After a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lightning Motorcycles has resurfaced in recent months. In February, 2022, the California-based firm announced a partnership with Brazilian niobium specialists CBMM, and disclosed its fully-enclosed prototype, the Streetliner, in May.
Now it looks like Lightning has been juggling numerous projects in the background during that same period. Documents from the China National Intellectual Property Administration show that Lightning submitted design patents for a potential new electric adventure bike on February 11, 2022. Considering the company’s China-based factory, the move not only makes sense but also hints at Lightning’s possible production plans.
The files list Lightning Founder and CEO Richard Hatfield as the sole designer. Since the patents focus on the vehicle’s design, it doesn’t divulge critical technical specifications such as the ADV’s powertrain, range, or equipment. However, we can deduce a few takeaways from the picture alone.
Gallery: Lighting Motorcycle Electric Adventure Bike Patents
The drawings depict an electric motorcycle styled in the traditional ADV vein with a high-mounted, beak-ish front mudguard, upright ergonomics, and a touring-friendly windscreen. The knobby tires and wire-spoke wheels arm the Lightning for off-road duty, but the documents don’t confirm whether the adventure bike could feature a 19-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) wheelset combo or a 21-inch and 18-inch variation.
The electric motorcycle market has been light on adventure models up to this point. Facing tough terrain and a lack of electric infrastructure on the trail, electric ADVs just haven’t been feasible with past technologies. That’s all changing with the arrival of Energica’s Experia and OX’s Patagonia. Many are anticipating Zero Motorcycles to reveal an adventurer in 2023, so the segment could continue to expand in coming years.
That’s encouraging for Lightning as the brand works to regain its footing post-COVID. An electric adventure bike could certainly improve Lightning’s appeal in today’s ADV-heavy market. On the other hand, we should keep things in perspective and acknowledge the fact that production rollouts haven’t been Lightning’s strong suit up to this point. Maybe an electric adventurer could help them turn that around in the future.