Today’s designers of electric bikes are taking the best features of the conventional motorbike and combining them with advanced technology.

The results mean that even the most traditional of bikers take a second look at electric motorcycles. And they’re finding the high performance motorcycles are not only efficient and fast; they’re also great fun to ride.

The history of the electric motorcycle

Back in 1895, two patent applications were made in the US for an ‘electrical bicycle’. The early history of the electric motorbike is not clear. Interestingly, mention of an electric motorcycle is made in the October 1911 edition of Popular Mechanics, although details of its design are sparse.

It appears as though there were no serious attempts to produce an electric motorcycle until the start of the Second World War. In 1936, the Limelette brothers founded an electric bike company in Brussels, which continued production during the German occupation. Meanwhile, in the US, Merle Williams of Long Beach, California invented a two-wheeled electric motorcycle that towed a single wheeled trailer.

Fuel rationing at the time drove the need for a viable alternative to gas-fuelled bikes. Sadly, many companies reverted back to traditional fuel-powered bike manufacture once the war had ended.

Now there is a much wider market for electric motorcycles and scooters around the world. Top names in the industry producing electric versions of their petrol-fuelled bikes include Zero S, Brammo Empulse, Vectrix VX-2, Quantya Strada and Yamaha EC-03.

The landscape in which the electric motorcycle operates is changing. From functional workplace electric bikes designed in Dudley to the supercharged world of superbike racing, commercial production of electric motorcycles has a new energy.

Electric bikes are now competing head on with their petrol-powered alternatives. It’s still early days for electric motorbikes, but they are showing every sign of soon being able to overtake their gas-guzzling rivals.

The story of a winning British design

Good news stories of independent British companies showing profitable growth and bringing in worldwide sales are few and far between. So it’s great to hear news of a Midlands-based company that is bucking the trend.

The BBC recently reported that the Raptor, an electric bike designed by brothers Paul and David Loomes, brought in orders of £1.5m since its launch last year.

The Raptor electric bike is 100% designed and manufactured in the Midlands by a company called Ecospin. They hope to make at least 2,000 bikes a year by 2015.

The Mission motorcycle

At five hundred and forty pounds, the Mission is a hefty bike to push around the garage. However, once on the road the weight disappears. The bike set a new lap record at Laguna Seca with 1:31.3 two years ago, which would have placed it fifth on the grid at the AMA Daytona Sportbike race that same year.

If you’re thinking of purchasing an electric motorbike, you will also have to think about insuring it. Click here to see what Bennetts, the UK’s number one motorbike insurer, has to offer.