The two prototypes were supposed to be unveiled March 26 at the Tokyo Motor Show, but after a German publication leaked photos and details, KTM decided to release official information a day early.
“The development of a conventional high-speed sportmotorcycle to series level is already a big task,” says Gerald Kiska, KTM chief designer. “The creation of an electrically-propelled vehicle of comparable quality represents an entirely new era in all areas. The use of the electric motor means a completely new layout for the motorcycle – which brings with it an equal measure of pros and cons. Our team must be in a position to allow completely new approaches and solutions and at the same time to apply the existing knowledge in an optimal way. Because of this ‘Freeride’ is a typical KTM project – extremely innovative, courageous and full of sporting ambition.”
According to KTM, the Freeride prototypes weigh 198.4 lb., including the removable lithium-ion battery. KTM says the electric motor has a maximum output of 30 hp and 31.7 ft-lb. of torque, enough to power the Freeride to a top speed of 43.5 mph.
Though the final specifications for the battery has not been determined, KTM is currently using a battery that supports about an hour’s worth of mixed offroad riding, and can be fully charged in 90 minutes. The battery is removable and can be charged on its own or while installed in the motorcycle. KTM says the current battery allows for 500 recharges.
KTM will begin the pre-series phase of the Freeride project this summer with the first production models expected in late spring 2011 for Europe. There’s no word yet on whether the Freeride will be released in North America.
While KTM has unveiled an offroad and a supermoto variant, the company says it will initially produce an enduro model, homologated for use on European roads. After seeing how the initial run goes, KTM says it can later adapt the technology for other variants.
“With the electric drive system of the zero emission motorcycle, KTM has succeeded in taking a decisive step forward in the future of the motorcycle industry and two-wheel motorsports,” says Stefan Pierer, chief executive officer of KTM Sportmotorcycle AG. “Above all, emission-free mobility with a motorcycle brings new impulses in the short-term and opens up completely fresh perspectives. KTM remains answerable on two counts. On the one hand we are ‘Ready to Race’ and we want to do that with the latest technology, and on the other, as the worldwide number one in offroad sport, we must take care that the sport remains intact, and indeed, further develops!”
KTM has tentatively priced the zero emission motorcycles at under 10,000 euros (US$13,000), putting it at about one and a half times as expensive as Zero Motorcycles’ electric bikes, but the Austrian manufacturer would rather compare the Freeride models to current gasoline-powered enduro motorcycles.
“We can already say that the price of our Freeride motorcycles will be under €10,000. With this we have a product on the market that is more than competitive right from outset,” says Mag. Hubert Trunkenpolz, KTM sales director. “So apart from the fact that this positioning is on a par with a current combustion-driven Enduro of the type used in the World Championships, KTM is, in addition, setting completely new standards in matters of technology.”
KTM teases Freeride electric prototype