Electric motors have opened the door to a whole new realm of motorcycle designs. Why? They only need wheels, a battery and handlebars — no fuel tank, which is traditionally a central part of any two-wheeler's design (versus, say, a car, in which the tank is usually concealed).
And this right here is a pretty stark example of what pushing those limits looks like.
From Essence Motorcycles of Lyon comes the 3.1 e-raw electric motorcycle, with a (faux) tank and seat fashioned from wood — not a material you'd want to use near any type of combustion engine.
e-raw (6 images)
“To make an electric motorcycle, it is not just a question of replacing the good old engine with high tech batteries associated with a last generation asynchronous motor,” says founder Martin Hulin. “Beyond the change of energy, it is a question of changing paradigm. In order to change paradigm, we have come back to the starting point, the essence of the motorcycle, to take a new direction, enter a new universe.”
That wooden seat/tank is shaped from plywood using surfboard-shaping techniques to mimic a traditional tank. Charging the 3.1 is a 10.1kWh unit that charges in 30 minutes with a range of 114 miles. The bike will hit 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 96 mph. None too shabby.
And neither is the sticker price. Essence has it in mind to build a run of 10 made-to-order bikes at $60,000 a pop.
No one said ingenuity comes cheap.