Electric motorcycles at Milan

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Freeride E
While the KTM Freeride E was supposed to show up soon, the company's CEO seems to think there are some issues with the battery technology - mainly safety and expense.

We’ve shown you the bikes from Milan’s EICMA show, we’ve shown you the scooters, but what about the electric motorcycles? Here’s a summary of last week’s battery bike highlights.


KTM

Ride around abandoned warehouses without alerting security!

KTM took advantage of the Milan show to unveil their Freeride electric offroader – again. Pictures of this project have been circulating as far back as 2008. Now they say they’re ready to sell 100 units in 2012, and if their market studies give them favourable indications, they’ll make more to sell. Because, you know, it wouldn’t pay to rush into anything …

KTM's Freeride E was big news at the Milan show.

Anyway, here’s some specs: KTM reckons their machine’s 2.1 KwH lithium ion battery should get riders 20 minutes of “professional” riding or 45 minutes of “amateur” riding, whatever that means. Then you’ve got to wait 90 minutes while it recharges from a 220v wall socket.

It weighs 204 pounds; the motor puts out 10 hp, with a peak output of 30 hp. Frame is a steel-aluminum composite, with a plastic subframe, suspension is by WP. Tires are 21 inches in diameter up front, and 18 inches in the rear.

If people start buying this bike from KTM in great numbers, it’s going to be a game-changing machine for the industry as a whole – electric bikes will be available at mainstream dealers, instead of internet warehouses or department stores. On the other hand, if the bike is a bust, other major manufacturers could be scared off electric bikes for a long time yet. Stay tuned!


Volta

Styling is decent for the Volta BCN City, even if the specs look a little weak.

Spanish firm Volta unveiled two new battery bikes at Milan, the BCN City and Sport.

Both are powered by the same powerplant – a 3.1kWh lithium-polymer battery gives juice to a 33bhp electric motor, gives you about 45 miles of range, and takes 2 hours to recharge. The battery is supposed to retain 80 per cent of its charge capacity after 1500 charges.

Volta’s new machines are supposed to be available for sale next summer.


Zero

Zero's 2012 lineup should be available in less than three months.

Zero’s fighting back hard against competitor Brammo. As we told you last week, they’ve countered Brammo’s gearbox feature by offering new powerpacks with greater range – a claimed 116 miles/183 kms for the 9 kw unit, or 76 miles/121 kms for the 6 kw unit. They say this makes them the first manufacturer to offer a 100-mile range as a standard option.

Styling looks similar for the new models, maybe even identical. Zero says the new machines should be available at dealers in less than three months.


Honda

Here's an electric concept that most people can appreciate.

One of the coolest concept bikes we saw last week was Honda’s RC-E concept, due to be unveiled at the upcoming Tokyo show.

Built around the motor from Honda’s Insight hybrid car, the machine features a wicked combination of retro ’70s styling and futuristic engineering. Combine that Mike Hailwood paint job with Brembo brakes and Ohlins shocks and forks, and you’ve got a machine that people want to see at the TT Zero next June. Except, maybe, other competitors.


Hyosung

Hyosung's electric scooter doesn't have amazing specs, but it's an interesting step for the company. Photo: Visordown

The Korean manufacturer might not be your first thought when talking about innovative bikes, but they did introduce an electric scooter last week.

The EVA scooter has a 55-mile range, if you’re willing to stick to riding 22 mph. The scooter tops out at 40 mph, and battery recharge time is 4 hours.

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