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Motorcycles The Disruptors: LightningSilicon Valley Startup Lightning is boldly entering the the race to become a player in the electric motorcycle market.

Iron & Air Issue 036 Cover

While the first electric vehicles were invented in late 1800s, it has been gas-powered vehicles that have ruled the roadways for over a century. But there is a growing movement determined to change that, and over the past two decades, electric vehicles have slowly slipped into the mainstream as the public’s impression of EVs has improved. People are now more aware of the effects of noise and exhaust pollution, and the cost of owning and operating a gas-powered vehicle is driving more traffic toward EVs. Technological advances, cost of operations, and other barriers to entry have been lowered, making it easier to enter the market; as a result, a handful of boutique motorbike and motorcycle companies have emerged. Each of the following seven companies present their own electric motorcycles and e-bikes with a unique approach, hoping to make a lasting impression on the personal mobility market.


A near-silent sportbike with record-breaking pedigree.

Silicon Valley company Lightning started in 2009 as a passion project for founder and CEO, Richard Hatfield. He first worked on electric vehicles in 1997, helping develop an all-electric Porsche with some racing friends. Being a lifelong motorcyclist, Hatfield naturally gravitated toward combining his two passions as he learned more about lithium-ion battery technology and the benefits of a smaller, lighter vehicle that could make the best use of electric drive.

His first EV motorcycle — the $38,888, 200-horsepower LS-218 — made history in 2013 by taking the overall win at Pikes Peak, ridden by Iron & Air contributor Carlin Dunne. The company’s latest release, the Lightning Strike, is made for the everyday rider. Available in three versions — standard, mid-range, and Carbon Edition — the Strike is tamer than the LS-218, with more-manageable horsepower (90 horsepower for standard and mid-range models, 120 for the Carbon Edition), improved ergonomics for more comfortable riding, and a more-attainable price point ($12,998 for the standard, $16,998 for the mid-range, and $19,998 for the Carbon Edition).


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