BRD Motorcycles originally opened pre-orders for the RedShift electric motorcycles back in 2011, and it's almost time for them to hit the streets. A lot has changed since then, including the name of the company -- now Alta Motors -- and a recent $4.5 million investment round of investment. The company simply explains that it likes the new name better, but the changes we're interested in have to do with those sweet plug-in bikes. We spoke to CEO / co-founder Marc Fenigstein as Alta showed off the 2015 production model RedShift MX and RedShift SM at the 2014 AIMExpo in Orlando, and he explained both bikes have undergone countless changes since they first debuted. The "race bike with lights" MX has a $14,995 price tag, while the road-going supermoto model is $15,495 and features a slightly higher 85mph top speed -- check after the break for more details.
The proprietary lithium ion battery packs have been redesigned from scratch, shaving 15 lbs from the 85 lb original and getting shorter by 4 inches. Alta isn't ready to share how it's achieved this feat, but Fenigstein says its cells are, along with the ones Tesla Motors uses, the only ones he knows of in the industry that have thermal propagation resistance, aka fire resistance.The 5.2 kWh battery packs (good for about 50 miles on road or 2 hours riding offroad) are swappable, just in case you want to keep going without plugging in to a 110v jack.
Another major change is in the bike's frame, where the front section has been redesigned to use a new casting design that's 40 percent stronger and has more control over frame flexibility -- without getting any heavier. It's also switched to a liquid cooled 40hp, 11 lb, 13,750 RPM motor and ditched the radiator featured on prototype models. The bikes are on target to start shipping to dealers next year (no direct to consumer sales, BMW Motorcycles of SF will be among the first dealers), starting in California during Q2 before spreading to the rest of the US later in the year, and Europe in 2016. These electric bikes haven't been homologated for major racing series like AMA or FIM yet, but the CEO says it's in talks, and so far has seen a favorable reception at smaller regional racing events.
The final difference from 2011? Fenigstein tells us that after an initially cool response back then, riders have seen electric motorcycles from Zero, Brammo, and even OEMS like Harley-Davidson or KTM. Now there's "nothing but applause" as they see these bikes are adding to the experience, not taking anything away. Anyone ready to slap down $15k and go from gas to this electric off-road riding next year?