Motoped » Electric Motorcycles » Lightning LS-218 Electric Motorcycle Full Review

Lightning LS-218 Electric Motorcycle Full Review

There are many electric scooters on the market, but most of them do not have high speeds: 30-40 km per hour is their cruising speed. Therefore, a really fast electric motorcycle Lightning LS-218 attracts attention by its extraordinariness. After all, it is in no way inferior to its gasoline counterparts, besides, it does not pollute the environment in the slightest.

Lightning Motorcycles – the fastest electric motorcycles in the world

Lightning LS-218 is definitely a king of electric motorcycles new generation with its speed of 351 km per hour, or 218 miles per hour in imperial equivalent. “So how much power does it have?” – you ask. “Only 200 horsepower,” we answer. A laughable figure, by superbike standards. But with an aerodynamic fairing and reduced rear wheel, this truly exemplary speed for a new wave electric motorcycle is a fact, not fiction. It doesn’t need a huge engine or torque to literally float above the ground. Batteries and electric propulsion are enough.

Lightning LS-218 Specs

Lightning Motorcycles Top Speed

And you don’t have to give out top speed on a motorcycle, either. For safety reasons, most major motorcycle manufacturers keep their top speeds at a limit of about 180 miles per hour (290 km/h). The agreement is conditional, but companies are in no hurry to depart from this “gentleman’s agreement.”

Of course, even the most reckless bikers would not think of racing at 300 km per hour on the autobahns. This is a figure for racing with ideal tracks and conditions. More interesting is the practical application of the electric motorcycle in urban conditions. And for this reason, we need to understand where and under what conditions it is produced and used.

Lightning LS-218 Manufacturer

The LS-218 has so far only been produced in the USA. Its creator, Richard Hatfield, is the founder and CEO of the Lightning LS-218 company of the same name. By the way, lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere. And it’s hard to argue with the world’s fastest electric motorcycle in this regard. It is not much slower than lightning. 

The company itself is small right now. It has only 10 people on board. The staff and all production facilities are based in the city of San Carlos, not far from where Elon Musk founded his company Tesla, which makes the world-famous electric cars. Can 10 people run an assembly line of such electric motorcycles? Probably, they can, but so far the Lightning LS-218 is presented in a single copy and is assembled literally by hand.

Lightning LS-218 Design

LS-218 Design

Motorcycle designer Glinn Kerr (Glinn Kerr) is also known for his design criticism publications, and he has never ridden a motorcycle. That didn’t stop him from creating a whole new brand from scratch. 

The body of the motorcycle is made of hand-rolled carbon fiber. The color of the motorcycle is metallic blue framed by silver. Sleek lines and eight projector headlights make the electric motorcycle stand out. 

The single-seat does not allow you to take a second passenger. This machine is for one rider: “The bolivar won’t hold two.” Except for a child. Thus the device is rather light for a superbike – it weights only 225 kg. And it takes a rider up to 140 kg in weight. Probably, it is possible to carry even more, but then it is not recommended to develop cruiser speed.

Lightning LS-218 Front Side

Lightning LS-218 Price

The lightning icon is on the front line, reminding about the name of the electric motorcycle and hinting that it’s time to remember the price of the exclusive transport. The company is going to market its product for $38,800. That’s just the cost of the new electric car from Tesla.

The Dashboard

The Lightning LS-218 dashboard is expectedly fully electronic. It shows speed and revs with the broadest data logging capabilities that only the computing power of a computer can provide without error.

“We download telemetry data from every person who is going to ride our products,” Hetfield says. The company does enter weight, height, and other data into the onboard computer on the display so the unit can adjust to the driver’s needs, helping to steer around corners and adjust the suspension to the rider’s dimensions. You can rearrange the dashboard by choosing between metric and imperial (kilometers and miles).

Speed Modes

The LS-218 is a single-speed, clutchless, direct-drive unit. It’s always in sixth gear, whether you’re going uphill or downhill. But there’s one tweak. If you don’t plan to go faster than 180 miles per hour, you can honestly “acknowledge” that on the bike’s dashboard, and it will save 10 to 15 percent of the battery life all the way without giving out maximum acceleration. A kind of racing mode “under the asterisk”.

But even without a racing mode, the motorcycle gains 100 km per hour in 5 seconds. In contrast to its nearly silent electric counterparts, LS-218 beeps loudly enough, as should be a powerful motorcycle, so it can be heard when the speed exceeds 100 miles per hour. Designers intentionally left this “option” so that the driver does not lose touch with reality. 

Lightning LS-218 Battery

“One of the things that differ an electric motorcycle from a gasoline or gas-powered one,” Hatfield says, “is that you don’t have to worry about powering it. We plan to use a van-motorcycle bundle for that purpose. We want to hang solar panels, which will collect the charge in the batteries, on the roof of the vehicle. Then it will be enough to change the batteries themselves when the charge will be close to zero, which will be prompted by the onboard panel. 

Tesla also wants to equip its electric cars with solar-powered home systems. That’s if you don’t count the fact that you can charge them from any charger. And even from a flashlight. In Germany, lamppost charging systems are already being developed. In general, we will make every effort to make such technology as little dependent as possible on big cities. Our motorcycle is designed to be environmentally friendly. So let it serve nature. If only the roads were better.

Removable batteries, solar panels, outlets, lampposts, and other charging methods show that the company is seriously interested in the development of electric transport. The LS-218 is progressing by leaps and bounds. Currently, the bike can travel 120, 150, or 180 miles on a single charge. Depending on which battery is installed on it. There are 12kW, 15kW, or 20kW. And all feature a quick-charge system where the batteries are fully charged in 30 minutes. 

The company is also looking forward to hearing from Tesla about the development of new, higher-capacity batteries. Perhaps the same will soon be fitted to electric motorcycles, which will further increase range by an order of magnitude. 

For now, batteries make up a good portion of the cost of an electric motorcycle. For example, 20 kW for 180 miles of travel costs $4,000 right now. Perhaps prices will drop once production gets cheaper and companies like Tesla and Samsung compete. 

In the meantime, all we have to do is wait until the first such electric motorcycles reach beyond the U.S. market and spread around the world. Maybe soon they will be sold with autopilots.

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