Small-batch American motorcycle shop Curtiss is moving into the future with high-end electric vehicles and it’s a good look. This Zeus motor design co-developed with YASA puts eight cylindrical batteries in a “V” formation to look kind of like a gas engine, but, not. It’s a retro-futuristic thing of beauty.
The Zeus Radial V8 will be one of the most expensive motorcycles you can buy with a $75,000 list price, and isn’t actually on the market yet–the company’s press release promises production will begin in 2020.
Since most of us won’t be buying one anyway it’s certainly not too early to appreciate the vehicle’s unique design, though.
Designer Jordan Cornille laid the Zeus’ batteries out in this pattern for style, obviously, but also claimed the setup helped “achieve maximum battery cooling efficiency” in the release. It might not be the most aerodynamically optimal setup, but it does look like flowing air could get across all those battery cells pretty easily.
YASA, an engineering outfit in England which makes all kinds of things for electric powertrains, is credited as having “co-developed” the motor with Curtiss’ people. The technology itself seems fairly standard modern-day EV tech, but the batteries cool arrangement makes this powerplant quite striking.
And I mean, of course it was made to look good. The design of the motor, and the whole bike itself, is actually a bit of a callback to a machine ridden by engineer Glenn Curtiss over a century ago–a V8 motorcycle that he was able to hit 136 mph on in 1907.
The bike’s also named after Curtiss, as you probably guessed.
Curtiss was a pretty interesting guy, it turns out, and has a whole museum dedicated to him in his hometown of Hammondsport, New York. He’s even called “the father of naval aviation” and was building airplanes when, well, there weren’t really any airplanes. But that might be a blog for another day.
Suffice it to say, flashforward to today and it seems fitting that his name would be on a piece of new and interesting technology like this electric motorcycle.
As for specs, Curtiss has released a big batch of technical drawings you can sink your teeth into but the basics are that this YASA P400 R Series electric V8 claims a peak output of 217 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque; the battery capacity is stated as 16.8 kWh at 399V.
For those who haven’t ridden, any motorcycle with more than 200 HP pretty much falls into the category of “terrifast” so I’m guessing the Zeus here will pretty much be able to scare the skin off anybody brave enough to twist the throttle all the way open. Or, “on,” I should say.