July 2018

80 81 LITO (SORA MOTORCYCLES) from carbon fiber and aluminum, the Sora fea- tures a convenient Safe Range Mode that helps prevent running out of battery power. Riders can input their destination into a touch screen GPS and the bike automatically sets the maximum speed and power usage needed to arrive at the given location. “I incorporated the business in 2009 but I start- ed working on this particular project in 2008,” says Jean-Pierre Legris, President of LITO, “and after working for major automotive manufactures around the world, I fell in love with the auto- motive innovation I had found there. So when I came back here to Canada, I thought to myself, ‘How can I recreate this kind of environment in a company here in Quebec?’ And back in those days, we couldn’t imagine that there was anything electric on two wheels except the scooters and very low-speed vehicles. But on the other side, in the car industry, all the debate was already done, in my point of view.We saw all those who were planning to go to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric, but we didn’t see that for the motorcycle industry. “So, back in 2008, I saw a tremendous business opportunity, developing an electric motorcycle. My goal was not to become a boutique; it was to become an international player and a major lead- er in the electric motorcycle industry. So, in 2009, I started the business from a small office in my basement, working full-time for another job. I did that for about a year and then I jumped full-time into LITO at the beginning of 2010, where I hired the first team of engineers and designers to com- plete development of the first product that was put on the road as a prototype in 2012.We got all the major certification from Transport Canada and NHTSA, EPA, and everything in the States. It was granted all the certification in 2013/2014 and that’s when we started the manufacturing of the first batch.We delivered the first Sora to custom- ers in 2014.” Having positioned the Sora in the high-end market, LITO now has a few dozen units sold. Marketed as one of the highest quality motorcy- cles out there, whether in the electric or gas pow- ered category, there is no compromise in terms of innovation, quality, or power. Of course, as Legris points out, high-end quality means high-end customer and, ultimately, high-end price. The base model starts at $77,000 US and the signature series costs $104,000. “It’s just not viable to sell those motorcycles at, let’s say, 20 grand or 30 grand, which is quite expensive for a standard Kawasaki or a Harley Davidson,” Legris goes on to point out, “but we have made a choice of making it the best possi- ble. There is an electric seat that you can adjust while riding. There is a 5.7” touch screen GPS that you have on the motorcycle. You have the quality