There it was staring right at me on the motorcycle show floor, the Victory Empulse – an honest to goodness electric production motorcycle. Zero Motorcycles have been around for years but actually seeing one of that company’s machines is uncommon here in Canada yet right there in the Victory Empulse was a major manufacturer with an electric motorcycle for sale amid all their internal combustion offerings.
For now the Empulse does stick out like a sore thumb amid machines like the Victory Vegas, Hammer and Magnum – about as far as you can get from electric in the motorcycle spectrum – but that is bound to change soon. The price also stuck out like a, if not sore, tender thumb at $23,799. One would have to be a genuine electric enthusiast or extremely early adopter to fork over that kind of cash. Having yet to ride an Empulse I was surprised by the machine’s heft. Weighing in at a “dry” 470 lbs the narrow, compact and yet seemingly tall machine feels very substantial with much of the weight carried front and centre with the lithium-ion battery pack.
On top of the tall feature that would in other bikes be called a gas tank is the plug in for the battery charger so at the least that part of the equation would seem familiar. The second thought after “wow, an electric bike” was where is the LiveWire? Harley-Davidson’s electric machine was a better looking offering than the Empulse but better looking isn’t a benefit when the bike in question is not on the floor let alone not on sale. Polaris through Victory and the Empuse TT is testing the waters. Now we wait to see who else jumps in.