’s not the first time it’s built motorcycles.
Soriano founder, engineer, and businessman Ricardo Soriano Hermensdorff von Scholtz didn’t start off making motorcycles, MCNews.com.au reports. In the 1920s, he designed cars in France. Then, in the 1930s, he made engines for hydroplane boats. And in the 1940s, he settled in Madrid, Spain, to make motorcycles. Working with Michael Giro, the founder of another Spanish bike company, Ossa, von Scholtz founded Soriano, Cycle World reports.
Von Scholtz’s goal was less Ducati and more Vespa when it came to making motorcycles. Rather than chasing performance, Soriano manufactured affordable every-day bikes. The brand’s first production model, the 96cc single-cylinder Tigre (‘Tiger’) demonstrates this well. However, despite following up on the Tigre with several other models, such as the Puma and Pantera, Soriano wasn’t particularly successful. The marque folded in the 1950s after producing roughly 6000 bikes.
Now, however, Soriano has been reborn as an electric motorcycle company. But the bikes won’t be made in Spain. Instead, rather like Qvale, the brand is a bit more international. The owner, Marc Soriano (the relation between him and von Scholtz is unclear, RideApart reports) is American. And the bikes themselves will be built in Italy.
Soriano Motori’s new electric motorcycles
As of this writing, Soriano hasn’t officially revealed its upcoming electric motorcycles. However, it has released some of the models’ specs.
Technically, Soriano’s lineup is built around 3 variations of the same model, Cycle World explains, the Giaguaro (‘Jaguar’). The base model is the V1R, followed by the V1S and V1 Gara. Each electric motorcycle will feature 2 motors that can reportedly function independently. So only one can be on, if the rider’s focusing on efficiency, or both can provide power for additional performance.
The base Soriano V1R is rated at 80 hp, while the V1S and V1 Gara are rated at 90 and 100 hp, respectively. However, it’s unclear if that refers to each individual motor or the combined output. But even the V1R will reportedly be able to go 0-60 in 4.4 seconds; the Gara needs just 3.5 seconds.
Soriano will offer its electric motorcycles with a range of lithium-ion battery packs, the largest of which is rated at 20-kWh. The max range is claimed at 75-100 miles, though the bikes will be compatible with DC fast-chargers. In addition, all 3 models will feature 3-speed manuals and aluminum girder forks.
The former is unusual for an electric motorcycle—Kawasaki is the only other company known to be working on a manual-equipped electric bike. And the latter is typically only found on a few premium motorcycles, like the Curtiss P40 Warhawk and Brough Superior SS100.
Soriano is planning on launching its electric motorcycles in November 2020. The company will only build 100 of each Giaguaro model, and each is currently available for pre-order. The V1R starts at $29,333; the Gara, meanwhile, starts at $37,385.
How the competition compares
Although the Soriano Giaguaro lineup has some interesting features, there are several other electric motorcycles that offer similar performance for less.
The Tarform Luna, for example, will cost about $5000 less when production begins in summer 2020. True, with a 55-hp electric motor, it’s not quite as powerful. But it has a longer range (120 miles). Plus, many of its components are either recyclable or recycled—sometimes, both. In addition, the Luna will offer blind-spot detection and a rear-view camera.
There’s also the Zero SR/S. A full-fairing version of the SR/F, it offers 110 hp and 140 lb-ft. With the optional Power Tank, claimed city range jumps from 161 miles to 201 miles, Road & Track reports. Even with the optional 6kW rapid-charging system, Cycle World reports, the SR/S can only use Level 1 and 2 chargers. However, even with the Power Tank, the Zero SR/S Premium is still about $4400 cheaper than the V1R.
Finally, if you’re after an Italian electric motorcycle, there’s the $21,350 Energica Eva EsseEsse9+. Cheaper than the V1R, the EsseEsse9+ also has a significantly larger claimed range. Even the $17,620 EsseEsse9 can match or exceed Soriano’s bikes in terms of the range, Bennetts reports. Also, the EsseEsse9+ is more powerful, and can do 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, The Drive reports.
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