With the news that SONDORS is preparing to release its $5,000 electrically powered Metacycle, more information is emerging about its battery. With a claimed range of 80 miles per charge and a top speed of 80 MPH, the battery plays a significant role in the bike’s performance and ultimate acceptance.
According to Electrek, SONDORS says:
SONDORS Metacycle features a removable battery unlike anything seen before. Our upgraded, proprietary battery features unparalleled innovation, spectacular design, and next-level ingenuity. Just unlock – slide – and recharge anywhere.
With such a claim, you have to ask what’s so special about the battery and how it will work. Well, there are now a few images of the battery, and we can get some insights into its makeup. The pictures reveal the battery’s electrical connections and built-in carry handle.
The pictures show a battery with quick release, single pin, high-current connectors. They also show orange and black cables that apparently connect to positive and negative DC battery connections. It’s an interesting setup, but the process of how the cables will connect to the connectors is not clear. And Electrek questions how the cables will be connected and disconnected since they believe that these types of connectors would typically need to be manually disengaged.
Easy removal and installation?
But SONDORS describes the battery removal process as “Unlock – slide – and recharge anywhere.” This wording would seem to indicate that the battery will connect and disconnect without any manual attachment or removal of its electrical connections.
Making things even more interesting is a SONDORS video that shows the removal process of the battery by a rider. In the brief video, the rider releases a lock at the front of the machine and quickly slides the battery out sideways using the built-in handle.
So at least in the video demonstration removing the battery, it seems that there will be no need to disconnect any power cables. If SONDORS is true to its word, the same will hold true for replacing it. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to see anything showing the battery’s insertion. According to Electrek, with the bike’s battery peak power of 14,500 watts, a manual connection of the cables would provide a more robust connection.
While it’s apparently easy to remove the battery, there’s also the question of lugging the thing around to charge it. The built-in handle is a nice touch, but if you watch the video carefully, you can see that it has some substantial heft to it.
While the rider tries to walk smoothly away from the bike, it’s clear that the battery is not light. Still, considering the battery’s 4,000 Wh rating, you can readily assume that it will be a somewhat heavy affair using today’s technology.
Electrek says that they have heard various weights quoted ranging from 45 to 54 pounds (20.5 to 24.5 kg). And in an interview with Electrek, SONDORS’ Product Director Matt Irish confirmed the battery’s 54-pound weight. But Electrek also says that they are now hearing slightly lower-weight figures being tossed around. So they think that there is a potential for a slight weight loss due to a more refined battery.
SONDORS’ website is taking reservations for an estimated Q1, 2022 delivery. That means that to meet their latest delivery schedule, the Metacycle will have to be in near-ready production status. If they meet their estimated schedule and begin deliveries in early 2022, the Metacycle will become the first “low cost” highway-capable electric motorcycle available in North America.
While there are already other light electric motorcycles on the market, none reach SONDORS’ claimed 80 MPH top speed, particularly at its pricepoint. It’s that top speed will allow the Metacycle to compete against low-displacement internal combustion-powered bikes.
But there’s still a lot to learn about the SONDORS Metacycle. Whether it can reach its claimed range and top speed figures will be pivotal to its success. For commuting work, the SONDORS Metacycle could be the key to toughening emissions regulations, particularly in urban areas.
What do you think?
So what do you think about the Metacycle now? Does the battery’s weight of 54 pounds put you off? Or do you think it’s not a big deal?
Considering that the Metacycle now comes with a 15A/1.2kW hour charger as part of the bike’s price, perhaps weight isn’t that big an issue if you have a secure place to charge the bike.
The Metacycle has caught my attention. If it can meet or exceed its claims, I’d seriously consider one for local commutes. What about you? Tell us what you think in the comments below.