Yes, that’s what I said. There is a motorcycle that is both outrageously fast and, at the same time, more energy efficient than a scooter! The new electric Peraves E-Tracer is not just a concept – it’s a reality that’s heading to American roads next year.
The E-Tracer walked away with the top spot in the 2010 Automotive X-Prize Alternative Class, beating out 127 other innovative entries. The E-Tracer is electric, so the MPG number is an equivalent calculation. However, the amazing coexistence of raw speed and fuel efficiency is awe-inspiring.
So what is the E-Tracer? It’s a 2-wheeled vehicle that is fully-enclosed in a Kevlar fiberglass cocoon. The project’s chief executive, Roger Riedener, describes it this way: "It's not a hybrid. It's a hybris, a snake, a serpent with two heads.”
Okay, so that’s a bit of a metaphorical description. Here is one that is a little more tangible. The E-tracer in no feather-weight – it tips the scales at a substantial 1,260 pounds. For reference, that’s the heft of about 3 normal bikes. It is also about twice as long as a full-sized cruiser. Since it is fully enclosed, you may wonder how the thing stays upright at low speeds or when stopped. For that purpose, it utilizes outriggers that are deployed via a toggle switch in the cockpit.
Speaking of the cockpit, the E-Tracer is a two-seater employing comfortable bucket seats. Visibility in the fully-windowed shell is said to be amazing and panoramic. However, even the designer conceded that the E-Tracer is a “challenge” to master. The driving (or riding) experience is as demanding as it is exhilarating (see video below).
The drawback of most electric vehicles is limited range. The E-Tracer delivered more than 100 miles in the X-Prize competition. That is a realistic range for most commuter and even some touring purposes. Its power comes from a 150 kW electric-drive system and a 19.4 kWh lithium polymer battery system. The street-legal vehicle can go from 0-to-60 mph in 6.6 seconds.
The E-Tracer will be available to "real men and women" and will cost "less than $100,000" according to its makers. Approximately 100 of the units will be built each year.
The X-Prize foundation, which awarded the E-Tracer the $2.5 million first prize, is a non-profit organization that promotes competition to create radical breakthroughs in technology that will benefit mankind. The foundation also awards prizes for innovations in science, medicine, environmentalism, education, and exploration, just to name a few.