Electric motorbikes are fairly new on the market, but this is a growing sector, as demonstrated by the important, historic brand Harley-Davidson. But the Milwaukee company is not alone in believing in zero-emission motorcycles – particularly today now that batteries are becoming lighter and so more practical for a motorbike. Weight is particularly important in motorcycles, and achieving a satisfactory balance between mass, range and performance is not simple. In cars, the situation is completely different, because it is not a deal-breaking problem if extra kilos are added for the batteries, particularly if they are positioned low in the vehicle. But developments in electric motorbikes are proceeding one step at a time, and so the presentation of the Strike by small American company Lightning represents an important event. With a base price of 13,000 dollars, it offers a feasible alternative and compares favourably with many conventional petrol-powered motorbikes.
Lightning Strike – relatively low price, high efficiency
For many motorcyclists, the price close to 30,000 dollars of a Harley-Davidson LiveWire is simply too high. The Lightning Strike comes from Silicon Valley, California, where the company has been working for a decade. It was designed both for the racetrack and for fast road-riding, and for this reason it has sophisticated aerodynamics in order to cut through the air as efficiently as possible. The electric motor is available in two versions, 90 or 120 bhp. Top speeds are 217 km/h and 241 km/h respectively, while overall weight can vary from 206 to 220 kg, according to the type of battery installed. This in turn affects both the range, and the price of the bike.
The charging and battery options for Lightning Strike
There are three battery options, 10, 15 and 20 kWh. The respective ranges are 112-160 km, 169-241 km and 241-322 km, figures calculated to reflect different types of routes and average speed. The Strike requires from 20 minutes to a whole night to recharge the batteries, according to the power of the mains supply and the type of connection. To be able to use the fastest-charging terminals, you have to add an extra $1,500 for a 6.6 kW on-board charger, rather than the usual 3 kW. In addition, there is $1,500 more for a fast DC charger that enables enough power to be transferred in 20 minutes for a range of 160+ km. List prices are $12,998, $16,998 or $19,998 according to the type of battery. At present the Lightning Strike is on sale in the USA alone, but by the end of 2019, the Californian company will announce its plans for international expansion.