5 Standout Electric Motorcycles From EICMA

Plug-in baby electric motorcycles are here to stay.

Kymco electric bike
The amount of choices for electric motorcycles has grown for the 2020 model year, these are a few of the standout models introduced at the 2019 EICMA motorcycle show.Kymco

The electric motorcycle revolution seems to be happening in slow motion, especially in comparison to the automotive sector. For years we've been expecting plug-in bikes to make the big breakthrough into the mainstream, but there have been many starts and stops—take the now dissolved Alta Motors as an example. While niche players like Zero are making huge strides and Harley-Davidson has taken the plunge with its LiveWire, the realistic choices for motorcyclists who want a zero-carbon ride are still incredibly limited.

However, this year's EICMA show in Milan proved there's hope on the horizon, with the promise of electric bikes coming to a dealer near you in the near future. Here are five standout models:

Kymco RevoNEX

Although production isn't scheduled to start until 2021, the Kymco RevoNEX shows that the Taiwanese firm's wild SuperNEX electric sportbike concept from 12 months ago wasn't just vaporware.

Kymco RevoNEX
Kymco’s RevoNEX will not begin production until 2021, but the unit shown at EICMA 2019 looks very close to the finished product.Kymco

Where the SuperNEX was a one-off, with fully faired bodywork and some very hand-made components, the RevoNEX is a naked streetfighter that looks like it’s just rolled off a production line. With more than a year to go before it’s actually going on sale, Kymco is still keeping many of the specifications close to the vest, but its performance claims are promising.

A top speed of 127 mph puts the RevoNEX just a nose ahead of the Zero's standard-setting SR/F, which suggests the Kymco's as-yet-unannounced power figure must be close to the American bike's 110 hp. On the acceleration front, Kymco says the RevoNEX will hit 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and reach its maximum speed in 11.8 seconds.

Kymco is also showing a real interest in making the bike interesting to ride, fitting the RevoNEX with a six-speed manual transmission and a clutch to provide both improved performance and more rider engagement. While you have the option of simply sticking it in second gear and having clutchless twist-and-go performance from 0–70 mph, the gearbox adds versatility and makes the bike more familiar to existing motorcyclists.

Noise, or the lack of it, is another common complaint aimed at electric bikes. Here, Kymco is also at work, giving the RevoNEX an “Active Acoustic Motor” (AAM) that’s described as “a multi-frequency acoustics generator that enhances the native sound of the motor.”

Kymco claims a top speed of 127 mph from its RevoNEX electric motorcycle.Kymco

Kymco says: “Combining the resonating sound of AAM with the mechanical sound of the transmission, the acoustic note of RevoNEX has profound depth and complexity. It conveys the heartbeats of the bike and communicates the load condition of the motor; it gives the rider situation awareness.”

On more familiar ground the RevoNEX’s chassis is conventional and high-spec, with an alloy beam frame and Ohlins suspension coupled to Brembo brakes. If it can meet all its goals when production starts—and presuming the price is right—it looks like a persuasive package.

Verge TS

Kymco's RevoNEX aims to appeal to existing riders by adding familiarity to the electric bike experience. Verge's TS is right at the opposite end of the spectrum and revels in the freedoms that electric power provides.

Despite its concept bike looks, dominated by that crazy, hubless drive system built into the rear wheel, Verge is already taking $2,218 (2,000 euros) deposits for the $27,665 (24,990 euros) machine and promising deliveries in 2020.

Verge TS
A hubless rear wheel is the most intriguing feature on the Verge TS Electric motorcycle.Verge

The bike’s specs include a 107 hp motor which uses the rear wheel rim as an integral part and claims an astounding 737 pound-feet of torque—a figure that initially seems insanely high but actually works out to be fairly similar to the rear-wheel peak torque of many conventional bikes once you’ve worked out the torque-multiplication effect of their gearboxes and final drive ratios. In reality, the bike’s performance is likely to be roughly on a par with the 110 hp Zero SR/F. Its range is a fraction longer than the Zero’s, with Verge claiming 124 miles on the highway and 186 miles at city speeds compared to 161 miles and 99 miles respectively for the SR/F. A DC fast charger means it should be able to top up relatively quickly, though the manufacturer hasn’t made any claims yet as to actual charging times.

Similarly, the bike’s dimensions and chassis specs are still unreleased. We can clearly see that the suspension comes from Öhlins and the brakes are Brembos however.

TS electric
Verge claims a maximum city range of 186 miles from the TS electric.Verge

Verge previously showed an earlier version of this bike in February, then under the name RMK E2 and offering much lower performance with a peak torque of 236 pound-feet and max power of 67 hp. At the time, the company said the E2 weighed around 441 pounds (200kg), so the Verge TS is likely to come in at a similar number.

You’d have to be brave to slap down the deposit straight away, but if you want an electric bike with futuristic looks to match its powertrain, the Verge TS could be the answer.

Cake Ösa

So far we’ve concentrated on electric bikes designed to step into the shoes of existing combustion-engined machines, but Swedish firm Cake has a very different approach and instead develops its bikes to capitalize on their alternative powertrains.

After considerable success with its first model, the Kalk, which sits somewhere between a motocrosser and a mountain bike, the firm has spread its net further with its 2020 offering, the Ösa.

