Ural Electric Sidecar

We got chills, they’re multiplyin’. The new Ural prototype people have been buzzing about is officially public and, well, it’s electrifyin’! Here is Corey’s first take on an early-phase version of the electric Ural, powered by a Zero Motorcycles powertrain package, that we tested back in March.

A quick note: this isn’t going to be a geeked-out tech-centric post full of data and decimals. You can find the bike’s full specs here. We’re more about the vibe; the overall ‘feels’ you get when riding through the wind on a motorcycle. Of course, we’re in love with the big jump in horsepower from their internal combustion engines (60hp! Up from 41) and its 81ft-lbs of torque. After many hours spent in the saddle of gas-powered Urals, the feeling is immediately and noticeably different. You can feel it in your innards upon acceleration. Is the experience better? We’ll get there; read on.

Good Spark Garage - Wilkinson Brothers

Corey Wilkinson and Casey Wilkinson testing an early-phase version of the electric Ural.

Above: We shot a few simple ride-bys to give you an idea of how quiet and smooth this thing is.

The Things That Aren’t There

You hop on, turn the key and twist the throttle. Perhaps it’s the absence of things that make the experience enjoyably odd. No foot shifter, no clutch, no crowded shins, no chugging starter or engine rumble. In seconds, we were muttering, “holy sh–!” or “this is crazy!” followed by a triumphant laugh. Look down and there are no pontoon-like tailpipes either. Again, crazy. There’s still a “gas cap” though, which covers the charging port.

Ural Electric Sidecar Motorcycle

Studio and lifestyle photos by Ural Motorcycles

Stealthy. Powerful.

If it weren’t for the metallic orange finish, it’d feel like we were in stealth mode as we snuck up on “loud” petrol-powered compact cars. I suppose this is a similar experience with most electric vehicles, but it’s worth noting the relative silence when compared to hearing the 75+ years of Ural heritage emitting from two cylinders violently boxing each other. Casey sat in the sidecar, talking to me in a normal outside voice at the stoplights – no chugging engine to holler over. From a standstill, the electric power is instant, then it smoothly/quickly increases. Ural riders will shake their heads in disbelief, while smiling. Motorcycle riders unfamiliar with Urals will assume this is the way it’s supposed to be and focus only on how neat it is to be on a sidecar that happens to be quiet.

Ural Electric Sidecar Motorcycle

Answering the Big Question

But is this Ural’s whirring magic-carpet mode better than feeling the vibrations and tractor-like grunt of its well-liked fuel-burning predecessor? I can guarantee many will weigh in with their personal disdain…or elation. I’ll also speculate that most of the negativity will be from those who haven’t test-ridden the electric Ural – those surly Luddites! Here at Good Spark Garage (a name inspired by moto combustion), we absolutely loved the experience of riding this e-Ural. And we want one, like, right now. We wouldn’t say it’s better, it’s just different in an awesome way.

Ural Electric Sidecar Motorcycle

In the Ural HQ shop with CEO Ilya Khait (in sidecar) as Jason Rae, VP of Operations and Product Support, talks with Casey Wilkinson (right) of Good Spark Garage.

In Summary

We’re also enamored with the exhaust-chuffing charm of our Russian, 750cc, airhead engines in the three Urals we own (as brothers, we share and rotate custody). We also respect the company. After getting to know the small team at Ural, we have a good understanding of how big this endeavor was. It was a monumental stride made without the endless resources and deep pockets of global corporate brands. It was spearheaded by a CEO who had a careful desire to resuscitate a motorcycle on the verge of extinction less than two decades ago. Ilya Khait won’t abandon his lovable and vastly-improved gas-powered sidecar motorcycles and he’ll continue to listen to riders. We know him well enough to know this electric leap forward is a sign of his invested interest. One that will keep Ural’s heartbeat growing stronger (whether electric or fossil-fueled) and ensure new generations of quirky, cool and enthusiastic Ural riders.

What’s Next for the Electric Ural?

Here’s the answer, straight from Ural: “There are no immediate plans to manufacture an all-electric model at this time. The decision will ultimately be based on market research, consumer and industry experts’ feedback. We estimate it would take approximately 24 months to ramp up serial production upon final design approval. We accumulated a lot of data to be used in the next phase of the project.”

