First affordable electric motorcycle capable of driving on the highway

I’m a big proponent of electric motorcycles, which offer all the thrill of gas-powered bikes, but without the emissions, maintenance, or headaches typically associated with ownership. The only problem is that they are traditionally much more expensive than gas-powered bikes. Or at least they were, until the Kollter ES1 came to North America.

As much as I love riding flagship Zeros and electric Harleys, they’re expensive bikes at around $20,000 or more (though to be fair, Zero has other models closer to $11,000-$12,000) .

On the other end of the spectrum, I had a blast on the CSC City Slicker for under $3,000. But as the name suggests, it is limited to the city. The 45 mph top speed makes quick work of urban jungles, but is totally inadequate for highway use.

But with speeds over 70 mph, the Kollter ES1 can drag on the highway, although it may be limited to the right lane depending on the scenario.

And with a starting price of around $6,000 in the US, it’s reasonably priced between high-end electric motorcycles and cheaper city options.

Check out my video review of the Kollter ES1 Pro below, then read on for my full thoughts!

Kollter ES1 Electric Motorcycle Video Review

Kollter ES1 Quick Specs

  • Engine: State-of-the-art 11 kW (15 hp) single-stage mid-reduction motor, belt drive
  • Top speed: 115 km/h (72 mph)
  • City range: 136 km (80 mi) with two batteries
  • Motorway range: 90 km (56 mi) with two batteries
  • Battery: Single or double 72V 32Ah packs for 2.3 kWh or 4.6 kWh
  • Typical charging cost: $0.26 to $0.52 (single or dual battery)
  • Loading time: 4.5 hours with 15A fast charger

(Keep in mind these are the specs of the US version I rode. Canadian and/or European versions may differ.)

Modest power, lots of fun

The Kollter ES1 is a fun bike, but not too sporty.

I found I could still beat cars off the line when the light turns green, which is my benchmark for “does this have enough power?”

It’s certainly not a Zero with 82kW of power to hand, but it’s more than enough for commuter use and an absolute delight every time you twist your wrist. The 11 kW motor combined with a fairly quiet belt transmission make the bike responsive and pleasant to ride.

As fun as it sounds, I borrowed the bike and only spent a few hours on it entirely in an urban setting with roads reaching 80 km/h. This meant that even pushing my luck I didn’t get the bike much past the 60’s. It had more to give but with the level of police presence I really didn’t fancy having a speeding ticket on a bike I was borrowing.

So when Kollter says it will hit 72 mph, I’ll have to take their word for it. But I can tell you he gets into his low 60s without protest and he wants to keep going, that’s for sure.

I may have done some city driving, but that was South Florida city driving, which is a lot of those 50 mph three-lane roads. Based on my usage, I was getting an extrapolated range of around 65 miles. I was also on the dual battery model, mind you. With a single battery, I’d expect about half that range.

The single-battery model starts at $5,995, and the second battery is $900 more.

Both are removable, although they are large batteries. Think of it as your farmer’s carry workout for the day, as each weighs just under 30 pounds. If you have a garage you will probably never need to remove them since you can load them onto the bike. But if you live in an apartment without street-level charging infrastructure, removable batteries make this whole ordeal possible.

And by “charging infrastructure” I mean a typical 110V wall outlet. Batteries charge from a conventional wall outlet, just like your cell phone or laptop. There’s no Level 2 charging here, so don’t expect to use that fancy EVSE charging station on the street.

Another cool thing is that there are actually Kollter dealers in almost every corner of the country. I borrowed one from NatiCycle in the northeast for my testing, but there is also a California dealer and a Florida dealer. There’s even a Canadian retailer too! Again, it can’t compete with Zero or Harley-Davidson, which have dealerships everywhere (especially in the latter’s case). But it’s always nice to know that you can be a few hundred miles away from a bike to test.

To me, the Kollter looks like the exact bike the market has been missing—something to fill the gap between the high-powered but high-priced Zeros and the cute little electric city bikes. It has the power and speed to hook up with medium-sized dogs, and it has the fun of a “real” bike, not a mini-motorbike.

There are even passenger foot pegs so you can take your partner on a ride. Talk about utility! Do you know what that is right there? Mild confirmation bias telling you that it’s basically as good as a family car, and your significant other will definitely agree with you when he or she sees how useful the bike is around town!

Alright, so maybe it’s not the best family car. But for someone like me with a wife, a dog, and no responsibilities, this is the ultimate race for me. And given that it costs a third of the price of the flagship electric motorcycles available today, it also seems like a much more sensible splurge on a fun electric motorcycle, even if it doesn’t become a daily commuter bike and instead transforms into a fun weekend toy.

As long as bikes like the SONDORS Metacycle, NIU RQi and Sur Ron Storm Bee continue to take their time getting to the US, long live the Kollter ES1 as the only affordable option for those of us looking for speeds of highway electric motorcycle on a budget!

Oh, and for anyone who likes to get dirty, there’s an enduro package available to swap out larger wheels with knobby tires and a chain kit!

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