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Motorcycles The Disruptors: SolGerman startup Sol's electric motorcycle isn't an e-bike or a moped — it's a "Noped."

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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.


This isn’t your mom’s pocket rocket.

Based in Stuttgart, Germany, SOL Motors came about in 2013 after its founder, Manuel Messmer, couldn’t find an electric moped that met his standards for performance and design. The e-bikes, scooters, and mopeds available at the time evoked a more traditional design, which he thought didn’t fully represent this new technology, so he created the Pocket Rocket.

“We chose to forgo all the elements we felt were unnecessary or simply decorative,” Messmer explains. “It’s not an e-bike: it’s too fast. It’s not a moped: it has no pedals. It’s a ‘Noped,’ defining a new category of electric two-wheelers.” Little more than an aluminum frame, handlebars, rims, and fenders, the 121-pound, fully recyclable Pocket Rocket is available in two versions: the base model, which has six horsepower and a top speed of 31 mph, and the Pocket Rocket S, which has 8.5 horsepower and a top speed of 50 mph.

SOL’s core customer is an urban-dwelling commuter looking for a sustainable form of transportation. As cities become more congested, electric bikes offer just that, providing mobility without the noise and air pollution. As for the company name? Messmer explains, “SOL: Speed Of Light. It stands for the noiseless form of mobility going from A to B, silent and fast.”


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