Lighting Motorcycles is based in California, USA
Design patent for an EV filed in China
Teardrop shaped capsule should offer reduced drag
Lightning Motorcycles, a US-based electric motorcycle manufacturer, is potentially developing an enclosed motorcycle, according to a patent image that's circulating online. The image has not been officially published by the company. However, it has been registered as a design patent in China. Lighting Motorcycles already has a huge components manufacturing factory in China which could be used to build the new motorcycle, if it makes it to production. At present, the Chinese facility manufacturers components for the Lighting Strike, which is its most affordable electric motorcycle priced at $13,000 (about Rs 9.8 lakh).
A close look at the images of the new enclosed motorcycle shows the teardrop-shaped capsule that covers the entire vehicle, save for the wheels. The design certainly looks aerodynamic and it indicates that Lighting Motorcycles is possibly developing a high-performance electric motorcycle with an emphasis on top speed.
For the uninitiated, Lightning set a world record for the 'Fastest production electric motorcycle' in 2011, when the LS-218 maxed out at 218mph (315kph) during the Bonneville Salt Flats Speedweek.
The other benefits of an enclosed capsule is that it'll certainly keep the rider isolated from the elements. The material used to manufacture the capsule has not been revealed, but given the need to keep the weight in check, carbon fibre or some other composite lightweight material would be the ideal choice.
The patent image also does not show any form of crash protection, or a side stand. In fact, what lies behind the walls of the capsule is anybody's guess. The only things that can be identified are that the bike appears to have a long wheelbase and that the large enclosed area could translate to more room for batteries. This, in turn, could boost battery range, which will already be aided by the reduced aerodynamic drag caused by the shape of the capsule. If this vehicle does come to production, it could set new benchmarks for EV range.
Questions about the performance and whether or not this concept will make it to production, are yet to be answered. For now, all we can say is that the concept of an enclosed motorcycle is another intriguing concept emerging from the highly experimentive world of two-wheeled EVs.