Kymco is probably best known for its scooters, most gas-powered but more recently running on an electric powertrain. Now the Taiwan company is breaking into the emerging electric motorcycle market with the impressive SuperNEX electric supersport.
Kymco says that the lack of gear shifting in electric motorcycles and the absence of the "sustaining thrill of acceleration to the top-end after the initial rush" can make them seem at best utility-oriented, and even toy-like. So a 6-speed transmission with clutchless upshift/downshift has been included in the supersport launched at EICMA 2018, along with a slipper clutch to help smooth out downshifts.
"Unfortunately, the gears disappear in many electric motorcycles, and the sense of achievement so enjoyed by sportbike riders is lost as well," said Kymco's Chairman Allen Ko. "We want to bring back the art of motorcycle riding."
"Most electric motorcycles today fall short of what the sportbike riders demand from a supersport bike," Ko continued. "The inherent characteristic of the electric motor has a power curve that reaches maximum horsepower at midrange and then declines thereafter. As a result, on a single gear electric motorcycle, once it reaches a certain speed the surge of acceleration starts to fade noticeably. Moreover, this lack of power is most often felt at high-speed riding, which supersport riders enjoy the most."
The SuperNEX's transmission has been designed to allow riders to "make use of the most optimal power band of the motor to extract the full potential of the vehicle." That that translates to a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.9 seconds, going from zero to 200 km/h in 7.5 seconds, and 0 - 250 km/h in 10.9 seconds. Impressive stuff.
Kymco has also introduced a performance management system dubbed Full Engagement Performance (FEP) that helps keep the front wheel on the tarmac during hard acceleration and the rear wheel down when braking hard. The FEP system will provide maximum traction when riding on uneven or wet surfaces too, and can be adjusted by the rider for personal preference.
Those who cringe at the whine of an electric motor can look forward to a bit more character from SuperNEX rides thanks to something Kymco is calling the Active Acoustic Motor, which generates multi-frequency acoustics and can be fine-tuned by the rider to personal taste. And riders can also select one of four SuperNEX "personalities" to change the character of the electric supersport – allowing for quiet cruising in quiet neighborhoods or rip-roaring performance out on the open road.
Production schedules and pricing have not been not revealed as yet, and we'll have to wait for more detailed specs (including battery information and range).
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