KTM Freeride Electro-Drive… Q&A

KTM Electric Drive

The development of an offroad sports motorcycle is an extreme task. A competitive bike must be small and light so that it remains agile. It must be able to endure extreme jumps and the hardest of landings as well as showing resistance to impacts, stones and even rubble.

It must be able to be ridden through puddles, mud holes, rivers or streams and survive crashes which are an every day occurrence for a sports Enduro. And naturally, after the hardest of offroad days, the bike must be able to withstand being cleaned by a high-pressure washing device.

Even for a conventionally driven motorcycle this is already an enormous challenge for the developer. For the developer of an electrically driven vehicle, it initially seems to be an unsolvable task. These requirements are so far removed from what is possible, feasible or conceivable according to what currently exists in the development of electrically driven vehicles.

Nevertheless, the KTM Development Team rose to the challenge. The established research company "Arsenal Research", now operating as AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology) was called in as "reinforcement". As well as its existing competence in the area of the development of electronic/electric motors and components, this Vienna-based institute company was openly enthusiastic about motorcycle sports, forming the ideal basis for a development partner.

Since the presentation of the first rideable prototype in October 2008, the core troop from KTM in Mattighofen, Austria has taken over the development of a series ready bike. They also cooperate with development and supplier specialists from various companies from all over the world. 

When will the first KTM electro-motorcycle be available for sale?

KTM: KTM will begin with the transition of this project into the pre-series phase in the summer of 2010. A comprehensive test program will be carried out at the same time. According to current planning, the delivery of the first "Freeride" offroad series production model will follow in late spring of 2011 for Europe.

What will the KTM "Freeride" motorcycle cost?

KTM: The price has not yet been finalized; however, the aim is to stay under € 10,000 and to settle on a price comparable to a conventional, high-quality, sport Enduro.

Will there be other variants or models?

KTM: The topic "electro-driven" certainly offers more areas of application than classic offroad sport. In the first phase, it will only involve the Enduro because here KTM wants to gather experience and push the sport. Following the enduro, there are numerous possible applications and scope for variants.

Is the KTM Freeride homologated for street riding?

KTM: In Europe, the machine will be homologated for use on the open road.

How long will the battery last under normal operation?

KTM: In principle it must be said that in the area of e-motors reach is largely dependant on the profile of the user. The range is significantly less with a motocross professional at the handlebars than with a hobby enduro rider. The development goal is to be equitable with the requirements in the area of Enduro. In other words, with mixed offroad riding, approximately one hour should be possible.

How long does it take to recharge the battery?

KTM: The battery can be used at 100% performance after 90 minutes on the charger. It is possible to recharge the battery while still installed in the bike, but it can also be simply and quickly removed and replaced with another.

How many times is it possible to recharge the battery?

KTM: The final specification of the battery has not been determined. The one that is presently being tested allows approximately 500 recharges, which is the equivalent of the normal life cycle of an Enduro motorcycle. Generally, it must be said that the development of batteries in this sector is still in the first stage and significant advances in development are expected in the coming years.

Does the "Freeride" mark the end of the classic Enduro with a combustion motor?

KTM: Absolutely not. From KTM’s point of view the new drive technology represents a big chance to open up a third stream of application in the area of motorcycles. Highly developed four-stroke motors will continue to be used in the future, just as with two-stroke motors. Above all, motorcycles with an electro-motor will contribute to bringing the sport into the urban areas and at the same time speak to an entirely new target group.

For those who don’t know… please tell us more about KTM Sportmotorcycle AG?

KTM: The KTM Sportmotorcycle AG is a leading international manufacturer of motorsports vehicles. KTM has already won more than 160 world championship titles and has won the Dakar Rally nine times.

The operational core business, the KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG, develops and produces race-ready offroad and street motorcycles. The KTM-Sportcar GmbH is the company for the light-weight sports car, the X-BOW, with which KTM has taken the first step into the automobile area.

With it’s around 1,400 employees, the company group had a turnover in 2008/09 of approximately € 455 million. Some 17 sales subsidiaries and five joint ventures deliver KTM products to around 1,400 independent dealers all over the world.