No doubt, the race towards high-performance, eco-friendly vehicles are spawning some odd-looking machines. The Zerotracer, a two-seater electric motorcycle that encloses its riders in a Kevlar shell, is actually easier on the eyes compared to many we have seen.
Designed by a group of engineers in Winterthur, Switzerland, the car-like cabin allows passengers to enjoy amenities not common to two-wheeled vehicles. Instead of saddles, for instance, the bike gets tandem bucket seats, allowing for comfortable posture during rides. The enclosed shell keeps outside noise to a minimum and, more importantly, allows occupants to enjoy the installed heating and stereo systems. With a 250-degree plexiglass windshield on the upper area, it also affords the same panoramic view as regular motorcycles.
The Zerotracer boasts a 135 kW electric motor and a 400V batterythat helps it reach top speeds of 160 mph and a driving range of 280 miles per charge (probably less, if the heating and stereos have anything to do with that). Two hours of plugging in can bring the battery to full charge, with a 30-minute quick charge option that fills it to up to 80 percent. Since the rider sits completely inside the enclosure, it comes with a pair of retractable wheels that allow it to stay upright when standing still. When retracted, these extra wheels also help "skim" the road during cornering at high speeds. Without passengers, the bike manages to weigh a light 176 lbs.
On August 15th, the Zerotracer will join several other zero-emission electric bikes in the Zero Race, an 80-day romp through 22 countries. Whether it wins or not, the protective cabin with installed comfort creatures sound like its going to give the Oerlikon Racing Team (who will be manning the vehicle) an easier time than the rest of the pack.