“Proof of concept was the main goal for this project. One of the main challenges was to find the optimal location for the batteries while maintaining passenger comfort, storage capacity and stability distinctive to Ural sidecars.” – Ural Motorcycles

 

Specifications

Now that we’ve got our high-level review shared above, here are some quick details (I know, I said there wouldn’t be lots of decimals). To dive deeper into the details, visit Ural’s web page on the this bike: https://www.imz-ural.com/electric

Power Train

  • Motor: Z-Force® 75-7 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, brushless motor
  • Max Output (hp): 60hp (45kW) @5,300rpm
  • Max Torque (ft-lbs): 81 ft-lbs (110 Nm)
  • Batteries as tested: ZF13.0 powerpack, ZF6.5 powerpack (combined peak power 19.5kWh)
  • Charging System: 1.3kW on-board charger from a standard 115V/15A breaker (estimated 13 hours to charge from empty to 95%)

Performance

  • Range as Tested: Up to 103 miles (165 km)
  • Recommended Max Cruising Speed: 65mph (105 kmh)
  • Maximum Speed as Tested: 88mph (140 kmh)

Other Numbers

  • Overall Length: 91.6 in (233 cm)
  • Ground Clearance: 9.2 in (23.4 cm)
  • Max Permissible Weight: 1325 lbs (600 kg)
  • Dry Weight: 822 lbs (373 kg)

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments or ask any questions about our short-lived experience on the electric Ural.

—–

The Wilkinson Brothers are longtime Ural riders, motorcyclists, and motorsports marketing professionals from the Indianapolis area.

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30 Responses to Electric Ural Sidecar Review

  1. Paul Bramley says:

    Would be very interested in purchasing an Electric Ural when they are available – I am in Australia and have ridden motorcycles all my life , over 48 years

  2. Charles Biegler says:

    I drive a 2017 Gear Up and really enjoy it. What do you think the price might be? High price would be a big deterrent for me and many others. Also charge time would have to be much faster.

    • Corey says:

      Hi, Charles. We enjoy our 2017 Gear Up as well! We don’t know where the price point will come in on the e-Ural. Since it’s so early, the factory is still gauging interest and demand, which will help determine potential production numbers and manufacturing approaches. As time goes by, advances in batteries and charging capabilities will surely improve exponentially! -Corey @ GSG

  3. Mark Jordan says:

    More power, that would be nice. I really like the video of the factory engineers riding across the river on a gear up. Water and electricity don’t mix. 100 miles is not very far. It will be a good commuter bike. Off road? If you really watch that gage. Tow trucks don’t pick you up where it’s fun to ride. Switch to wheel mounted motors and you can have all wheel drive. Extend the range is as easy as loosing weight. It will not look like an old Ural. 500 pounds of carbon fiber and fiberglass coupled with all new aerodynamics. A real 21st century Ural. What a loss, I really liked the 20th century and my over weight, under powered Patrol.

    • Vandenberghe says:

      Wheel mounted motros will increase the unsprung weight, something everbody tries to avoid. Also, the motors themselves would get more shocks and changing tyres would become more complicated.
      But AWD or at least 2WD would be nice!

  4. Wayne Waddington says:

    Brilliant. Hats off to your innovation. I follow Ural sidecars by email but will pay particular attention to developments in this arena. And I can tell you now that I know of riders who’ve been turned off by the 41 hp of the gas guzzler. You may turn heads that had previously lost interest.

    • James says:

      Gas guzzler. Ok.

      My 2018 Gear Up averages 42 mpg using 93 octane fuel. It’s a working rig (hack filled with groceries, bags of topsoil, etc.) that is ridden at 55 mph on A roads frequently. The fuel mileage is admirable, given the weight and aerodynamics of the sidecar outfit, coupled with the manner in which it is used.

      What else can you tell us?

  5. Michael says:

    I’m in. Too much fun to pass up.

  6. Ian Hill says:

    Yes, very interesting! But doesn’t go far on a charge, and then to wait 13hours to re charge.
    I do like it though, I ride a 1999 650cc dalesman, I love the fact that I can easily maintain the bike and enjoy doing that.
    Here in England we would need the chair on the other side. But good look with it
    Regards
    Ian Hill.

  7. Vandenberghe says:

    Put it on the market and I will immediately buy one, but preferably with a faster charger. It would already be better if it used the 230V in Europe!
    In 1984 I bought a Dnepr MT11, next in 1993 the MT16, changed to a 2012 Kawasaki W800 with Velorex. I also have a 2015 Zero DS and a 2018 electric Cezeta 506.
    So I am a fan of sidecars, retro-bikes, and electric power…
    Can’t wait to change my Kawa for that e-Ural!

  8. I own 3 urals… i m sure there s a market for the e-ural!! i m ussing mine for tours, having a silent sidecar is a dream come true!
    Go for it! be resonable on the price … and be part of the future…

  9. BigJames says:

    I want one.
    I want one now.
    Can’t have any more Retros.
    So I need something to charge my interest.

    • Corey says:

      I hear ya, James. Yes, this electric Ural sure had us smitten. To feel it pull from a dead stop with such strength was a welcome feeling. On the gas powered rigs, you have that delay and rpm loss between each gear shift (like most bikes)…this thing just goes and goes as if it isn’t concerned about the oddly shaped machine it’s powering.

      – Corey @ GSG

  10. Dan K. says:

    When the optional battery pack that allows a 250 mile range becomes available, I’d probably be game for one. Quicker charging via 220v would also be a plus.

