May 29, 2024 - News

Cleveland EV startup is redefining the motorcycle

Photo of two riders on emotorcycles with Cleveland skyline in the background

Cleveland's Land Energy emotos are turning heads. Photo: LAND Energy

In an unassuming warehouse on West 65th Street, just north of Il Rione, a small staff of local industrial design wizards and motorcycle enthusiasts is crafting the next generation of electric vehicles.

Why it matters: Land Energy may be the coolest Cleveland manufacturer you've never heard of.

  • The staff of 22 — most of whom are natives of Northeast Ohio — designs and builds electric motorcycles and EV batteries under one roof.

Flashback: Land launched March 20, 2020, just as the world was shutting down.

  • The COVID era gave the company's founders extended time for research and development to craft a customizable electric motorcycle that's turning heads among a diverse base of consumers.

By the numbers: Land is now building roughly 30 motorcycles per month for customers throughout the country, with a growing backlog of orders.

  • "It's a good problem to have," co-founder and CEO Scott Colosimo tells Axios.

What they're saying: Colosimo, who previously founded the gas motorcycle company Cleveland CycleWerks, says Land is a clapback at globalized manufacturing.

  • "There was kind of an awakening at how fragile the global ecosystem is," he says, "how we were relying on everyone else to make stuff."

Between the lines: Co-founder and head of design Evan Painter says Cleveland and the Midwest's manufacturing legacy gives Land a leg up on its coastal competitors.

  • "We can go down the street and visit our steel manufacturer," he says. "Our plastic manufacturer is less than an hour away."

The other side: Colosimo says there's a set of hardcore, old-school bikers who look at Land and their electric products as the "woke agenda" from "tofu-eating soy-boy idiots."

Reality check: Land's emotos can go more than 70 mph with a range of up to 120 miles.

  • "These aren't fake, little lookie-loo bikes," he says. "These things perform. And when a tool is this good, you can't ignore it."
Picture of e motorcycle with sea foam green trim
The District Street eMoto from Land. Photo: LAND Energy

💭 My thought bubble: I took a tour of the Land facility last week and got to test drive one of the brand's two main offerings: the District Street model.

How it works: Land's motorcycles have four modes with progressively higher max speeds and capabilities.

Be smart: Riders must have a motorcycle license to ride in Modes 3 and 4.

  • Painter says he often commutes to work from his Ohio City apartment along the Shoreway bike path in Mode 1 — savoring city views with a coffee in hand.

What happened: I thought I'd stay in Mode 1, which maxes out at about 22 mph, for my test drive in Battery Park, but I was so hooked that I shifted up.

  • Riding is intuitive, with a throttle more reminiscent of an electric scooter than a Harley Davidson, but with addictive power, handling and suspension.

The District platform (both the Street and off-road Scrambler models) have a base price of $6,995, with typical add-ons that can take it up to about $10,000.

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