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Will An Electric Motorcycle Ever Have A Decent Range? Lightning Motorcycles Aim For 500 Miles!

Lightning Motorcycles seem to think so – and they’ve set their sights on a 500 mile range for a single charge, which is no mean feat. When you think about it, 500 miles for a conventional gasoline powered internal combustion engine is a pretty impressive goal, since the 320 mile marker is the officially recognized maximum…But Lightning Motorcycles are going to give it a try, and whatever record they set their hearts on, they seem to achieve…

When it comes to the future of the electric motorcycle market, there are always two niggling problems. Number one: the ride experience. Number two: the range. The first problem is being addressed, and electric motor companies like have been making enormous strides in the ride experience department by adding a clutch and geared transmission to their motors, and that’s a great compromise for riders who are tempted by uninhibited power delivery, but don’t like the “twist and go” feeling. Adding an exhaust rumble or any of that superfluous nonsense is something diehard stuck-in-their-ways traditionalists are going to have to get over. But it seems like the ride experience factor is improving for those who are a bit reluctant to give electric a go.

As for the range, it’s the biggest obstacle that electric manufacturers are going to have remove. Speed and power delivery are great things, but only useful if you’re within a small radius of your nearest charging station. We’ve seen with unprecedented performance, high-tech riding aids, and all the bells and whistles…but limited to a 100 mile range – disappointing, to say the least. But Lightning Motorcycles have teamed up with the Battery Innovation Center in Indiana, and they think a 500 mile range is an achievable thing.

Lightning Motorcycles boss Richard Hatfield started his company in 2006, and since then they’ve been setting themselves challenges, and achieving them. In 2009, they broke the battery based motorcycle land speed record, and in 2013 they competed in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and won their category. In fact, the Lightning LS-218 claims to be the world’s fastest production motorcycle, reaching heady top speeds of 218 mph. If anyone can make an electric bike reach 500 miles, it’s these guys.

Here’s what Hatfield had to say about his ambitious ideas: “We see ourselves as following in the footsteps of Tesla, and accomplishing the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles run would show that range anxiety is becoming a thing of the past.”

David Roberts, from Indiana’s Battery Innovation Center said: “We think that with the technology as it stands, right now, the ride is entirely achievable.” You can read more about the partnership from .

With that in mind, IF a company could produce an electric motorcycle with an impressive range like this, would you give one a try? Let’s say it borrowed Tacita’s clutch and gears arrangement, and Lightning’s 500 mile capabilities, would you make the transition from gasoline to electric? Or is the idea just too outlandish, and nothing will ever replace the configuration that we know and love? I’m interested to hear what you think…

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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