“It’ll be too loud, too dangerous. Nobody’s gonna want to buy that.” This is what Arthur Davidson said about a bigger, stronger, faster motorbike, according to the miniseries Harley and the Davidsons. Throttle forward a century, and now there are nearly 10 million registered motorcycles in the United States.
Now the industry is facing completely opposite doubts as electric motocycles begin to enter the market. People are saying they will bee too quiet, too weak, and you won’t get far enough on a charge.
Though these perceptions may not exactly be a lie, electric vehicle technology continues to evolve, and some of these new bikes could surprise you. The new breed of electric motorcycles may be quiet, but they aren’t always weak or limited to short ranges. They do tend to be noticeably pricier than their gas-guzzling counterparts, though.
Regardless, if you are ready to dump the pump, there are plenty of electric motorcycles out there. Most come from obscure brands, so it’s hard to tell which are the good and bad options. In this list we are curating a selection of the best electric motorcycles around. Join us for this ride and see if one of these is fit for your needs. Looking for something with a little less power? Be sure to check out our guide to the best electric bikes — as in bicycles that also happen to have some electric power behind them.
Nothing beats the classic look and comfort of an all-American cruiser, if you ask me. And I am sure many of you would agree that a cruiser is the ideal motorcycle for a long ride. If what you are seeking is a brawny bike with saddlebags and stability, this is likely your best choice.
Police agencies can even sign up for a special version. And you should definitely think twice before trying to run away from one of these. The V9 has a top speed of 115 mph and a range of 280 miles. That should get you from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (about 270 miles) on a single charge.
Brutus looks mean, and it is a powerful machine with plenty to offer. You won’t get the rumble such cruisers are known for, but it looks amazing and is easily one of the best electric motorcycles you can buy right now.
Brutus V9 key specs
- Range (city): 280 miles (450 km)
- Top speed: 115 mph (185 km/h)
- Torque: 277 ft-lb (375 Nm)
- Power: 125 hp (93 kW)
- Weight: 784 lb (355 kg)
Brutus V9 price
This is easily the most recognizable brand on our list of best electric motorcycles. Vespa is the king of scooters, offering some of the best options of its kind since 1946. Vespa scooters became famous for their unibody steel design and ease of use.
Motorcycles were dangerous, complicated machines people were too intimidated to try. But after WWII money was tight and people needed more affordable modes of transportation. Scooters were friendly and easy. Vespa helped bring motorcycling to the masses, and now they are offering the choice of going electric.
The Elettrica will win no races, but keep in mind it’s a Vespa. It’s not meant for showy performance, but it will definitely take you places. Piaggio Group claims it has more power than a 50cc scooter and a range of 100 km (62 miles).
Not bad for zipping around the city! But if you need a little more range, there will be the X model, which will integrate a gas-powered generator that will offer double the range. Here’s another wild fact: it will have reverse mode!
Now, this bike is not available just yet, but pre-orders begin in Spring 2018 and the bike is set to launch later in the year.
Vespa Elettrica key specs
- Range (city): Up to 62 miles (100 km)
- Top speed: TBA (30 kph in ECO mode)
- Torque: 147 ft-lb (199 Nm)
- Power: 5.4 hp (3.95 kWh)
- Weight: TBA
Vespa Elettrica price
- TBA (Keep in mind Vespa is not a cheap brand)
Gogoro Smartscooter 2 Deluxe Edition
Don’t want to wait around for Vespa? Or maybe you just don’t want to pay that much for a Vespa? Whatever the case may be, you will find this scooter enticing. Not only is it the most affordable bike on this list, but it’s also a pretty awesome scooter if you just want to move around the city.
The Gogoro Smartscooter 2 Deluxe Edition comes from Taiwan, where it is priced at $52,800 Taiwanese dollars. That may sound like a high price, but it is actually about $1,816 USD. It is no slouch, either. At least considering the price. This thing can go as fast as 56 mph and has about a 68-mile range.
Some other features include a smart key, a stylish design. bright LED lights, a 25 L trunk, ambient light sensors, fingerprint security, face recognition and more. This scooter is a beauty.
