We’re not sure why nobody’s heard about these guys before, but a Quebec company is developing an impressive new electric motorcycle. CMG calls them up for the inside scoop.
Montreal-based LITO Green Motion is building the Sora, an electric bike with a claimed 300-kilometre battery range, a 200 km/h top speed, CVT transmission, regenerative braking, carbon fibre fairing and aluminum chassis.
Hang on, CVT transmission on an electric bike? Well according to the Company’s owner and CEO Jean-Pierre Legris the CVT allows for better acceleration, and a higher top speed from a smaller, lighter (and cheaper) motor.
Of course, if you want to be able to tap into that 300 kilometer range, you’re going to have to ride the bike in commute mode, the batteries getting help thanks to regenerative braking via the rear wheel.
Legris reckons that battery life would be a mere 30 minutes at 200 km/h – if the rider could hold on that long!
The amount of braking energy sent back to the motor/batteries is dependant on the braking force applied to the rear pedal; a hard push tells the computer to allow more power to spin the motor in reverse, meaning the rear brake gets less use to boot.
The main downside to the Sora is the retail price of $42,399. Although Quebec is currently offering a $7000 rebate for such machine, that’s still a chunk more than a Zero or Brammo. But Legris isn’t aiming to compete directly with them, wanting instead to build a no-compromise, high performance and high end electric bike.
If that price leaves you with sticker shock, consider all the features you get for your cash, beside impressive range and top speed.
Battery power is managed by a trademarked SafeRange system; you enter the distance you want to travel, and the bike manages your available battery charge to make sure you don’t waste your power through high-speed antics on your way to your destination.
If you get tired of your riding position, the Sora’s electric seat adjusts, just like a car seat, to maximize your comfort, but don’t get any ideas about Gold Wing -style two-up touring – maximum cargo weight is 200 kg, including rider, accessories, and bags.
Want more electronic bells and whistles? The bike also features keyless start. The machine senses your keycard when you’re close to the bike; all you have to do is press the start button.
There’s onboard GPS, and email notification when you’re bike’s fully charged. If you want to tweak your bike’s acceleration curve, top speed, or change the regenerative braking settings, there’s a USB port on the bike so you can interface with your computer.
On a more typical bike front, brakes are radially mounted four piston Nissins up front with Kayaba USD forks. Quebec based Elke Suspension provide the rear shocks and the aluminum frame was built in partnership with Alcor. Wheels are 17″ six spoke forged billet aluminum. Total weight is 240 Kg.
The company claims a 150,000-kilometre battery life for their lithium-polymer unit, if you keep your average speed around 70 km/h. Charge time is eight hours if you’re using a 110-volt 15-5 nema connector, but an external quick charger can bring that number down to two hours.
They’re currently taking pre-orders via their website with an expected delivery date of October 2011.
There is no dealer network and none planned just yet either, though they are considering opening a corporate store in the near future. The bike has already met all requirements for sale in Canada, US and Europe and comes with a one-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
So one last question for Legris; why build a high end electric bike?
Apparently he originally wanted to build an electric car (Legris’ background is automotive engineering, working with the likes of Honda and Peugeot) but the OEMs have pretty well got that side covered. This is not the case with motorcycles however – especially for someone who wanted to build the most uncompromising electric motorcycle to date.
If you want to find out more about the Sora, check out their website, or head to the Montreal Grand Prix on the weekend of the 10/11/12 June as LITO will be showing off the bikes there.
Lightweight aluminum 6061-T6
1498 mm (59.0 in.)
43 mm inverted cartridge fork.
Elka suspension fully adjustable preload. Aluminum swingarm
Front: 120/70 ZR17
6-spoke lightweight forged billet aluminum
Dual semi-floating 310 mm petal discs, radial-mount opposed 4-piston calipers 2-pad
Single 250 mm petal disc,
240 kg (529.2 lbs.)
Adjustable electric seat from 750 to 850mm (29.5 to 33.5 in.)
Liquid-cooled 3-phase AC induction
Belt final drive and CVT transmission
Crank: 80 Nm (59 ft-lb, 0-6000rpm)
|SORA top speed
200 km/h (120 mph)
12 kWh lithium-polymer battery modules with integrated Battery Management System, on-board charge, J1772 compatible
LITO advanced software,integrated computer, regenerative braking, 3 control modes (performance, eco, safe range)
Approximately 8 hours
Digital unit with displays for:
Up to 300 km (185 miles