A year and a half ago German startup NOVUS unveiled the first prototype of their new carbon fiber electric motorcycle. The design has since been updated into a more robust bike, yet the sky-high price has remained just as lofty.
I’m not going to bury the lede here.
The NOVUS electric motorcycle is priced at €39,900 without VAT or €46,284 with VAT.
That’s US$47,000 or US$54,500, for whoever that helps.
Alright, so what are you getting for that much money?
Well, we’re actually talking about a pretty stunning and absolutely unique electric motorcycle, if you can afford it.
The NOVUS’s frame, fork, and swingarm are entirely built from hand-laid carbon fiber, and the 18-inch tires ride on carbon fiber rims as well. The entire frame weighs just 7kg (15.4 lb).
That extremely lightweight construction is thanks to the designers’ goal of melding bicycle and motorcycle design. Or as the NOVUS team explained in a statement provided to Electrek:
“Our design approach was to combine the advantages of the bicycle world with those of the motorcycle world. The lightness and agility of a pedelec combined with the performance and sovereignty of a motorcycle. We saw a gap here that we wanted to close with NOVUS.”
Powering the NOVUS electric motorcycle is a direct drive rear hub motor with a peak output of 18 kW (24 hp). That’s nearly a 30% bump in power compared to the previous NOVUS prototype we saw in early 2019.
The company claims the motor can propel the bike to a top speed of 120 km/h (74.5 mph) and that the bike can achieve a 0-50 km/h (0-31 mph) time of 3 seconds.
The motor has the option for both active and passive regenerative braking. The former engages regenerative braking when the left (rear) brake lever is pulled, while the latter engages it when the throttle is released, similar to “one-pedal driving.”
The 4.3 kWh battery is permanently installed in the lower portion of the central frame, lowering the bike’s center of gravity. At 19 kg (41.9 lb), the battery makes up just over a quarter of the bike’s total weight of 75 kg (165 lb).
Charging from 0-80% is claimed to take just 30 minutes, and the NOVUS is rated for a maximum range of 100 km (62 miles) at city speeds.
Suspension is achieved with a monofork in the front offering 90 mm of travel and a rear 110 mm travel suspended swingarm. The rear suspension is entirely hidden from view and encased within the frame.
A large LED display serves as the bike’s main display, but a smartphone can also be placed above the display, allowing the rider to see vehicle information on their smartphone via the NOVUS app. The app is also used for changing settings on the bike and enabling various features. There is no physical key, and instead the bike is unlocked either via the app or an NFC chip.
NOVUS will be hand-building their electric motorcycles starting in 2022. If you have the time and the money to wait for one, you can already put a pre-order down now with a €1,000 deposit.
Alright, so here’s the thing. Yea, it’s crazy expensive. And no, I’m not going to buy one. And not because I don’t already spend my money on other e-motorcycle startups that I cover. But because I’m not really in the demographic that NOVUS is marketing to here.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a really cool and innovative electric motorcycle. I absolutely appreciate the design and attention to detail that went into shaving the weight down on this bike with nearly everything made from carbon fiber. And the open monocoque design is a really cool way to merge bicycle design with light motorcycle power and performance. Even if you’re going to hate on the price, you’ve got to admire the design effort that went into this.
While I generally like to see removable batteries on light electric motorcycles of this size, the capacity of the battery means that this is on the edge of impossible. A 4.3 kWh battery would be a pretty hefty battery to carry around. My NIU NGT electric scooter has a pair of 2.1 kWh batteries, meaning it has nearly the same total capacity, but divided into two slightly more manageable battery packs.
Ultimately, the price is high, but for anyone that has the kind of disposable income that makes this kind of thing an impulse purchase, I think you’ll probably get a really cool motorcycle. Of course no one is going to buy the NOVUS because it’s the most sensible or value-oriented option. They’ll buy it because it is different.
And boy, is it different.
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