Cake Ösa
Cake Ösa is a different take on the electric motorcycle scene, joining the Ubco 2x2 in a utility-based, modular approach. The Ösa+ has a 63-mph top speed and 63-mile range.Cake

It’s a refreshingly utilitarian design. Without wanting to draw Swedish stereotypes, if Ikea made a motorcycle, it would probably look like this. And like Ikea’s furniture, the Ösa is refreshingly affordable, with the entry-level Lite version starting at $4,500 without a battery. The higher-performing Ösa+ is pricier at $6,500 (also without battery) but offers double the performance. Add $2,000 for the 1.5kWh Lean battery or $3,000 for the 2.5kWh Long battery.

Both versions have a motor capable of putting out a peak of 10kW (13.4 bhp) but the Ösa+ is capable of a continuous output of 7kW (9.4 bhp) whereas the Ösa Lite can only muster a continuous 4kW (5.4 bhp). On the road, that means the Ösa+ can achieve 63 mph while the Lite is only good for 30 mph.

They’re lightweight machines, just 143.3 pounds (65kg) without the battery. The Lean battery weighs 26.5 pounds (12kg) and gives a 37-mile range on the Ösa+ or 47 miles on the Lite, and the Long battery that’s 37.5 pounds (17kg) stretches range to 63 miles and 75 miles on the two models.

Cake’s Ösa Lite
Cake’s Ösa Lite has a lower top speed and is a more stripped-down model than the Ösa+.Cake

Where the Ösa really sets itself aside from electric rivals, other than in its appearance, is in the way it’s designed to double as a self-propelled power pack. Cake describes it as a workbench and power station on wheels, and suggests it could be useful to workers who need to use power tools away from a supply. You can plug electronic equipment straight into the bike’s built-in 5-volt or 12-volt DC outputs or specify an optional converter that provides 110V or 220V AC outputs with either US or European sockets.

Vins EV-01

While some electric bike makers are in a position to preach about conservation and environmental friendliness, Modena, Italy-based Vins doesn’t mention anything about saving dolphins or scrubbing the atmosphere clean. That’s probably because the firm’s other offerings, the Duecinquanta Competizione and Duecinquanta Strada, are among the world’s only two-stroke sportbikes. Those 250cc, 75 bhp V-twin machines, developed by the ex-Ferrari engineers who founded Vins, are due on sale in 2020, but the EV-01 shows where the firm is going in the future.

Vins EV-01
The Vins EV-01 comes straight from the heart of Italian supercar country, Modena. It sports a carbon fiber frame, swingarm, and fork.Vins

Rather than starting from scratch on its powertrain, Vins has gone straight to the experts and borrowed its motor and battery from Zero. That means the EV-01 has the same 14kWh battery and 70 hp motor as Zero’s SR, and there’s clearly scope for the higher-powered motor from the 110 hp Zero SR/F to be fitted at a later date.

But while Zero puts a lot of effort into making its bikes affordable, Vins has no such constraints. That means the firm has gone wild when it comes to the chassis. The EV-01 employs a carbon fiber monocoque frame, similar to the design used on the firm’s Duecinquanta. The swingarm is also carbon, and so is the fork, which is inspired by the Britten V1000’s girder design.

Vins EV-01
Vins’ EV-01 is claimed to tip the scales at just under 375 pounds, much lighter than other models that sport Zero’s motor and battery.Vins

With all that carbon, the EV-01 manages to dodge the common electric bike problem of excess weight. The firm claims the whole thing comes in at under 375 pounds (170kg). That sounds good until you discover that the two-stroke, V-twin model is quoted as a mere 231.5 pounds (105kg) in road-going “Strada” form, and 227 pounds (103kg) for the “Competizione.”

Given the firm’s agreement with Zero, it’s no surprise the EV-01 is well equipped on the electronics front, with an app-controlled system to choose between three riding modes, including a custom setting with variable options for torque, power, and energy recovery settings.

Energica Eva Ribelle

Energica has been one of the companies pioneering electric bikes for the last few years and used EICMA to launch the latest and most impressive development of its technology so far.

The Eva Ribelle is the new model, replacing the previous Eva naked streetfighter and bringing a vast improvement in range and performance. It's powered by a new 21.5kWh battery and a 145 hp motor that makes 158 pound-feet of torque, giving a top speed that's electronically limited to 125 mph and allowing the Ribelle to achieve a range of 249 miles in city use. At highway speed, that drops to 112 miles, and Energica reckons that a mix of both low- and high-speed riding will give a typical range of 143 miles.

Eva Ribelle
The Eva Ribelle is the latest electric motorcycle from Energica that boasts a massive improvement in range and performance over the 2019 models.Energica

Energica's other two models, the faired Ego sportbike and the retro-styled Eva EsseEsse9, are also to be offered with the 21.5kW battery as an option alongside the standard 13.4kWh pack, creating the Ego+ and Eva EsseEsse9+. On those models, 2020's bigger battery means a 60 percent increase in range, with Energica claiming the same range figures as the Ribelle enjoys. Simultaneously they get the same motor improvements, bringing the Ego+'s torque to 158 pound-feet and the EsseEsse9+'s to 148 pound-feet.

The new battery is claimed to be the largest-capacity unit ever fitted to a production electric motorcycle, but thanks to technology advances its extra range doesn’t mean it’s heavier than the previous one. In fact, Energica claims the new models fitted with the pack are 10.4 pounds (5kg) lighter than their shorter-range 2019 predecessors.

Eva Ribelle
Energica says the Eva Ribelle has the largest-capacity battery unit fit to a production electric motorcycle to date.Energica

Despite the bigger battery, Energica’s ability to take advantage of Level 2 fast chargers means the Eva Ribelle, Eva EsseEsse9+, and Ego+ can still be charged to full range in just an hour. And because the last bit of charge always takes the longest, just 42 minutes plugged into the charger will fill the battery to 80 percent.

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