Finally an electric motorbike that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen riding around town. A bike that gets it right with styling, practicality and technology that will appeal to the right target market.
The Bolt M-1 is a cross between an electric motorbike, moped and mountain bike with grunge rat-bike styling that could be the template for future electric motorcycles from the San Francisco-based Bolt Motorbikes company.
For too long computer and electrical companies have been making electric motorcycles have either been outrageously expensive, or just plain weird looking.
Now traditional motorcycle companies are starting to make electric models, but they are preaching to the hard to convert.
For electric motorcycles to take off, they need to be targeted at the young and trendy urbanite who wants to be seen to be “green” and doesn’t want to look like a nerd while doing it.
So along comes the Bolt M-1 out of hipster San Francisco which will cost about $5500 and include some elements of moped and motorcycle in a very trendy package that wouldn’t look out of place in an urban custom motorcycle garage.
It’s not an electric replacement for an ICE motorcycle and it isn’t a gawky moped , but a craft combination of the two with a 5500-watts motor capable of up to 40mph (64 km/h) in full electric power or simply ridden as an electric moped in “economy” mode with power restricted to 1000W and a top speed of 20mph (32km/h).
Bolt Motorbikes founder and chief scientist Nate Jauvtus says they have had interest from Australia.
“It is on our roadmap, but our focus these days is making sure we nail the US market before expanding.”
Nate says he started commuting on a moped when he moved to San Francisco and designed the M-1 with fellow moped commuter and engineer Zach Levenberg.
“We definitely have our eyes on the motorcycle market,” he says.
“We don’t have much of an attraction to scooters as we know them, but we have some cool ideas in the pipeline.
“I have a motorcycle license and I’ve been riding since October 13, 1990, starting on the dirt, and then graduating to street in 1996. I’ve got motorbikes in my blood.”
The moped can be ridden in California without a licence if you stick to “economy” mode which gives range of up to 50 miles (82km).
Of course, you can pedal and extend your range, and it also features regenerative braking which helps charge the battery.
It also looks like a cross between a mountain bike and dirt motorcycle and some of the photos show it on the dirt which would be a great and fun application.
The M-1 has a computer control system with passcode protection, USB phone charger, and Bluetooth-connected mobile application.
The quick-release 1.7-kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack fast-charges to 90% in 1.5 hours. Bolt recommends using the 110V home charger for five-hour “maintenance” charging to increase battery longevity. It would charge even quicker on 240V.