It’s hard to say why the perception of “production electric motorcycles” boils down to Brammo and Zero in much of the press, blogs and forums, and I can’t figure out if it’s just the view from where I sit, or it’s something more profound, but it wasn’t until I started looking back in the deep dark past of 2007 that I starting wondering whatever became of Quantya. It doesn’t take much to realize that the bike kicked some serious ass, and was right on the bleeding edge of electric motorcycle development. Probably the best story from that era is here, on EVWorld.com, in the form of a 2007 interview with Modena, which ends with the cryptic remark, “He has had interest from North America, but told EV World that he is first going to focus his marketing and sales on Switzerland and then Europe.”
Once again, I head to Autoblog Green for this list of stories tagged “Quantya”. The first thing that jumps out is that QuantyaParx was, indeed, the baby of Max Modena, who started Quantya, and though it may have gone through some iterations before Brammo bought it and made BrammoParx, it was, in fact based on the Quantya bike concept of rentable, swappable-battery pack rec areas for bikes. (I forget now where I read it, but they were saying this had no relation to Quantya when the sale was made, and maybe, by that time it didn’t, but it always struck me as odd that there was no relation, yet there was that name.)
Up until as recently as 2010 Quantya was racing and winning against Zero but that’s the last year I can find them officially racing. The US site hasn’t been updated since 2011, with 2011 models… so, what gives?
Taking my cue from Modena’s cryptic remark, I took a look at the Swiss version of the site, and saw that they do, in fact, have 2013 models for sale, with 2013 specs. You have four models of the EV01 – the Strada, the Supermoto, the Track and the QuantyaParX.
…and yeah, they all look pretty similar. Take a look at the site to compare specs.
They also have the MMX, an adorable little junior motocrosser.
So, I guess we can conclude that, yes, they were certainly one of the first serious “production” bikes on the scene, serious contenders for a long time, and still very much current and viable. As long as you live in Europe. It makes you wonder… is the European electric dirt bike market so much stronger? They had, and seemingly have abandoned, their US presence, so it couldn’t have been a gold mine. (Update: the grapevine informs me that there was a split between the US distributor and the Swiss Homeworld. As the worm turns… ) So what does that say about companies who are starting in the US and trying to break in to the European market? It sounds to me like what my grandfather used to call “trying to beat someone up in their own back yard” a bit. The European market had one accelerant added – the strict regulations for motorsports venues – that the US didn’t.
Again, though, this is a very similar trajectory to Zero in the US, it would seem. Make bikes. Make them better every year, (Quantya started with a lead battery pack), stick to one market and one goal, and slowly expand as you can afford it, and as the market demands it.
Which leads me to BRD. Yep. A company that’s been talking for a couple of years now, promises the most highly evolved product… sometimes I really wonder what is so exciting about the BRD. Haven’t we seen this before? Look familiar? I think if I were BRD I’d be chillin’, trying to salt away investor dollars, and watching very closely to the guys who’ve been at it for since the beginning. Zero, yes, but mostly? Quantya. Now then. What about VRone?