UPDATE (June 12, 2020): An Indian Motorcycle PR representative reached out to comment on this story, explaining that the EFTR will NOT be an electric version of the FTR, but rather a “youth-oriented product” that will be announced later this year. Here’s the full statement from the Indian Motorcycle PR team:
Harley-Davidson Files New Logos for Electric Motorcycles and Bicycles [Updated With High-res USPTO Filings]
Harley-Davidson has filed trademark applications for two potential new logos for electric two-wheelers. The two trademarks were filed today with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, for use on either electric bicycles or electric motorcycles (plus “structural parts therefor”). We expect similar filings to pop up on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office any day now. [UPDATE: As expected, Harley-Davidson has filed trademark applications for these two logos with the USPTO. This also gives us a higher-resolution look at the two symbols.)
It’s easy to take for granted the dynamics involved in creating a fairing for a motorcycle. Sure, you could easily mold a piece of plastic or resin and create a shape, but what thought process and research goes into such a mold? We take something like fairings for granted because they’re so commonplace. Big OEMs have the resources to hire big-name designers to create something that’s easy on the eyes, then study the fluid dynamics behind the designer’s sketch to see how different lines bend and shape the wind as it flows through it. Then these big players can utilize finite element analysis to dictate the strength of a part or component and adjust as needed for a given application. But nobody talks about these things anymore because this is simply something we expect. We’re numb to it. But when we stop and think about it, the fit and finish of a motorcycle determines its legitimacy.
Is an ebike cheating? Of course. But would I be sitting on the beach now after a strenuous-ish 15-mile ride from my house without it? No. I’d be napping on the couch in my usual after-lunch tradition. I had a regular nice $500 Specialized hybrid bicycle there for a while, until it got stolen, and I did the 30-mile round trip to the Santa Ana River mouth quite a few times on it (and wrote about it here). But it took a lot out of me and the biggest part of a day by the time I was done lying around for a couple hours afterward, recuperating and rehydrating.
A little over a year ago, Harley-Davidson revealed two electric two-wheeler concepts, an electric mountain bike and a scooter that resembled an old Briggs & Stratton minibike. Today, the European Union Intellectual Property Office published multiple design filings that give us a peek at what the production version of that electric scooter may look like.
As we come to the end of 2019 and the conclusion of the first MotoE season, I think it’s fair to say the debut of Energica’s Ego Corsa MotoE electric racer was a success. Each race produced close battles (usually for the lead), the bikes go plenty quick, and though the sound of internal combustion is missing, it’s replaced with a soundtrack all its own. I like to think of it as the racing soundtrack of the future.
There’s a lot to unpack in the Lightfighter story. This is why Part 1 was dedicated to the concept and build of the electric sportbike. As a quick refresher, the Lightfighter was born because Brian Wismann and Ely Schless wanted to prove an electric racing motorcycle could exist – and thrive – with a geometry-first design. They did just that, building an electric motorcycle around a Yamaha YZF-R1 swingarm, not a big battery. Knowing Wismann and Schless though, simply building the bike wasn’t enough. It had to be good. Hence why they equipped it with Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes, and OZ Racing magnesium wheels. Further technical support came from Parker Hannifin, in the form of the GVM 210 motor, Kramer Motorcycles and their svelte bodywork, and Pirelli tires, who made sure the bike had the stickiest Diablo Superbike slicks available.
Last week, Kawasaki presented an electric motorcycle concept at EICMA, but did no reveal many details about it during the show. Today, Kawasaki finally released more information, confirming that the company has been researching electric vehicles for quite some time, including testing both on a race track and in urban environments. Unfortunately, Kawasaki says it remains purely a research project with no plans of releasing an electric motorcycle in the near future.
When Ryan Adams finished riding the 2019 Vespa Elettrica, he came back with one glaring complaint: it’s too slow. Vespa must have taken his words to heart, because at EICMA 2019 there’s a new version – the Vespa Elettrica 70 km/h – upping the top speed to, you guessed it, 70 km/h (or 44 mph for the US crowd). Vespa says this new top speed is the result of optimizing the current components already on the Elettrica and not through any change of hardware. Speaking of hardware, here’s a refresher. It can deliver a continuous 3.6 kW of power, with a peak at 4 kW, putting it roughly on par with 50cc scooters. Where it far surpasses a little scooter is with its 200 Nm of torque. And it’s all completely silent. Maximum range is roughly 100 km, and full recharge can be done in four hours (with 220v).
Big news for 2020 from the Energica camp, as the Italian electric motorcycle manufacturer has announced not only a new model – the Eva Ribelle – but also longer range, thanks to the largest battery pack offered on a production electric motorcycle so far. On top of this news, Energica is also reporting revenue growth of 57% over this same time period last year. Energica CEO, Livia Cevolini, credits this to the significant investments the company has made, including participation in the all-electric MotoE racing series, in which Energica is the sole motorcycle supplier with its Ego Corsa model.
The history book (or Wikipedia page, if that’s your thing) on electric motorcycles is rather slim, especially compared to its internal combustion counterparts, but what you’ll find is a myriad of ideas and concepts. Such is the beauty of a technology in its infancy. The section on electric racing motorcycles is even thinner. If you discount the inaugural MotoE championship running alongside MotoGP this year, the biggest stage for electric racing motorcycles has been the Isle of Man TT Zero race, wherein each entry tries to complete one full lap around the 37-mile course as fast as possible. Well, it was until the event was put on hold for at least two years. The machines you would have found at the TT Zero are full of ideas and concepts to win the race, but the one constant is the fact the batteries dominate the vehicle’s overall design. It’s understandable, considering you need a lot of battery to travel nearly 40 miles at 150-plus miles per hour.
Earlier this summer, Harley-Davidson announced plans to get into the electric bicycle business, and a new trademark application gives us a potential name for an e-bike: “Rude Boy“. Harley-Davidson filed the application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Oct. 15, for use with “electric bicycles; electric bicycle parts and accessories.”
Update: Production has resumed on LiveWire, after tests confirmed a “non-standard” condition was a singular occurrence. The bikes may now again be charged using any method previously available. Below is the statement, direct from Harley-Davidson Motor Company:
For whatever reason, American motorcyclists have been very slow to adopt electric motorcycles, ironic since the most innovative and interesting e-motos are built here in the USA. Zero and Harley-Davidson are both in the electric motorcycle game, and two start-ups – Brammo and Alta Motors – delivered hundreds of motorcycles to paying customers before succumbing to tough market realities.