Lightning Motorcycle to unveil LS-218 Superbike this weekend

Publish Date: 
May 13, 2014
By Mary Green Slepicka

SAN CARLOS, Calif. - Lightning Motorcycle said it will reveal its LS-218 electric Superbike this weekend at the Quail Motorsport Gathering in Carmel.

According to the company, a more affordable line of production sportbikes is in the works, including a 650cc twin called Aion set to debut still this year. The bikes will be sold through dealers, the company told Dealernews.

"We are working on our dealer plan right now," said Jojo Chang, the company's head of marketing. Chang said Lightning plans to start sales in California and the West Coast, then move to the South and East Coast areas of the country.

"Currently, we don't have a plan to [sell] direct," Chang said. "We believe working with dealers is the most effective way to provide locally accessible customer services."

The company launched in 2006 with the aim of developing performance electric bikes and in 2011 became the first electric motorcycle maker to exceed 200 mph. 

"To have broad acceptance from the motorcyclist community, we need to provide design, performance and value that competes head to head with the best gasoline motorcycles on the market," said CEO Richard Hatfield in the announcement issued on Lightning's website. "We believe that the LS-218 offers consumers the best of design, performance and value in today's market."

Lightning touts the LS-218 as "the most technologically advanced and highest performing street-legal production motorcycle in the world" and is the street-legal version of the same bike that won AMA and FIM races. "Customers can purchase a Lightning LS-218 and have the same opportunity to win an FIM EPower race or set a land speed record themselves while still using their LS-218 as [a] daily commuter bike," the company has stated.

The LS-218's IPM liquid-cooled 10,500 rpm electric motor reportedly can produce in excess of 200 hp and 168 ft./lbs. of torque. A proprietary Ultra High Power Density Drive system allows a max power setting without overheating. At highway speeds, the 495 lb. LS-218 reportedly can exceed 100 miles per charge with a standard battery package, and can be recharged at public stations in 30 minutes or less. The LS-218 features an Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes and rotors, and Marchesini wheels.

Lightning currently accepts individual reservations for the $38,000 LS-218. Customers can further personalize their investment with a fully programmable Android display, carbon fiber swingarm and frame, titanium fasteners, custom graphic wrap, and custom seating. 

Press image courtesy Lightning Motorcycle