New Zealand-based FTN Motion is preparing for the launch of the company’s first electric motorcycle.
While New Zealand might not strike you as a two-wheeled EV powerhouse, the plucky island nation is no stranger to electric motorbikes.
But unlike the workhorse electric motorbikes we’ve seen before, the country’s latest electric two-wheeler is a retro-inspired moped.
The moped designation is more related to the bike’s top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), and has less to do with its (lack of) pedals.
But the lower speed keeps the bike street legal as a moped and free of the more stringent licensing and regulation requirements of full motorcycles.
FTN’s cafe racer-styled electric motorbike is the culmination of several years of design and R&D that went into developing a utility bike that combined style and functionality.
As the company explained:
Rewind to 2015. We found ourselves, like thousands of others, wasting hours a day commuting across town in gridlock traffic, pumping out endless clouds of emissions.
It wasn’t long before we started looking at what alternative options were available. Electric mopeds emerging at the time were uninspiring copies of their petrol equivalents, a bit odd looking or just plain ugly.
Specs include a 2 kW electric hub motor in the rear wheel and a battery sufficient for 100 km (62 miles) of range.
The bike even includes something almost no other electric motorcycle or moped can claim: decent storage space.
There’s 30L (1.06 cubic feet) of storage in the frame under the flip-up faux tank – a nearly unheard of amount of storage capacity.
And in what seems to be a theme among electric moped makers, that storage space is demonstrated by whether or not it can fit a pack of beer. In this case, a 12-pack seems to be no problem.
The 62 kg (137 lb) bike is currently taking refundable NZ$100 deposits toward the full purchase price of NZ$7,995 (approximately US$5,670) for the founders edition, but only fellow Kiwis are eligible for now. The founders edition bikes are expected to be ready by the end of the year.
FTN is also seeking investment, though I think I’ve hit my limit for electric motorcycle investments this year, so I’ll let others jump in there.
There’s no telling if FTN will expand distribution beyond its borders, but here’s hoping we can see more of these interesting bikes one day.
While I’ve never been a fan of the cafe racer styling personally, instead favoring the comfort of more upright bikes, I will absolutely give the FTN Motion team points for creativity.
There are plenty of people that like this styling with the low bars, flat seat, and bar end mirrors, and so FTN could very well have a winner on their hands.
The price obviously can’t compete with Chinese-built electric motorbikes, but no one is buying an electric moped like this for the price.
And I love the amount of storage they’ve designed into the bike. The downside is that they end up with those large flat panels, and I wonder if something more interesting could be done there, but the storage adds huge utility to the bike. I generally use a backpack on my electric mopeds, but this design would mean I could leave the bag at home.
Many early-stage electric moped designs use simple, flat panels to simplify production. While this bike could likely benefit from some interesting molds, I think this is a great start.
Let’s see how things develop for the company.
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