Quirky EVs — those offbeat, avante garde, often experimental personal transportation options — don’t always get the respect they deserve in an era in which Tesla has nearly dominated the all-electric market. But quirky EVs justify a look, as they may evolve into the vehicles the Average Joe and Jane of the not-so-distant future will be driving.
We know motorcycles are definitely quirky EVs, often without the power and prestige that so many US riders prefer. But much of the world depends on motorcycles as low-cost, efficient transportation to maneuver through congested urban traffic. Lots of traditional motorcycles are gaining in fuel efficiency, but Alta Motors’ electric Redshift really has the youth market taking notice.
Then again, a totally different kind of EV adventure is in store for anyone in Dubai who’s interested in testing out one of the quirky EVs that the Europeans like so much, the Renault Zoe, and for only $1.50 per hour (with a full day minimum). It’s part of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s push to meet scheduled emission reduction goals. And Dubai is not the only place where EV adventures are on the horizon. A Hyperloop for electric bikes? That’s what BMW’s R&D center in Shanghai has been working on, and it looks fascinating.
Also, there’s the People’s Car company, Volkswagen, which needs to play catch-up with the other EV manufacturers. They’ve announced newly-signed cooperation with 100 suppliers in advance of their 2022 line of 20 EVs. And our old friend the Nissan LEAF was front and center this week at the LA Auto Show, preening about enhancements to the original model in what has truly been an evolution of quirky EVs.
Here are those stories and more on this week’s edition of “The Gas2 Week in Review.”
36 new dealerships in 16 states in the past year? Alta Motors is presenting some pretty formidable competition to California electric motorcycle stalwart, Zero Motorcycles. With a distinct and deliberate focus on the off-road world, Alta has tackled a niche market with its Redshift models and custom battery pack which crams 5.8 kWh into 30.8 kilos with a maximum of 350V. Mile for mile, the company declares, there is no smaller, more energy dense battery pack in transportation.
Alta’s founders started out by trying to make a bike that would make riders of all skill levels better. Their research into available technologies made them realize that an electric motor would perform best, as it gives the rider total control with linear and immediate power delivery. No doubt, there are still hurdles to educating this market on the thrills and combined benefits of riding an electric bike, but the company is confident of a promising future. Their 18x increase in sales this year didn’t hurt the optimism.