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E-Tracer is for those who like a challenge

Balanced on two wheels, the vehicle is similar to a motorcycle, but it's fully enclosed in a Kevlar fiberglass shell. Learning to drive it is no easy feat.

November 13, 2010|By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times

"Just as an added value, we got this amazing mileage, but we were never targeting mileage. We were always targeting raw speed," said Riedener, who says he will attempt to break the land-speed record for an electric, fully enclosed, production motorcycle with the E-Tracer next year.

Electric vehicles make maximum torque the instant the drivetrain is activated. The E-Tracer has double the torque of the BMW K1200, which is one of the most powerful motorcycle engines made by BMW.

Stepping into the cockpit to ride solo, I closed the door and strapped in. Making sure the drive switch was in the forward position, I rolled on the throttle gaining speed, toggled the outriggers up — and promptly fell over, damaging my training wheels in the process. The bolt wasn't adequate to hold the training wheels in place, and there wasn't another one available, so my test was cut pitifully short.

Learning to drive the E-Tracer is no easy feat. According to Riedener, it can take 10 minutes, two hours or two days. Even the former Maserati test driver who now works for AC Propulsion dumped it on the first attempt. In the short time I was given the E-Tracer, I wasn't able to master it. I managed to get it going, but only for a moment. It will take awhile before I can control and drive it properly. But I will.

Incredible fuel economy, speed, maneuverability, comfort. The E-Tracer has many perks. It just takes a hefty checkbook, nerves of steel and the balance of a Chinese acrobat to tap into it.

susan.carpenter@latimes.com

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