Gogoro Smartscooter 2 Deluxe Edition key specs
- Range (city): 68 miles (110 km)
- Top speed: 56 mph (90 kmh)
- Torque: 151 ft-lb (205 Nm)
- Power: 8.58 hp (6.4 kW)
- Weight: 229 lb (104 kg)
Gogoro Smartscooter 2 Deluxe Edition price
- $52,800 Taiwanese dollars (about $1,816 USD)
Johammer J1 200
I promise this is the last scooter I’ll add to the list! I mean, I just had to. This has got to be the most interesting motorcycle I have ever seen. It’s… cute? Weird? Let’s settle with unique; and that is exactly why I like it. This is not simply a motorcycle with a replaced mechanism; it’s a new breed.
This manufacturer decided to move away from traditional bike designs, simply because they could. There is no longer a muffler to worry about, or a motor shape. In fact, there are many components manufacturers no longer have to deal with when making electric motorcycles. Not to mention batteries can take many shapes. Why stick with traditional bike forms when you can change them?
It’s not a bad scooter, either. Speed is electronically limited to 75 mph, and range is estimated at 200 km (124 miles). The Johammer J1 is a bit pricey at €24,900, but it is a unique bike that is sure to start a conversation or two.
Johammer J1 200 key specs
- Range: 124 miles (200 km)
- Top speed: 75 mph (120 km/h)
- Torque: 14 bhp
- Power: 16 kW
- Weight: 390 lb (178 kg)
Johammer J1 200 price
- €24,900 (about $30,894 USD)
Victory Empulse TT
Victory Motorcycles is another popular brand name. The American motorcycle maker is one of the most important Harley competitors in the U.S. They are owned by Polaris, which also happens to have Indian under its wing. In essence, Victory makes bikes very similar to Indian models, but with a meaner, more custom look.
Victory has also entered the electric motorcycle market with a very enticing option — the Empulse TT. But those who know Victory Motorcycles are probably scratching their heads, wondering what the heck is going on here. Victory makes cruisers. It is certainly an odd move, as this looks more like a naked sports bike.
There is an explanation for this. Victory bought this technology from Brammo and slapped its own logo on the motorcycle. They did improve the aesthetics and gave it 10 percent more battery, so Victory is helping here, even if only a bit.
Regardless of its backstory, the bike is a very enticing offer. The Empulse TT has a 140-mile range and can go up to 100 mph. It is also not insanely priced. Yes, $19,999 can get you a real nice regular motor bike, but this price is not something that will scare you off and have you running away from the dealer either. Pro tip: look for a used one online, some cost less than half the price.
Victory Empulse TT key specs
- Range: 140 miles (225 km)
- Top speed: 100 mph (160 km/h)
- Torque: 61 ft-lb (82 Nm)
- Power: 54 hp (40 kW)
- Weight: 470 lb (213 kg)
Victory Empulse TT price
Zero SR + Power Tank
It is not the fastest, or the flashiest, but sometimes you just want a bike that gets the job done, and this one does that pretty well. Zero Motorcycles is based in California and is known as one of the best electric bike makers around. They were making electric motorcycles right before most of the bigger guys, so we have to give them credit for that.
As for the Zero SR, it is a naked style street bike with a good price (relatively speaking), a top speed of 102 mph, and a range of up to 223 miles on a single charge. Not a slouch at all, and that’s a range most people can actually live with.
Zero SR key specs
- Range: Up to 223 miles (359 km)
- Top speed: 102 mph (164 km/h)
- Torque: 116 ft-lb (157 Nm)
- Power: 70 hp (52 kW)
- Weight: 458 lb (208 kg)
Zero SR price
This modern cafe racer-style motorcycle sure looks mean, and its $77,000 base price is even meaner. Is it worth that kind of money? The bike sure looks the part, but in terms of performance it is really not that special. Speed tops off at 120 mph. Range is pretty good at 120 miles, but that’s also nothing to write home about when compared to multiple bikes in this list.
Lito throws in some fancy extras, including a touchscreen, keycard ignition and an electrically adjustable seat that can turn it into a sportsbike or a comfy cruiser. The body work is carbon-fiber and everything on the motorcycle is beautifully ornate and perfectly crafted.
It isn’t a technical tour de force anymore, but it’s the designer watch of the electric motorbike world. That could be enough, but we’re hoping for something new.
Lito Sora key specs
- Range: 120 miles (193 km)
- Top speed: 120 mph (193 km/h)
- Torque: 66 ft-lb (90 Nm)
- Power: TBA
- Weight: 573 lb (260 kg)
Lito Sora price
Looking for performance? This is your electric bike. The Lightning LS218 is the world’s fastest production electric motorcycle and it is, frankly, ludicrous. It comes with 150 kW, so the electric equivalent of 200 bhp and 168 lb/ft of torque. That’s more than BMW’s all-conquering, fossil-fuel burning S100RR. It is also a few pounds lighter at 495 lb.
