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Electric and Hydrogen Powered Motorcycles Getting Traction With Investors

Electric motorcycle manufacturer, Brammo, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $28 million from investors to boost development of electric motorcycle powertrain technology.

So who’s kicking in all the cash? Polaris Industries, for one. Polaris is a powersports giant which makes all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and road-legal electric vehicles, and they’re obviously eyeing a step into the nascent electric motorcycle market.

Polaris CEO Scott Wine is betting on electric motorcycle technology to take off a gas prices climb ever higher.

“We’re not going to buy something to get bigger; we’re going to buy something to get better, faster,” Wine said recently.

The Polaris deal with Brammo’s positions the company to move the Brammo powertrain technology into a host of vehicle types and makes Polaris an instant player in the EV technology which is very likely to replace four-stroke engines traditionally used to power bikes and snowmobiles.

Think Polaris is the only major powersports player looking to develop electric motorcycle technology. You sir, are not correct…

Zero Motorcycles, another manufacturer of all-electric motorcycles, also announced that they raised $26 million in additional financing from investors, led by Invus, the company’s main backer since 2008. The deal closed with $17 million invested and sources say the potential for an additional $9 million over the coming months is in the offing.

Zero will use the cash to crank up U.S.-based production of their line of electric bikes and to expand global sales. Zero officials said they would commit “significant” resources to research and development of their electric drivetrain technology.

“We’re building the leading supply chain in the industry through our own efforts and our partnering with world-class suppliers,” said Zero CEO Gene Banman . “The company has the strong financial footing it needs to expand the business and move the state of electric motorcycle development rapidly forward.”

Yet another entrant in the carbon-free motorcycle market, Intelligent Energy, a British company, announced their plans to come out with a motorcycle named Emission Neutral Vehicle (ENV), and they say the ENV is, perhaps a bit disingenuously, the world’s first hydrogen-powered bike.

Intelligent Energy says the bike has a top speed of 50 mph and a range of at least 100 miles. The stated fact that the ENV can run for four hours before a fuel cell recharge means the vehicle would be a viable commuter platform, and more so if you could actually find the fuel it takes to run one.

Price might be an issue as well as a prototype of ENV shown in London will set you back more than $8,300.

But will motorcyclists go for a product that only looks like a motorcycle but sounds more like a really boss electric fan?

The ENV hydrogen bike is mighty quiet. None of the reassuring roar you get with a  motorcycles, so the manufacturers are saying they might use a fake engine noise device. The sound factor might well play in China and India where a huge number of riders use motorcycles for everyday transportation, but it will be a tough sell here in the US of A where we like our bikes loud and powerful…

James May of Top Gear test the ENV:

If you had the earth-friendly constitution, refinement and pocketbook to buy a Brammo electric bike, your insurance needs can get complicated. We’re here to help you find the right insurance for your brand new electric or hydrogen-powered motorcyle…


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