This week Italian companies announce their ebike plans, a Polish startup reveals a prototype, a German company releases a model, Yamaha shows off yet another EV, more police departments go green, Curtiss unveils another wild ebike, and more.
Energica & Dell’Orto Join Forces To Build New Electric Models

The Energica Esse Esse 9 [Energica]
This week it is was revealed that the Energica Motor Company is partnering with fellow Italian outfit, Dell’Orto SpA to develop all-new electric powertrains to be used in a lineup of new ebikes. Unlike Energica’s existing wares, the forthcoming electrics will be small-to-medium-sized models, with an 8/11kW machine, and a bigger runner with “up to 30kW” of power. The joint agreement will combine Energica’s electric powertrain knowledge and expertise with Dell’Orto’s “production and commercial reach”, particularly in the markets in China and India where the segment is booming and Dell’Orto already has facilities setup.

Two esteemed Italian motorsports companies team up. [Energica]
The new venture — which will use a 50/50 revenue sharing model — not only allows Energica to tap into a more affordable product space, but also gives Dell’Orto the opportunity to pivot into the EV game after spending more than 85-years in the internal combustion engine business. The press release makes no mention of price, but it’s assumed the models born out of this partnership will be markedly more affordable than Energica’s current crop of roughly $20K motorcycles. Energica and Dell’Orto aren’t the only Italians looking to get in early on the EV racket, with MV Agusta announcing its own plans of selling off-road ebikes under the dormant Cagiva banner back in March of 2018.

Poland’s 3D-Printed Protobike

Piotr Krzyczkowski with his Falectra 3D-printed ebike, a collaboration with Zortrax. [Piotr Krzyczkowski]
As the technology evolves, 3D printing increasingly has the potential to radically alter the motorcycle world, from prototyping, to production, to customization. This week Polish designer, Piotr Krzyczkowski, showed off a 3D-printed prototype of his new Falectra ebike. The reveal of the protobike comes after two-and-a-half-years of development, and was made possible thanks to a collaborative effort with Polish 3D printing firm, Zortrax.

The Falectra ebike is real. [Piotr Krzyczkowski]
Thanks to Zortrax’s 3D printing, Piotr says he was able to reduce prototyping costs by as much as sevenfold. Without the hugely reduced costs Piotr says bringing the prototype to fruition would’t have been possible, and without a prototype, a concept for a bike isn’t much more than vaporware. The high-tech Polish outfit used its special LPD (layer plastic deposition) 3D printers to make the parts which are largely composed of the company’s Z-ULTRAT filaments, a type of highly durable, heat-resistant ABS plastic blend. All of the bike’s body panels, headlight mounting pieces (and shroud), and the air inlets cooling the battery are all 3D printed.

An alternative styling study of the Falectra. [Piotr Krzyczkowski]
The ebike boasts a 50-60-mile (80-100km) range, 2-6-hour recharge time, 43.5mph (70km/h) top-speed, and a 3kW, 72V powertrain with low-mounted batteries, helping to lower the 198b (90kg) bike’s center of gravity. As of now, Piotr plans on churning out an additional 10 prototype machines to undergo further testing, and while there’s no word on production, the Polish ebike is expected to go for around PLN 15,000 ($3,900). Fun fact: Krzyczkowski and Zortrax previously joined forces back in late 2016, when they came together to 3D print a set of sleek new bodywork for a Triumph Daytona 675.

Yamaha Standing Three-Wheeled Scooter

The 2017 concept version of Yamaha’s tilting Tritown escooter. [Yamaha]
The Japanese brand was in the EV news again this week with the release of its new standup, leaning scooter, the Tritown. First shown in concept form in 2017 at the Tokyo Motor Show, the sub-90lb (40kgs) three-wheeled machine is probably best described as a Segway that tilts. Powering the small-wheeled oddity is a 500W electric motor paired with a 380Wh Lithium ion battery. The powertrain offers a top-speed of around 15.5mph (25km/h) and a range of around 20-miles (32km). A complete recharge takes less than three-hours. Not sure who exactly Yamaha is targeting with this machine, but it’s just one more example of the Tuning Fork Company’s commitment to embracing the EV inevitability of its field.

GOVEC Unleashes ELMOTO LOOP Delivery eBike

Govec’s ELMOTO-LOOP, the future of two-wheeled delivery [Govec]
This week also saw the reveal of yet another new ebike that falls somewhere between a motorcycle and bicycle. Europe’s GOVEC just pulled the cover of its new ELMOTO LOOP ebike, that it’s touting as the lightest two-wheeler in the class of L1E mopeds. Because of this classification, the Loop doesn’t require a motorcycle endorsement to ride, and is legally operable with a standard drivers license. GOVEC makes it abundantly clear that it aims to target the delivery sector, and as such has built what it feels is the ideal modern delivery scoot. Despite only weighing in at around 130lbs (59kgs), the Loop is capable of hauling more than 300lbs of cargo. At the heart of the little runner is a 2kWh direct drive hub motor that affords a top-speed of 28mph (45km/h). The batteries offer a 50-mile (80km) range, are removable, and require four-hours for a full recharge.

