Lightning ramp up electric bike assembly line

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Just as the electric bike market is heating up with more manufacturers and increasing sales, US firm Lightning have entered the next stage of mass production with their LS-218 sportsbike.

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While they officially delivered their first customer bike in 2014, they have been quiet in recent years but new images of bikes working their way down the production line show Lightning are serious.

History of Lightning motorbikes

Lightning first stormed onto the scene in 2010 when a prototype set an electric bike speed record of 173mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Two years later that record was raised to 215mph and they later set the outright record for a production motorcycle at 218mph (hence the bike’s name).

A year later Lightning took the outright record at Pikes Peak, 22 seconds ahead of Ducati. The LS-218 is not all about speed, though, its standard 12kwh battery has a claimed range of 100-120 miles, while an uprated 20kwh unit bumps that up to 180 miles, with a fast charge time of just 30 minutes.

Lightning LS-218 front and back

Too hot to handle

If you’re unfamiliar with the LS-218, it’s designed as a trackday machine with the top spec kit to match. RaceTech forks with Öhlins NIX30 internals, TTX36 rear shock, Brembo monoblocs, forged aluminium rims, machined billet swingarm... it’s an electric Panigale with a price to match.

Lightning LS-218 stats

380V direct drive motor
197bhp/168ftlb
100-mile range
224kg
£30,000

And the news of Lightning’s production being ramped up makes it an exciting time for electric bikes. Depending on your wants (and wallet) you will soon be able to order an array of bikes off the production lines from Arc, to a Curtiss, an Energica, a Harley-Davidson or a Zero, never mind all the other smaller operations. It’s almost enough to make you tingle with excitement.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.