KTM Freeride E-XC: the electric off-road motorcycle aimed at cornering the market


There was a moment during KTM’s presentation of its ambitious, second-generation Freeride E-XC electric off-road motorcycle that was eerily odd. The sound of the future was in fact almost the sound of nothing at all. The shimmering and busy interior of the Hangar 7 facility at Salzburg airport – a Red Bull shrine chock-full of vehicles, racing relics, an F1 car here, motocross and Dakar bikes there, stunt planes regally looking out towards the runway – felt cavernous as Extreme Enduro legend Taddy Blazusiak purred and whined his way down a ramp on the E-XC, through the mass of journalists and KTM guests and up on to the stage; it could be the most delicate, polite and understated introduction of a motorcycle ever.

The Pole parked the lithe, quiet, almost courteous, model next to several members of the KTM Group board of Directors with CEO Stefan Pierer and CSO Hubert Trunkenpolz having held court with Designer Gerald Kiska in front of an international media gathering.

The Austrian brand (also armed with the Husqvarna name since 2013) will register a seventh year of growth in 2017, reaching 1.5 billion euros in sales and setting another new record for units shifted; “a bit more” than 230,000 globally, according to Pierer. KTM has expanded to the point where its modest factory on the outskirts of Mattighofen, close to the German border, has spurted from a few hundred employees to more than 5,500 globally.

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