New electric motorcycles have recently come onto the market, powered by new technologies in batteries, motors, and charging that make them more capable than their predecessors on a variety of fronts.
Italian company Tacita sells several models of electric motorcycle, including street and off-road bikes, like many other electric motorcycle manufacturers.
But now the company is breaking away from naked, off-road, and sport bikes by bringing a cruiser to the European market.
The Tacita T-Cruise seems to have all of the features we have been asking for except one. It offers three battery options: a 7.5-kilowatt-hour version for around town, a mid-range 15-kwh model, and a long-range 27-kwh version.
Each has a 3-kilowatt onboard charger and a CCS charging port that allows for DC fast charging at commercial stations.
The range of battery sizes and the ability to fast-charge puts the T-Cruise ahead of other electric cruisers, but it will cost you.
The biggest-battery version costs $25,000, while the mid-range is $15,000, and even the 7.5-kwh model costs $11,000.
If a T-Cruise has the longest-range battery, cruiser style and sitting position, and fast charging, what’s not to like?
The answer is that it has a transmission, a 5-speed gearbox with a hydraulic clutch, while every other electric-bike maker (except now-defunct Brammo) had jettisoned.
The Tacita T-Cruise does have a reverse mode, which partially makes up for that archaic transmission.
Energica’s new model, lower prices
The Energica Eva EsseEsse9 was announced at the EICMA motorcycle show held early in November in Milan, Italy.
The EsseEsse9 is designed with more of a classic look, including a round headlight and more upright sitting position.
It’s based on the Energica Eva, and aside from the styling cues and the performance the two bikes are little different.
CHECK OUT: 2017 electric motorcycle buyers guide
While the Energica Ego always had the most power in the lineup, at 107 kw (145 hp), the Energica Eva gained power and can now utilize the full power of its motor as well.
Previously, the Eva was detuned by about 25 percent; now the Energica Eva EsseEsse9 is the only bike with less power than the Ego and the original Eva, but it still packs a punch at 80 kw (109 hp).
Energica also managed to drop the price of their bikes by $10,000, making them available starting at $25,000. They are now on sale in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Florida, and the company is in talks to add more dealers.
KTM Freeride-E now for sale in US
After several years being available only in Europe, the KTM Freeride E can now be purchased in the U.S. This small electric dirt bike is the first plug-in offering from established motorcycle manufacturer KTM.
The bike can be made street-legal with a few modifications, and has a 2.8-kwh battery, though the charger is not on the bike itself.
Reports about this lightweight and sturdy bike have been positive, and the 2018 model will have a larger 3.9-kwh battery.
The KTM Freeride E costs $8,000 to $9,000 and is available at various dealerships across the country.
Alta has grown its dealer network aggressively and now has 41 dealerships in 18 states, making it the second most-widely available electric motorcycle in the country.
The comopany has put out some tantalizing videos of its pro riders competing against gasoline bikes.
The Alta Redshift MX is the offroad bike, the Redshift SM is a lightweight motocross bike with plenty of power, and the new Redshift EX Endure bike is the latest addition to the lineup.
Check out the video of my test ride of a Redshift SM last summer.
The Redshift MX has received good reviews from offroad bikers for the suspension and ability to ride on backyard courses without bothering neighbors.
Evoke Urban Classic
Evoke Motorcycles is based in Beijing and has plans to expand into the U.K. with its Evoke Urban S and the new Evoke Urban Classic.
In the past, the company has said it intends to expand into the U.S. as well.
Both bikes share a frame, suspension, and 8.7-kwh battery pack. Top speed is 81 mph, and both bikes are widely available in China.
The Evoke Classic comes with a round headlight with high-intensity LED lights and a leather seat, against the more sport-bike styling and seat of the Evoke Urban S.
DigiNow Supercharger V2
The latest fast-charging system for electric motorcycles is the DigiNow Supercharger v2, which I used on my 2016 Zero SR riding 4,000 miles from Maine to Florida and back.
I found it to work very well. I had two 3.3-kw units that worked with standard 6.6-kw charging stations, and I have a third unit coming soon to give a total of 9.9 kw of charging power.
The device’s inventor, Brandon Nozaki-Miller, recently rode with friends from San Francisco to Mexico on electric motorcycles, using multiple chargers on one “mothership” motorcycle to recharge the others.
The units have been popular among Zero Motorcycles riders and are a big improvement on the earlier Supercharger v1.
They deliver high power for their volume, meaning the rider has more space to carry other things on long road journeys.