KTM Builds A Race-Ready Electric Motorcycle

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KTM Builds A Race-Ready Electric Motorcycle

Today's news from Wired and Hell for Leather (links and articles are below)
With a big name like KTM announcing its electric motorcycle, this will surely generate lots more awareness and interest in electric motorcycles overall. YAY!


KTM Builds A Race-Ready Electric Motorcycle
By Chuck Squatriglia October 20, 2008 | 3:41:58 PM

Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM is developing an all-electric enduro that could be in showrooms within two years.

The competition-ready ride features a lithium-ion battery that provides 40 minutes of riding time "under race conditions" and can be charged in just one hour, according to Hell for Leather. KTM isn't saying much about the bike, but by following the all-electric path blazed by startups like Zero Motorcycles and Quantya, the company seemingly is betting batteries are the future of off-road riding.

KTM is keeping the specs under wraps but says the prototype Zero Emission Motorcycle produces 29.5 foot-pounds of torque.The battery and motor weigh 17 kilograms (about 37.5 pounds). That may seem heavy, but electric bikes don't need an exhaust system, fuel tank and other parts. No word on what the KTM EV weighs, but the all-electric Zero X we rode tipped the scales at a bantamweight 140 pounds and was good for 57 mph.

Off-road bikes lend themselves to electric power because they're typically ridden short distances, so range isn't that big an issue. Electric motors also provide gobs of torque, a big plus in motocross riding. And as Hell for Leather notes, going green doesn't just help the environment, it could preserve or even expand off-roaders' access to land.


KTM reveals race-ready electric motorcycle, production within 2 years

If you had any doubts that electricity is the future of off-road performance, this bike should eliminate them. KTM has created a fully functional electric, zero emissions enduro prototype and intends to put it into production. In keeping with its "Ready to Race" slogan, the Zero Emissions Motorcycle is a full-on competition bike, in which capacity it will be evaluated and developed before going on-sale as little as 24 months from now.


The Austrian company is releasing very few details of the Zero Emissions Motorcycle, but has revealed that it develops 29.5lb/ft of torque and carries lithium ion batteries capable of lasting 40 minutes under "race conditions" and that can be fully recharged in just one hour. In comparison, the Quantya Strada that we rode around our Brooklyn office develops only 23lb/ft. It's difficult to compare the two models' ranges as "race conditions" are hard to define, but Quantya says the Strada should be capable of about 25 miles off-road, which sounds like a rough equivalent.


KTM's battery pack and electric motor together weigh 17kg, but some of this weight will be offset by the elimination of the clutch; exhaust pipes and canisters; fuel tank and other necessities of internal combustion. The company expects that the Zero Emissions Motorcycle will carry a small price premium over a KTM enduro of similar performance.

Discussing the thinking behind the Zero Emissions Motorcycle project, KTM board member Harald Plöckinger says the lack of noise and emissions means "We can bring now the Enduro sport again more near in the centers of dense development and cities." Indeed the greatest advantage electricity brings to dirt bikes isn't the number of spotted owls that will be saved (comparatively cars, homes and industry all pollute exponentially more than all motorcycles put together), but rather the access that the power source will be capable of granting and preserving.

Seeing the competitive advantage the Zero Emissions Motorcycle would provide KTM and the environmental and political advantages it would give both the company and the country, the project is being part financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry for traffic, innovation and technology.


Grant Ray. October 20, 2008

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