The Electric Motor Bike / Lectra Motorcycle history

reikiman's picture

In the mid-late 1990's Electric Motorbike built approximately 100 motorcycles they called the Lectra. The design used a 24 volt battery system and a special controller system they called 'Variable Reluctance' that allowed them to get normal speeds (45+ miles/hr) even at such low voltages.

Later ZAP bought the company and marketed the Lectra. At one point ZAP announced the VR36, which would have been a 36 volt version of the Lectra. However this product never came to market and eventually they stopped marketing the Lectra. - is the official historical repository for the Lectra motorcycle.

Matt Peterson's Lectra Page is an owner report from someone who bought a Lectra from EMB. He has a photo gallery on the site.

The most surprising thing is that they located the speedometer on the hump that's normally the gas tank - so, I don't understand how the speedometer cable could possibly be routed to that location, but there it is.

First Impression: EMB Lectra Electric Motorcycle is a Lectra Motorcycle review from 1998.

ZAP Acquires Electric Motorcycle Company records when ZAP bought EMB in Oct 10, 2000. The price was 140,000 shares of ZAP stock and $100,000 cash. As a ZAP shareholder at the time ZAP cost around $5 per share, so that puts the total price at $800,000. "First developed by EMB in 1996, the LECTRA is believed to be one of the world's only production-ready electric motorcycles....EMB is the fourth electric vehicle company acquired by ZAP in the past 12 months. In December, ZAP acquired emPower Corp., a Massachusetts scooter company founded by MIT graduates. In February, ZAP acquired Electric Vehicle Systems, developer of a new form of power skating called the PowerSki. In June, ZAP acquired Aquatic Propulsion Technologies, a maker of electric sea scooters."

"Zap It to Me!".(electric motorcycle)(Brief Article) discusses a plan for ZAP to use Evercel's Ni-ZN batteries for a "high end" version of the Lectra. This may have been the VR36 which I saw at a ZAP shareholder meeting I attended, but they did not mention Evercel's batteries. Evercel has since gone out of business but they had developed a Nickel-Zinc (Ni-ZN) battery chemistry with energy density that's similar to NiMH. At the time Evercel was a darling of the possibilities of better EV's just around the corner but they fell on hard times and the battery didn't work very well.

Electric Motorcycle ZAPs Two World Records is a press release saying that ZAP attended a NEDRA race and set a world record. - is another owner diary that extends over 3+ years of ownership.

LECTRA V24 Motorcycle - EBM Inc. is a product writeup.

Zig's Amazing Photos of the Alameda Electric Auto Expo is a gallery of pictures from a 1997 EV Expo held at the former Alameda Air Station. At the time California had an incubator operation running at the former Alameda Air Station with a couple EV companies starting up. The picture gallery is interesting as it includes EV1's, the Tropica, and a picture of the Lectra.

Lectra Motorbike: Owner's Perspective -

Electric motorcycles and scooters @ Wikipedia -

History of electric motorcycles and scooters @ Wikipedia -

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