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Easy Rider Goes Electric


Imagine riding your motorcycle down a long country road with the wind blowing and the sun shining. Now imagine that at the end of this ride you only had to recharge the battery, not fill up the gas tank.

Imagination becomes reality with The Volta 102, the first retro bike to go electric, thanks to its creator James Hammarhead, founder of Hammarhead Industries and a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The Volta 102 started as a 2005 Royal Enfield Bullet 500, but after only three months of work Hammarhead redesigned the “50s classic styling into the first retro electric bike.

Hammarhead wanted to keep the bikes simple and small. This raised the issue, though, of the battery capacity.

“One problem we ran into was getting the maximum amount of batteries into the bike,” Hammarhead said.

Hammarhead was able to overcome this obstacle and the Volta 102 is now home to a lithium iron-phosphate battery pack that is rated at 6 kilowatts. The battery pack has 32 cells, but can go up to 36 cells to increase power.

The motorcycle is able to travel for up to 50 to 70 miles depending on the speed.

“If you want to go 70 miles per hour you can, and if you want to travel 70 miles you can,” Hammarhead said. “You just can’t do both at the same time. You can either ride the bike fast, or travel farther.”

Hammarhead said the overall target for the bike at this time is 100 miles per hour with the distance of 100 miles, which he believes is doable. Hammerhead explained the bike has all the same general safety features as a gas-powered motorcycle, but the Volta 102 doesn’t require flammable gasoline. It sells for $16,500.

Currently, Hammarhead Industries (www.hammarhead.com) is working on a new model for next year that is more functional for general travel, such as going to the grocery store.

Hammarhead wants to build a bike that can be ridden frequently and is clean with the startup and in the long run.

“We like to think of it as having the same feel of riding a motorcycle without the guilty feeling because it’s clean,” Hammarhead said.

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