After making a huge splash with the announcement of the most affordable electric sport bike in the US earlier this year, we haven’t heard much news from California-based Lightning Motorcycles. So I set out to discover what was going on with the Lightning Strike electric motorcycle.
To get to the bottom of things, I caught up with Richard Hatfield, the founder and CEO of Lightning Motorcycles.
In case you’ve forgotten, Lightning unveiled the Strike back in March, showing off its 150 mph (241 km/h) top speed and its range of up to 200 miles (321 km) in the city or 150 miles (241 km) on the highway.
The fully-faired electric sport bike starts at $12,998 for the Standard Edition, which has a slightly lower top speed of 135 mph (217 km/h). The price increases to $16,998 for the mid-range model and $19,998 for the top-end Carbon Edition.
While Lightning originally expected deliveries of the Carbon Edition Strike to begin in July, they were only slightly delayed with the first deliveries beginning in September. Since then, Richard tells us that the company has continued making deliveries of more Carbon Edition bikes to early reservation holders.
Lightning Strike electric motorcycle
The Standard Edition Strikes (you know, the ones with that super enticing $12,998 price tag) aren’t quite ready to make deliveries yet. As Richard explained, there have been a few delays:
“We’re producing the Carbon Editions at this point. We’re working through that list and we’re getting all the tooling finished for the Standard Edition. We’ve had some delays for the injection molds and the forgings for the Standard Edition. But we should be on track to begin shipping the Standard Editions next year in Q1.”
If the company can keep that current schedule, some Standard Edition Strike reservation holders could be getting their bikes just in time for spring riding weather.
In the meantime, Lightning has continued producing and delivering its first production electric motorcycle, the LS-218. That electric superbike was named after its record-setting top speed of 218 mph (350 km/h). The hand-built bikes used to take more than a year from ordering to delivery, but Richard says that time frame has now been reduced to around 90-100 days.
Lightning LS2-18 electric superbike
And if producing two different models wasn’t keeping Lightning busy enough, the company is apparently hard at work on multiple new electric motorcycle models.
As Richard expanded:
“We currently have a series of smaller bikes that are being prototyped and tested right now, and after we get the Standard Edition of the Strike out we’ll be ready for the launch of those bikes.”
While he wouldn’t give me any specific details about the new bikes in development (and not for lack of me trying, I assure you), the move toward smaller electric motorcycles would certainly fit with existing market trends. Multiple electric motorcycles in the 125-250cc equivalent range have been debuted over the past year by companies such as Sur Ron, Voge, Horwin, and Revolt. Such electric motorcycles often have lower top speeds of around 60-70 mph (98-112 km/h), making them more approachable to new riders. And while those bikes aren’t yet available in the US, it would come as no surprise to see them entering the American market eventually.
Richard was equally vague yet enticing about additional work Lightning currently has hidden behind the closed doors of its R&D department.
“We also have a couple of other projects that we are working on right now and that we’re very excited about, that are very aerodynamic and efficient projects – something that nobody is really producing at this point. We’ve done quite a bit of CFD [computational fluid dynamics], we have a scale wind tunnel in house, and we have a full-size wind tunnel about 15 miles from our site that we use.”
So far Lightning Motorcycles is the only American company to develop fully faired electric motorcycles, though a camouflaged Zero SR/F was recently spotted near the company’s headquarters with what looked like an experimental front fairing, so it could be that Zero is hoping to give Lightning a run for its money in the aerodynamics department.
As it stands though, Lightning certainly seems to be leading the industry in regards to electric motorcycle aerodynamics, which are helpful in reducing the notoriously high drag of motorcycles and the meat sails that ride them.
For anyone that wants to keep up to date with Lightning’s progress, Richard recommends checking out the company’s social media, which you can find linked at the bottom of the company’s homepage. And of course keep checking back here at Electrek, where we’ll be sure to break the news on Lightning’s secretive upcoming projects.
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