The Loop is intended for commercial, or gig, use, with a rugged and inexpensive design. [Govec]
The Loop sports a hydraulic telescopic fork up front and dual coilover shocks out back, a single disc brake fore and aft, and, unlike most other delivery-oriented ebikes, the thing features large diameter wheels for better real world performance on the street. Other standard amenities include a steering lock, USB socket, and connectivity to a smartphone app. The Loop is slated to roll into European dealerships starting in September of 2019, though official pricing has yet to be released.

Chinese E-Scooters & Tariffs

The NIU escooter charging up, and figuring out how to survive a trade war. [NIU]
Over the last couple year’s China’s NIU Technologies has been expanding its reach across its own native market and Europe. The company’s affordable electric scooters make for practical modes of personal transport, however NIU is now facing a major hurdle as it aims to tap into the US market: steep tariffs imposed by President Trump and his administration. While the Chinese brand’s electric scooters regularly carry an MSRP of between $2,500 and $4,500 (in the Euro market), these same offerings are facing a 25% tariff in the USA.

The NIU escooter: will an extra $1000 for the USA market hurt sales? They are already DOT approved and ready to roll.  [NIU]
Adding an extra grand onto the sticker price of a sub-$5K scooter is undoubtedly a major blow to NIU, which is left with no choice but to pass the increased prices on to the consumer. NIU’s scooters already received DOT certification and it still plans on entering the American market in the Fall, though the price hike is sure to negatively impact sales for the otherwise prosperous outfit. China has emerged as a key player in the electric scooter game, and with literally millions of units expected to sell in the US over the next half-decade, it’s hard to overstate the significance of these tariffs and their repercussions.

Police Continue To Go Electric

The Zero DSRP: the silent approach to police enforcement. [Zero]
This week Mississippi State Univeristy’s Police Department added one of Zero’s electric bikes to its fleet, adding to the more than 125 law enforcement agencies from 25 states around the country (and two Canadian provinces) that patrol on battery power. Electric motorcycles actually make a lot of sense for law enforcement use. They’re stealthy, easy to throw off curbs or down stairs, require minimal maintenance, and offer gobs of torque instantaneously. A little over half-a-decade-ago a couple police departments purchased Zero bikes and modified them, adding their own lights and crash protection and whatnot. This ultimately prompted Zero to release an official law enforcement-spec of its DSR model, known as the DSRP. The model has been incredibly successful, leeching sales from Harley-Davidson, and on average, seeing two police departments per month going electric. Since then Zero has added a second P-spec of its FX model (the FXP). With Harley having just released the Livewire, it should be interesting to see if police departments show interest in the Milwaukee-made electric, though it has a much heftier price tag.

The Zero DSRP in polic guise. [Zero]
Zero’s bikes are cheaper, but aren’t cheap. Fortunately, law enforcement agencies are able to receive Alliant Energy Bright Ideas grants and funding to help shave off some of the MSRP on these up-specced electric patrol bikes. Make no mistake, the future is electric my friends.

Curtiss Unveils Another Concept Update

The Curtiss Hades is a huge hit on social media: will orders follow? [Curtiss]
Fresh on the heels of the release of Curtiss’ new Zeus Radial V8 bike, the boutique brand has now unveiled the next rendition of its Hades model. Designed by J.T. Nesbitt, the same person responsible for the Confederate Wraith and Hellcat, the machine uses a powerful electric motor paired with a unique, bullet-shaped, underslung 399VDC, 16.8-kWh battery. Like the Radial V8, the Hades makes a whopping 217hp and an even more ridiculous 147ft-lbs of instantly tappable torque.

The details by designer JT Nesbitt are intriguing and textural. [Curtiss]
The structural elements on the newest Curtiss are also pretty fascinating. The main chassis itself is slim but cleverly engineered to support the immense weight of the battery hanging beneath. The frame also features a circular cutout similar to the ones used on prior Confederate models like the P51. The front-end consists of a girder-style setup with sharp angular lines and large cutouts to reduce weight. In back there’s a matching fang-like swingarm, pivoting from the center of the motor to ensure the belt drive remains taught regardless of travel. There’s also an unusually long linkage to a horizontally-mounted mono shock above the battery.

The Hades has a unique profile: is that a battery, or are you happy to see me? [Curtiss]
Another noteworthy element of the Hades is its split saddle that slopes up at the back, supporting the rider and providing just enough view underneath to spy the under-seat taillights. Carbon fiber is everywhere too, from the frame and suspension, to the robust belt cover. The Hades and Zeus will obviously be produced in extremely limited numbers, and will both retail for $75,000.


Dallas Commuter Takes Sharable Scooter on the Highway

I don’t know if this really qualifies as news, but it made headlines and it involves an electric scooter so I’ll take it. Earlier this week a video went viral of a guy riding what appears to be a Bird or Lime-style, rentable scooter on the highway in Dallas, Texas. Caught by the dashcam of a much-amused driver, the short clip shows a brave, albeit foolish man rolling along in traffic, and merging six lanes from the far left to the right. I’m not only baffled by why someone would think this was a reasonable idea, but also by why he felt the fast-lane was the best place to be while on the highway on a machine not capable of breaking 25mph.