Electric motorcycles are becoming more and more prevalent. I tested a couple of Zero Motorcycles recently and Yamaha is about to put a whole batch into production.
But these are conventional-looking motorcycles and scooters that most riders would happily accept. This latest creation by San Francisco company Lit Motors is more like a car than a motorcycle or scooter with a steering wheel and a “cage” including doors and a roof.
So even though it leans, you don’t countersteer or even balance it like a normal two-wheeler. That’s because it as a self-balancing gyro system used in satellites and spacecraft but also in the Ryno one-wheeler.
Besides, even Lit Motors doesn’t consider it a motorcycle, despite its ability to weave through traffic and use motorcycle parking spaces. They call it a C-1, but that’s just a project title at the moment. They can’t go to market with that name as it is too close to the BMW C1 which was, not surprisingly, a roofed scooter and has been resurrected as an electric vehicle.
The C-1 is powered by electric motors in the wheels and a modular proprietary Li-ion 10kWh battery pack which can be easily upgraded as new technology comes to market. Range is 320km (200 miles), it takes six hours to charge the battery and top speed is over 160km/h (100mph).
Like most electric vehicles it uses regenerative braking to recover energy to charge the battery and extend range, so it gets better range around town than on the open highway under constant acceleration.
While some riders are receptive to electric motorcycles, we wonder how many would be interested in riding/driving a C-1, or whatever they call it when it comes to market at the end of the year!
Price is about $US24,000 and it will be eligible for various tax incentives. Lit Motors claims more than 200 have already placed a deposit on the vehicle which is about 85% of the first production run. The company is concentrating on California and the US for now, but plans to expand and take the C-1 worldwide.