KTM Freeride E – OEMs Enter the Electric Motorcycle Fray

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The writing has been on the wall for sometime now, as the entire electric motorcycle community has been waiting for a major OEM to debut its own electric motorcycle. Answering that call, KTM unveiled at EICMA today the new 2012 KTM Freeride E. Saying that as the leading off-road motorcycle manufacturer (KTM accounts for about 50% of the worldwide dirt bike market), the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer could not afford to sit idly by while other companies innovated in its space.

Built along the Freeride’s ride anywhere mantra, the KTM Freeride E comes with 2.1kWh of battery power on-board, and is powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor. With a rated output of 10hp, KTM says the electric motor is good for 30hp peak, with a maximum of 300 Volts going through the system. Helped by its small battery size, the Freeride E weighs only 204 lbs and can be recharged off a 220V socket in 90 minutes. As for range, KTM has an interesting rating system for the electric Freeride, quoting a 20 minute ride time in the hands of a professional, while the KTM Freeride E is rated to last 45 minutes in the hands of an amateur.

KTM will be initially only selling 100 units in early 2012, as the Austrian company wants to test the electric dirt bike market before going into full production. If those market test show a market, then KTM will pursue full-scale production. Accordingly, KTM hasn’t released pricing on the 2012 KTM Freeride E beyond that it will be less than €10,000, though looking at the components the ‘Ready to Race’ company could be able to undercut Brammo, Zero, and BRD. Obviously with a distribution, sales, and support network already in place, KTM has a leg up on these other electric motorcycle companies.

The question I’ve been asking, about what happens when a major OEM enters this space, still remains, though we will soon get a glimpse to that question’s answer. What will be interesting to see is whether KTM’s entry disrupts the electric motorcycle space, which would make for some good irony, as the current crop of electric startups are supposed to be the disruptors in the motorcycle industry. Chewy.

Source: KTM