Ural Motorcycles unveils first electric sidecar

URAL electric sidecar prototype

The iconic boxer heads sticking out the side are missing on the first electric sidecar prototype from Ural Motorcycles.

Ural Electric Prototype is just the first development phase and there is no word on when — or if — the finished product will come to market.

The Russian company estimates it would take about two years to ramp up serial production upon final design approval.

Electric sidecarURAL electric sidecar prototype

An electric sidecar makes a lot more sense than an electric bike because there is so much more space to fit batteries.

While this prototype doesn’t have the traditional Ural (previously BMW) boxer engine, or clutch lever, gear shifter or instruments, it does still have a fuel cap where you stick the cord in to charge the vehicle.

The electric prototype is based on the one-wheel drive cT chassis with batteries, controller and other components from Californian electric motorcycles company Zero Motorcycles.

However, it seems they have used the previous model batteries with 165km of range, not the new Zero batteries with about 330km in the city and 155km on the highway.

Ural does not specify how that 165km of range was achieved. However, they say tech specs will change before this outfit comes to market as they will use the latest battery technology available.URAL electric sidecar prototype

Ural says the electric sidecar prototype will be shown at North American motorcycle shows and demo-ride events to collect feedback “before moving to the next phase of this project”.

Ural Australia spokesman Matthew Hodge says they are discussing the opportunity to bring it to Australia. Stay tuned for updates!

That’s a similar approach Harley-Davidson took with their 2014 electric LiveWire which will come to market next year.

Fellow California company ICG designed and fabricated the prototype for Ural while Zero provided engineering support during development and testing.

‘Perfect’ platformURAL electric sidecar prototype

Ural President and CEO Ilya Khait says a sidecar is “the perfect platform to build an electric motorcycle because it can offer what regular two-wheeled motorcycles can’t: passenger comfort, stability and safety, not to mention more space for batteries”.

“We’re very happy with the results,” he says.

“At a glance it’s still a Ural, but the electric bike offers a totally new experience.”

It is believed the baterries are in the floor of the sidecar which would provide a very low centre of gravity for better handling.

Actually, at first glance, it looks very little like a Ural from any angle thanks to the lack of boxer heads and the big “B” shaped aluminium motor frame.

Ilya points out another difference from the traditional Ural: “It accelerates very quickly – for a Ural.”

Company operations VP Jason Rae says their main goal with the prototype was achieving  “proof of concept”.

“We went through several iterations, searching for the best configuration of the electric powertrain package,” he says.

“One of the main challenges was to find the optimal location for the batteries while maintaining passenger comfort, storage capacity and stability distinctive to Ural sidecars.URAL electric sidecar prototype

“The bike was tested intensively in real-world conditions – in the rain and snow, on cold and hot days, on the highway and city streets. We accumulated a lot of data that will be used in the next phase of the project.

“Admittedly, I was apprehensive in the beginning that an electric Ural was something worth putting our resources into, but now I’m totally convinced and looking forward to development of our production intent prototype.”

3 Comments

  1. Even without the sidecar on this thing, the bike itself is by far the best-looking ebike I’ve ever seen. I really want one of these!

  2. I want one!

    I wonder though, will they do 2WD in the electric model for markets that drive on the correct side of the road (i.e. the left side), which they don’t do for the petrol-engined version?

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