Apr 222011

Montreal’s Lito has thrown its hat into the ring with a new electric motorcycle that makes some pretty outrageous claims.

A full 12 kilowatt-hours’ worth of onboard lithium polymer batteries gives the Sora a massive 300 km range – that’s 185 miles between charges. Or you can choose to wrap the throttle on and scream up to a top speed of 200 km/h (125 mph). With chopper/fighter bad boy looks and some interesting and innovative features like in-dash touch screen GPS and electronically adjustable ergonomics, the Sora looks like an absolute animal of a machine. You can’t help but think that if it had an accessible pricetag, it would look very tempting to the average biker.

Zero Motorcycles has chosen light weight and low cost as its dual strategy to get the electric motorcycle market started in the US – we assume both those considerations have gone out the window at Lito.

But then, dropping feather-light weight as a priority opens the door to some things that simply couldn’t fit on the Zero S. The Sora uses regenerative braking, for example, which is inefficient on lightweight machines but a handy tool on heavier bikes like this 240 kg (530 lb) beast. It also packs a CV transmission, in a segment where most bikes avoid transmissions altogether – which keeps the engine output efficient at a broader range of speeds and enables the Sora’s 125 mph top speed.

A higher weight ceiling also opens the door for more battery cells – in this case, nearly three times the power capacity of the Zero S at 12 kWh. That means there’s more power to spend, whether you choose to spend it conservatively on longer range, or more gregariously on massive acceleration and high speeds.

The downsides to such a huge battery pack are equally compelling; the Sora takes a whopping 8 hours to charge from empty (although it does have the nifty feature of sending you an email when it’s ready to go). Also, battery packs are still stupendously expensive. So 12 kilowatt hours’ worth of lithium polymer will cost around as much as a new Japanese superbike, or maybe more.

Read more . . .


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