Old-school Ural Motorcycles rolls out new-school electric sidecar prototype
We're not quite sure what's going on over at Ural Motorcycles lately. After nigh on 70 years making the same basic, soft-road capable sidecar outfits, the company has recently done a Star Wars tribute, a mobile drone station, and now, of all things, an electric sidecar prototype.
The all-electric prototype basically takes the regular one-wheel drive Ural cT chassis and builds in the powertrain from the Zero S/DS platform – a 60-hp (45-kW), 81 lb-ft (110 Nm) motor, with a ZF13.0 main battery pack and a ZF6.5 powerpack combining for a total of 19.5 kWh of onboard energy storage.
Mind you, despite that wonderful motor and familiar electronic dash, the Ural is not a Zero bike. It's necessarily much heavier, at 822 lb (373 kg). It's got an extra wheel's worth of rolling resistance, and a broader aerodynamic drag profile to boot. So while the Zero S gets up to an impressive 223 miles (359 km) out of 18 kWh at slow city riding speeds, the Ural prototype is only squeezing 103-odd miles (165 km) out of 19.5 kWh, and its top speed maxes out at 88 mph (140 km/h).
Granted, that Zero range is probably closer to 120-150 miles (190-240 km) if you're not riding it like a grandma, but it does go to show how much efficiency you lose by adding a sidecar. Of course, you're also adding a bunch more storage space that could easily be used to fit more battery capacity if batteries weren't so damned expensive.
Engineered by California's IGC and built with assistance from the Zero team, this prototype is just a proof of concept, and Ural says it has no immediate plans to produce the bike. If it got the impression that it'd sell, however, it estimates that getting it into production and on the road would take around two years, using whatever whizz-bang battery technology happens to pop up in the interim.
So it's just a curiosity for the time being, but the kind of curiosity we'd like to see more of. Ural's taking it to the Progressive Motorcycle Show in Long Beach this weekend for demo rides.
You can take a look at the bike in the video below.