Practical electric motorcycles, little more than a dream 20 years ago, are fast becoming a reality. The speed to attract enthusiasts is here now, though the range and short recharge times needed to appeal to commuters and tourers is still some time in the future. But maybe that future isn’t as far away as you think, judging by recent records set on electric motorcycles.
First, Terry Hershner completed the first coast-to-coast ride on an electric motorcycle by riding a Zero equipped with a Craig Vetter-designed fairing from Santa Monica, CA, to Jacksonville, FL, in five days and 15 hours. Now, Thad Wolff and the Moto-Electra crew have made the crossing in 84.5 hours, almost exactly three-and-a-half days, using an e-bike based on a Norton Featherbed chassis.
Wolff’s and Moto-Electra’s record run was backed by a chase van equipped with a generator to charge the bike’s battery. Although capable of 150 miles between charges, the team made one-hour charging stops every 100-120 miles to prevent deep-discharging the battery pack.
The 2500-mile ride was done not to prove the adequacy of the existing electric-vehicle charging grid, said Moto-Electra team manager Brian Richardson, but to show off the capabilities of current electric-vehicle technology. “Obviously, electric vehicles will need to travel 300 miles to a charge at highway speeds,” he added, “before they will be truly viable for the general public as highway vehicles. It’s in the future, but coming.”