The end result is a bike that can storm through the 60 mph mark in two seconds and leave almost anything on the road trailing in its non-toxic wake. This has become one of the flag bearers for electric power, and it certainly made a powerful impression on Jay Leno.
The 218 mph top speed is a conservative estimate based on the speed the bike actually achieved on the Bonneville Speed Flats. Now, with a number of new developments on the final production bike, the manufacturer claims it could be even faster.
This is almost too much bike for the public road. It’s a race motorcycle with number plates, and it isn’t for a novice or the faint of heart. It is, though, an awesome machine and we should celebrate its mere existence.
Lightning LS-218 key specs
- Range (highway): 100 miles (160 km)
- Top speed: 218 mph (350 km/h)
- Torque: 168 ft-lb (227 Nm)
- Power: 200 hp (149 kW)
- Weight: 495 lb (224 kg)
Lightning LS-218 price
It isn’t cheap, but it looks like $1 million. The company opted for sharp angles and flat surfaces rather than the traditional curves. So it looks modern and will stand out from the crowd.
This Italian superbike was one of the first serious electric bikes and it was designed by a team of Le Mans and F1 engineers that specialize in rapid prototyping for the big teams.
The 100kW (136bhp) motor comes with synchronous oil cooling and 143 lb/ft of torque. It hits 60 mph in three seconds, and its top speed is 150 mph. It’s a seriously quick bike, but it’s not quite the full-bore lunatic that you’ll find elsewhere on this list. It also weighs in at 585 lbs, which is a substantial lump to force through the bends.
A DC charger can brim the battery in just 3.5 hours, but it returns just 93 miles at a constant 50 mph. The weight and the range suggests the Ego could do with a new battery/motor set-up, and it’s time for a change. Still, for a serious weekend warrior who wants to make the switch to electric power and doesn’t mind paying a premium for Italian style, this is a real contender.
Energica EGO key specs
- Range: 93 miles (149 km)
- Top speed: 149 mph (240 km/h)
- Torque: 143 ft-lb (195 Nm)
- Power: 136 hp (100 kW)
- Weight: 585 lb (265 kg)
Energica EGO price
Alta Motors Redshift SM
We haven’t forgotten about dirt bike lovers! There is actually a very good option for those who would rather leave the streets behind and go off-roading. The 2018 Alta Motors Redshift SM takes motocross to a level you never thought an electric bike could achieve.
It is priced at $13,495 and packs quite the punch. It can reach speeds of up to 80 mph (that’s way fast when you are in the dirt), and will go for 50 mixed miles before it needs a recharge. With 42 hp and 120 ft-lbs, you are sure to lift some dust.
This bike will look enticing to many of you, offering a price that competes with many regular motorcycles in the market, and offering versatility for commuting or weekend adventures.
Alta Motors Redshift SM key specs
- Range: 50 miles (80.47 km)
- Top speed: 80 mph (129 km/h)
- Torque: 120 ft-lb (163 Nm)
- Power: 42 hp (31 kW)
- Weight: 275 lb (125 kg)
Alta Motors Redshift SM price
Stay on the lookout for Harley Davidson
Also worth noting, a very important player is about to enter the electric motorcycle battle — Harley Davidson. The motorcycle pioneer took to its 2017 earnings call, in early 2018, to announce they will be releasing their first mass-produced electric motorcycle within 18 months. Putting such an important brand behind this technology is sure to make an impact.
Harley has not only been toying with this idea, but they have a working prototype called the LiveWire. This fully electric bike has been taken around the country and tossed around for test rides. Chances are the new electric bike will at least be based off the LiveWire, but with improved technology. At least we hope so; the four-year-old prototype goes up to 92 mph and has a 55-mile range (and that’s in economy mode).
We don’t know much, but when a big name like Harley Davidson tells you it’s on its way, you best get ready.
So that’s it for our list of the best electric motorcycles you can buy right now. Ready to hit the road, dump the pump and get rid of all emissions? This list should help you decide which electric motorcycle is the best for you. Hit the comments and let us know which one is your favorite. For what it’s worth, I would take the Brutus V9!