Performance damn near unlimited: 400-Nm Essence e-Raw redefines two-wheeled lunacy
This electric monster managed to sneak by under our radar, but it deserves some serious attention. Coming out of Lyons, France, Essence Motorcycles is making a massively powerful, long-range e-streetfighter with eye-popping looks and performance so extreme it's actually hard to imagine.
Essence recently picked up an "Efficient Solution" award from the Solar Impulse foundation, but it's the bikes themselves that got our drool glands pumping.
The E-Raw series takes a simple, attractive trellis-framed e-streetfighter platform and finishes it with a variety of raw, unfinished surfaces like wood, and in the Signature bike, brushed aluminum. The result is a tough-looking streetbike with an impossible flying seat joining to a curvaceous false tank that hangs in the air, suspended from a point near the steering head.
The powertrain means some very businesslike business indeed. There are two versions, one making a perfectly reasonable and very quick 80 kW (109 hp) and a brutal 210 Nm (155 lb-ft) of torque. But we'll leave this one aside, because the other one is flatly mental. The "Version Survoltee" – or "overexcited version" – earns its name with a monster 150-kW (205-hp) motor smashing out a horrifying 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque. This is peak power, not continuous, so you'll only be able to hold full throttle for around 30 seconds, but honestly, merely finding full throttle at all will be a herculean achievement on this bike.
We don't want to get too carried away here, but we think there's a very good chance this thing might wheelie. Essence claims 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in the range of 2.8 seconds, and it's geared for a road-friendly top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). So you're looking at something roughly as powerful as the mighty Lightning LS-218 was when we first rode it, with a casual two and a half times the torque, and geared way down to unleash its full potential at road speeds.
The weight is kept down to a very reasonable 194 kg (428 lb) – right in the ballpark for a fueled-up naked literbike – and you can pony up extra for some carbon bits and pieces that'll drop that to 187 kg (412 lb). So, power-to-weight on this thing is top-end superbike level, and torque-to-weight is more or less unheard of.
In the name of keeping things raw and essential and "reactivating our senses," the company has elected not to let electronics stand between the e-Raw's throttle and your imminent doom. The Essential team removed any sensors it deemed unnecessary for a visceral riding experience, and we assume this means there'll be no traction control, wheelie control or other hand-holding offered by the machine. Given how easily a Zero SR can catch out even the most experienced riders with a little over a third of the e-Raw's power, we suggest extreme caution if you don't want to "reactivate your senses" into the nearest emergency room.
The highest battery pack spec will give you an impressive 20 kWh, offering a range around 220 km (135 mi), with other, smaller packs also available. Prices will start at a predictably nasty €29,000 (US$32,750) and doubtless climb substantially before you reach the level of specification we've detailed here.
We don't care. It's beautiful to look at, inventively designed and it offers the kind of performance that will make the most hardened lunatic beg for mercy. Riding it would be an electric test of courage and skill on a level that's hard to find outside the drag strip. I'm profoundly smitten, and hope one day they'll make a version with a seat big enough for my Venti backside.