Electric motorcycles

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Lightning agility

The need for fewer components and no liquid fuel in an electric motorcycle has given designers more freedom than ever before, both with engineering and styling.

The Saietta R

With this in mind the designers of the Agility Saietta R set about producing a radical electric urban sports bike unlike any other on the road today.

The bike is created by UK-based Agility Motors, a company on a mission to design and manufacture vehicles that make sustainable transport exciting, empowering, radically effective, and universally available.

The aim with its flagship Saietta R was to create a motorcycle that was muscluar and aggressive but with styling that was understatedly cool.

In terms of power, the Saietta R acceleration is breathtakingly fast, from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. With emphasis on concentrating its mass in the most compact overall package, it has the shortest possible wheelbase.


Featuring the world’s first production composite monocoque chassis in a motorcycle, the Agility battery envelope is the structure of the motorcycle — minimising weight and increasing strength to give the rider the most direct and tactile control possible.

The four year project began with sketches of how the bike would look. Once the main theme was decided a fullscale mock-up was built to confirm that the basic shape would work in 3D.

Measurements of the model were transferred in to CAD, giving 3D data in CATIA to work around; Autodesk Alias was used to refine the shaping and surfacing.

The remarkable shape of the bike continued to evolve and adapt as the engineering progressed, culminating in the models for the production panels on the bike being manufactured using CNC machined patterns.

As the design took shape parts were built using 3D printing or CNC machining depending on time constraints.

“As we scale up production of parts it is important to see the price breaks with different manufacturing techniques,” says Ben Hall, Agility engineering director. “If a part is likely to evolve then CNC methods still form a competitively priced solution due to the lack of tooling costs.”

“Typically we have a turnaround time of a week from when a design is finished to when it is ready to be fitted to a bike or sub assembly.”

The Saietta R is now availble for sale from a range of dealers and via the company website for a cool £13,975.

Versatile voltage

The Zero D belongs to a species of electric scramblers, stripped down for the hardcore offroader, but California-based Zero Motorcycles has also added many features that mean it can be used as an everyday bike.

The Zero DS

This is reflected in its refined, yet rugged, appearance, complete with sleek bodywork to give it a contemporary, aggressive and naked look.

Without petrol to worry about, the ‘tank’ section of the bodywork features an integrated storage compartment that is both lockable and removable.

The chassis is an aircraft-grade aluminium, twin spar frame that helps keep a low centre of gravity, while its compact air-cooled ‘Z-Force’ engine is slung low enough to keep the balance of the bike central.

Clutchless direct drive means the bike is geared for rapid acceleration up to 95 mph and maximum efficiency without ever needing to shift gear.

A carbon fibre belt allows the Zero DS to achieve minimal frictional losses for increased overall range and is integral to making the electric powertrain maintenance-free.

The Zero DS battery recharge system is integrated into the motorcycle and can be plugged in at any standard outlet, with no additional equipment required for standard charging.

The ability to sneak power from our neighbour’s outdoor electric socket means we’d be more than happy to use this as our daily runabout.

TT Titan

Portland, Oregon-based MotoCzysz has won the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy road race for four consecutive years with the E1pc electric motorcycle reaching a top lap speed of 109.675 mph.

The E1pc electric motorcycle

The design process starts with sketches provided by Motoczysz founder Michael Czysz. The design is then taken into 3D CAD using SolidWorks.

“MotoCzysz needed one, integrated package to support the mechanical aspects of the design, including simulation of design performance, and incorporating design aesthetics through advanced surface modelling,” explains lead motorsports engineer Nick Schoeps.

The design team’s weapon of choice is a 3D Connexion Space Mouse Pro. The team has also recently added SolidWorks Flow Simulation computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to increase the aerodynamic quality of the bike and shave seconds off its TT lap times.

Using a BOXX Technologies’ 3DBOXX 4920 XTREME running a dual-GPU configuration of a Quadro K5000 and a Tesla K20, Motoczysz is able to run complex surfacing models for both CFD and aesthetic design.

“With NVIDIA Maximus technology we can utilise all the graphics features and create physically accurate renders to see exactly how the bike will look, every detail, and tweak things as needed while still in that rendering phase .

That’s a huge advantage and something we hadn’t been able to do before.”

We take a look at a new range of electric motorcycles