Ural just debuted an intriguing collaboration with Zero Motorcycles showing that opposites do attract—and can lead to some fascinating results.

Ural electric
Russian on the outside, American on the inside.Ural

Just revealed, and on display at the 2018 Long Beach IMS this weekend, Ural has announced the completion of an electric prototype based off of the existing one-wheel-drive cT chassis. It’s all there: the look, stature, and the appearance we’ve known for decades. But with a new all-electric heart.

That heart is a Zero Motorcycles powertrain package. The motor, batteries, controller, and other components come from Zero. Zero Motorcycles also provided the necessary engineering support during development and testing of the prototype to dial in its rideability.

Zero motor and power packs
Zero motor and power packs have a new home in Ural’s cT chassis.Ural

The Zero technology currently used for the Ural prototype is the Z-Force 75-7 brushless motor, a 1.3-kilowatt on-board charger, a ZF13.0 power pack, and an additional ZF6.5 power pack (the sidecar holds one battery pack). As configured, the prototype outputs a claimed 60 hp and 81 pound-feet of torque (a major bump from the stock ICE motorcycle), a claimed range of 103 miles, and a charging time of 13 hours from empty using a standard 115-volt/15-amp plug.

Ural or Zero don’t intend for this bike to be a completed project, and hint that further updates are still to come utilizing the latest Zero Motorcycles technology.

The rest is all Ural, creating an interesting motorcycle hybrid. It’s a motorcycle that retains an old-world look and feel with future sensibilities. The conversion isn’t completely seamless, and that makes the prototype more charming. For example, the original gas tank is still used, just with an electrical charging port placed underneath a gas cap.

Sidecar rig
A sidecar rig is ideally suited for an electric conversion.Ural

And really, a sidecar rig is well suited to an electric conversion, as stated by Ilya Khait, president and CEO of Ural Motorcycles, “We always knew our sidecar is the perfect platform to build an electric motorcycle because it can offer what regular two-wheeled motorcycles can’t: passenger comfort, stability, and safety, not to mention more space for batteries.”

Ural
A nearly seamless transition to a fully electric motorcycle.Ural

And this is no show pony, but a test rig meant to not sacrifice rideability and for exploring future production opportunities. Jason Rae, Ural Vice President of Operations and project manager, gave some insight on the development process, “One of the main challenges was to find the optimal location for the batteries while maintaining passenger comfort, storage capacity, and stability distinctive to Ural sidecars. The bike was tested intensively in a real-world conditions—in the rain and snow, on cold and hot days, on the highway and city streets. We accumulated a lot of data that will be used in the next phase of the project.”

Demo rides
No plans for production, but Ural is making this bike available for demo rides, and listening to feedback.Ural

There are no immediate plans to release this model for production, but Ural is listening to rider feedback and giving riders a chance to take the prototype for a spin themselves. If given the green light, Ural estimates it would take approximately 24 months for production of a final design and incorporate the latest battery technology and charging options.

But this prototype hints at an image of what the future Ural electric probably will look like. Not with new structures and technology completely replacing the old, but with modern updates and technology grafted onto the environment that came before.

Color us excited to ride it.