Once upon a time, electric motorcycles had such short range and high MSRPs that only the most devoted of early adopters had a reason to consider owning one. Well, in the past couple years, improvements in range have resulted in electrics now being a viable option for riders who are looking for a greener alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles, which are relatively dirty compared to four-wheeled road users. So, we’ve taken the 2018 BMW C Evolution scooter and the 2018 Zero DSR as representatives of two different approaches to urban electric motorcycles to see how they stack up for everyday use. Note: This is not our typical comparison where we try to determine the best motorcycle out of a pairing. Rather, we are looking at two different electric bikes to determine their viability as urban transport.
When it comes to a (relatively) affordable mass-produced electric motorcycle, Santa Cruz, California’s Zero is the most prevalent manufacturer of e-bikes. Sure, Italy’s Energica has a high-end line of electrics and KTM and BMW are bringing to market electric dirtbikes (the Freeride E-XC) and scooters (the C Evolution), respectively, but we’re still waiting on Harley’s LiveWire and an Indian version of the Brammo/Victory Empulse platform. Then there’s the ultra e-bike, Lightning’s LS 218, which is offered in small-scale production, as well as the RedShift dirtbike from Alta Motors.