The best electric motorbikes for 2019
The UK is planning to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.
So in 2019, an electric vehicle (EV) is a sensible choice for all kinds of reasons.
What's so great about EVs?
- They cost less to run as they don't need expensive fossil fuels
- Are simple to maintain which reduces costs further still
- Produce zero carbon emissions, which makes them less harmful to the environment
- Produce almost zero noise pollution
But motorcycling isn't always about sensible choices. Nobody understands the romance of a motorbike better than the people who make them. And with battery technology improving constantly, manufacturers are now producing road-legal electric motorbikes capable of inspiring even the most diehard of bikers.
Here's our guide to the best of the bunch.
Harley Davidson Livewire
The unmistakable rumble of a big V-twin engine has been the signature of Harley Davidson for over a century. But times change and so it seems do American legends. Unveiled in July 2018, the Harley Davidson Livewire is powered by a 12-volt lithium-ion battery, can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 3 seconds and has a city range of 140 miles(1). On fast-charge mode, the Livewire can be fully charged in an hour. Alternatively, using a standard household outlet a full charge can be gained overnight. Available for pre-order now, the Livewire will make its debut on European roads in Autumn 2019.
From an American legend to an Italian icon: the Vespa scooter. While switching to electric power is probably less of a culture shock for Vespa lovers than it is for Harley fans, the Elettrica's designers have nonetheless taken care to keep its look classic – with a few 21st century touches like its neat multimedia system. The Elettrica's lithium-ion battery develops a peak 4kW, recharges in just 4 hours and delivers a guaranteed range of 62 miles from a single charge with 'up to 100km of uninterrupted riding'(2). The Elettrica is available to order now via the Vespa website.
Even though its 2019 availability is by no means guaranteed, the British-built Arc Vector is an exciting prospect – for those with a big budget to spend! Woah!
Billed as 'The world's most premium motorcycle', the Vector offers its rider a fully integrated human machine interface (HMI). An interactive helmet will provide a Head-up visual display, while a 'haptic jacket' delivers sensory input, for a fully immersive rider experience. Add the performance figures and the whole package looks pretty formidable. Weighing only 220kg and boasting a 399 volt motor, the 'neo cafe racer' accelerates from 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds and claims a 'highway range' of 120 miles(3).
Whenever it finally hits UK roads, the Arc Vector looks set to redefine how we look at electric motorbikes forever.
Kymco surprised everyone in 2018 with the unveiling of the SuperNEX – its electric superbike. Unusually for an electric bike, the SuperNEX uses a six-speed manual gearbox that lets it hold on to maximum acceleration for longer instead of peaking early like many electric motors(4).
The SuperNEX also boasts a world's first with its Active Acoustic Motor. A multi-frequency acoustics generator delivers an authentic engine sound for genuine sports bike thrills as well as improved rider awareness.
2019 availability for the Kymco SuperNEX is as yet unconfirmed but expect to see updates soon.
One electric superbike that's available right now is the Energica Ego. Announcing its 2019 model , Energica promised 50% shorter charging times and other goodies like heated grips, traction control and cruise control. Much of the buzz around the Ego though has been generated by its role in the MotoE World Championship, which sees world-class competitors like Bradley Smith and Steve Gibernau doing battle on race-tuned versions of this machine.
The Energica Ego is a genuine superbike, with 107kW of instantaneous power, providing acceleration from 0-60mph in 3 seconds. Find your nearest dealer at energicamotor.com
Selling more machines than all of its competitors combined, Zero Motorcycles leads the electric motorcycle market by a comfortable margin. Unlike many of its competitors, Zero motorcycles are and always have been a 100% electric manufacturer. The 2019 Zero DSR is an has an upgraded battery, giving it improved range and enhanced adventure bike credibility. Charging is improved too, with 152km of range for every hour it's plugged in. As for speed and power, the DSR delivers all the torque you'll ever need - more than any fuel-burning 100cc bike. You can also select the right battery for you, depending on how far you want to go and how much you need to carry.