    I’m curious to know if it is still using shaft drive. I couldn’t tell from any photos I’ve seen.

    Cheers to IMWA for planning for the future.

    • Corey says:

      Hi, Dan. Yeah, it all comes down to range and charging speed when determining how big of an audience this bike may draw. We do so much commuting and short trips that I’m sure it’d be the go-to Ural at our shop. Curious to see how much demand it creates (here’s to hoping it’s enough for Ural HQ to pull the trigger on a full production effort). Good question on the shaft drive; here’s a link to a screen grab from our ride (below). You can also see the switch that activated Reverse (on red panel).
      http://wilkinsonbrothers.com/wb/drive.png

      -Corey @ GSG

    • Vandenberghe says:

      In Porto (Portugal) there are several companies offering sidecar tours through the city and region. All use Ural, Dnepr or Chang Yiang as the outfit of choice. There are also electric Tuk-tuk rides available. For this purpose, an electric sidecar will be a big advantage! In other cities, such tours can be booked as well and, again, they choose Ural as their favourite.
      Is there a market? YES!

  11. Scott Whitcomb says:

    This is so cool. I have a 1957 M-72 and I love her immensely, but, oh baby I would give her up in a heart beat for this e-Ural. Geez, it would be great not to kick-start m girl, and I would use her as a local commuter. I’m getting a little old for cross country trips. Or I could have my younger than me wife toot me around.

  12. Brian Whelan says:

    I am interested although it at this stage of technology it would not be a touring bike, it would be 100% for what you would expect, us crazy guys that want something different to go into town on and talk about !! the cruise down the beach ect I would be looking at one of each 🙂

  13. clasqm says:

    I love retro motorcycles (Triumph T100 – the last aircooled model), and electric cars (BMW i3) and I have long thought that I’d like to try a sidecar. Suddenly all three come together in one package. If Ural builds this I will have to raid my pension fund to get one.

    But don’t worry, traditionalists, Ural will be making your WWII replicas for a long time to come.

  14. Kipper says:

    Vandenberghe says:

    November 10, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    In Porto (Portugal) there are several companies offering sidecar tours through the city and region. All use Ural, Dnepr or Chang Yiang as the outfit of choice. There are also electric Tuk-tuk rides available. For this purpose, an electric sidecar will be a big advantage! In other cities, such tours can be booked as well and, again, they choose Ural as their favourite.
    Is there a market? YES!

  15. T. Theodore says:

    I would buy one in a heartbeat. I commute 30 miles one way. I can plug in at work no problems. I work On a university campus, a great opportunity to show off the Ural

  16. Jayne Cobb says:

    Owned a 2003 Patrol and very quickly moved up to a BMW R100/7 with a Ural sidecar. I did so because of the Ural’s underpowering engine. That said I’d probably buy one of these IF there was a Ural dealer in NM.

  17. Ninefeet says:

    J’en veux une!

  18. Saul says:

    Will be buying this one. Hopefully, it’s released in the very near future… like next month.

    • BigJames says:

      we all wish, but this bike is a few years down the road. it’s a one off, proof of concept prototype. Not ready for prime time, but Ural is letting some folks try it out. That speaks volumes of how Zero and Ural feel about it. Over 600 folks on waiting list as of yesterday. Don’t ask how I know, not telling..but same source Corey has…

  19. Glen Douglas says:

    Living in Australia the limited cruising speed and no two wheel drive for RHD limit Urals appeal. The next step will be to fit an electric motor directly to the sidecar wheel than this would be an exciting machine also making it easy to build for righthand drive. As battery performance improves the range will follow and become acceptable. Having a cruising speed of 105 kph makes it great for Australia where trucks are limited to 100 kph. Common Ural press the develop button. Range could be easily improved by carrying a small generator.

  20. Mike Robinson says:

    I would encourage URAL to build this model.

    Most of my riding would be handled within the charge range, and I suspect with the increase in electric car purchases there will be more and more charging stations, and battery technology will improve range.

    I would keep my 2010 Patrol T as I like the smell and noise and maintenance, but it makes sense to have a electric vehicle in the fleet. Where in the garage it will go is another matter, but by the time this gets into production…

  21. paul says:

    I own 2 Urals , a 2016 CT and a 2006 GU . I have mixed feelings about the electric model , but mostly positive for sure . I’d consider one I think. To be completely honest, I feel like it has the capability to be much more reliable mechanically compared to the two I ride currently. Considering its low range, I would use it as my daily around town . Living in Alaska though , I wonder how it does in cold weather ?

  22. Dave says:

    Yes Yes YES! I would buy one today if they were available. I own a 2015 Gear Up and after 30,000 KL it needed a major engine rebuild (2.5 months of the road). I would think the e-Ural would be more reliable.
    My bike is my only transportation and I’m a handy man so any down time is lost business. I’m known for going places other vehicles fear to tread hauling major amounts of gear through all types of weather … so yes more reliability and more HP would really be appreciated.

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