If you had any doubts that electricity is the future of off-road performance, this bike should eliminate them. KTM has created a fully functional electric, zero emissions enduro prototype and intends to put it into production. In keeping with its "Ready to Race" slogan, the Zero Emissions Motorcycle is a full-on competition bike, in which capacity it will be evaluated and developed before going on-sale as little as 24 months from now.
Update: KTM finally got around to issuing a press release, details from which follow the jump.
The Austrian company is releasing very few details of the Zero Emissions Motorcycle, but has revealed that it develops 29.5lb/ft of torque and carries lithium ion batteries capable of lasting 40 minutes under "race conditions" and that can be fully recharged in just one hour. In comparison, the Quantya Strada that we rode around our Brooklyn office develops only 23lb/ft. It's difficult to compare the two models' ranges as "race conditions" are hard to define, but Quantya says the Strada should be capable of about 25 miles off-road, which sounds like a rough equivalent.
KTM's battery pack and electric motor together weigh 17kg (for a total machine weight of 90kg or 198lbs. That's 7kg lighter than a KTM 125 EXC), but some of this weight will be offset by the elimination of the clutch; exhaust pipes and canisters; fuel tank and other necessities of internal combustion. The company expects that the Zero Emissions Motorcycle will carry a small price premium over a KTM enduro of similar performance.
Discussing the thinking behind the Zero Emissions Motorcycle project, KTM board member Harald Plöckinger says the lack of noise and emissions means "We can bring now the Enduro sport again more near in the centers of dense development and cities." Indeed the greatest advantage electricity brings to dirt bikes isn't the number of spotted owls that will be saved (comparatively cars, homes and industry all pollute exponentially more than all motorcycles put together), but rather the access that the power source will be capable of granting and preserving.
Seeing the competitive advantage the Zero Emissions Motorcycle would provide KTM and the environmental and political advantages it would give both the company and the country, the project is being part financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry for traffic, innovation and technology.