For decades, the motorcycle industry has been dominated by gas-powered bikes. But with recent advancements in battery technology and an ever-growing movement of eco-conscious consumers, electric motorcycles are becoming a more viable option for riders. So is there a future in electric motorcycles? Or are they just a fad that will disappear within the decade?
Of course, opinions go rampant on this subject, and whilst this article is an opinion piece, I do include some statistics and data to try and make a case.
Electric motorcycles will definitely take off, it’s just a matter of time. They are not a fad, in fact, they are the future of motorcycles. With countries like the UK making claims that they will ban the use of petrol combustion engines by 2030 (The Guardian) and certain states of the USA such as California banning the sale of new gasoline cars from 2035(The Guardian); it’s only fair to say that these restrictions will, in time, come to pass for motorcycles.
Why haven’t Electric Motorcycles taken off yet?
Electric motorcycles are an emerging market
As with any emerging market, there are teething issues. The biggest issue is the lack of manufacturing powerhouses that have heavily invested in the electric motor industry at this time and it’s why we haven’t seen a lot more advancements from them other than some very small-scale offerings for private use.
However, major motorcycle manufacturers such as Harley Davidson are beginning to dip their toes into the water by bringing out limited edition models or making claims about what they will produce over the next few years (such as Energica below or the harley davidson livewire).
The culture around Roaring Gasoline Engines
The other reason that electric motorcycles haven’t taken off yet is the culture around petrol engines and the stigma around electric engines. There is something romantic about the roar of a gasoline engine, and whilst electric motorcycles have their own form of character in the noise they make, it’s not what petrol heads crave.
But as with all technology; this stigma will eventually fade away. There is nothing “cool” or “sexy” about being tied to an oil well for your fuel supply.
Electric motorcycles Benefits
Electric motorcycles have a few good benefits and some bad downsides. However, they are not nearly as bad or limiting in their disadvantages when compared to gas-powered bikes.
Electric Motorcycles Are Cheaper to Run than Gas Motorcycles
The financial savings of an electric motorcycle over a gas one can be significant. The cost-efficiency of an electric motorcycle is based on how much you ride the bike, and if you’re riding it all day long on average, then your carbon savings will likely outweigh the increased upfront expense.
However, this isn’t to say that these bikes are cheaper in the long run because they may require expensive replacement parts or battery replacements, and maintaining an electric motorcycle also costs more than maintaining a gas one.
If you ride your bike 15 miles each day (a very reasonable amount), then the financial benefits of your purchase start to kick in. You’ll spend about $7 per week for electrical power to charge up the electric bike from your home. Compare that to the $40 or more you’d spend each week on gasoline for a gas bike.
The above estimations are exactly that, estimations, please do your own calculations when working out your financial saving associated with switching to an electric motorcycle.
Electric Motorcycles have Fewer Maintenance Issues than Gas Motorcycles
The first of these benefits is that electric motorcycles have fewer maintenance issues than gas-powered bikes. Electric motorcycles don’t need oil changes, which are a common and costly issue for many riders (and one of the top reasons why people hate their motorcycles).
Electric Motorcycles are Better for the Environment than Gas Motorcycles
One of the other big benefits of electric bikes are the environmental benefits, and it’s something that a lot of people care about these days. The truth is that electric motorcycles are better for the environment than gas-powered ones. Electric motors produce no emissions whatsoever whereas gas engines often emit some form of pollutants into the air or into waterways. This not only helps to improve air quality in cities by reducing particle emissions and CO2 emissions but it also means that fewer resources have to be used for fueling up which would probably stop if we all switched over to an electric bike.
The environmental benefits don’t stop there, either. A gas motorcycle often requires oil to be burned, which produces fumes that are then released into the air or runoff into lakes and rivers, where they cause problems with aquatic life. Electric motorcycles don’t require oil changes, which eliminates this issue entirely.
Electric Motorcycles have No Throttle Response Issues
One of the biggest issues that people had with earlier models of electric motorcycles was the way they responded to throttle input. The first version of electric bike technology could only manage a max RPM, at which point acceleration would become severely limited, and it wouldn’t gain any speed even if you pushed down on the gas peddle as far as it could go.
These days, these issues have been largely eliminated, and there are now models of electric motorcycles on the market that offer complete throttle response without any limitations.
Batteries Technology will Advance, Combustion Engines are at their Peak Already
There have been a lot of advances in battery technology. Companies like Tesla and BMW are leading the charge in electric vehicle production. Exciting developments in battery technology have made the possibilities for electric motorcycles limitless.
It is clear that battery technology improvements over time will allow an electric bike to continue advancing in performance while conserving battery life as well as range per charge. When this is compared to combustion engines, combustion engines have had their peak in technological advancements and will only see incremental improvements here on out.
Right now, most electric motorcycles give you a range of around 100km, which is perfect for city commuting, but the technology of battery packs needs to advance for us to see anything close to the highway range of a gas motorcycle.
Electric Motorcycles are quieter than Gas Motorcycles
I know this one’s going to turn heads because we bikers LOVE the sound of our engines. But, as a society, we are becoming more aware of the detrimental noise pollution that motorcycles can cause.
It can be annoying to people trying to relax in parks, or neighbourhoods with many bikers – why contribute to that problem?
If we want more people to ride bikes as a standard daily commuter, I really do believe making quieter bikes will help with that.
Best Electric Motorbikes & Electric Motorbike Brands
Companies like Zero Motorcycles have set themselves apart by providing longer range, quality electric motorcycles that still provide all of the benefits of traditional gas motorcycles.
You will find some awesome features on their motorcycles such as rapid charging (1 hour to fully charged), 223 Mile Range & ‘smart bike’ features
If you’re after an electric motorcycle that is a bit more aggressive and provides quality components and power than check out Lightning Motorcycles. Their LS-218 has the world land speed record for the fastest production motorcycle, electric or otherwise. With a top speed of 218 MPH the LS-218 has made a name for itself in the history books.
Harley Davidson Livewire
The brand new Harley Davidson Livewire is a solid e-motorcycle choice when looking at the market. The livewire has a 146 Mile range (nothing to sneeze at), hits 80% of charge in 40 minutes with the assistance of fast charge technology & uses a permanent magnet electric motor can produce 100 percent of its rated torque instantly.
Damon Hypersport Pro
The Damon Hypersport Pro is a unique electric motorcycle that is turning heads in the two wheelers community. With a HUGE 200 Mile range, AI safety features making it the safest bike ever made (even uses cameras and sensors to cover your blind spot) & their all new Shift Technology to change the angle of your seat for more or less aggressive riding. The Damon Hypersport is a huge step forward in the direction of electric motorcycles.
Who are Electric Motorcycles for?
These days, electric motorcycles are not for everyone. They tend to be more expensive than the average gas motorcycle (not everyone can afford an Arc Vector), and have a few quirks that don’t make them for everyone.
Right now though they are perfect for:
Electric Motorcycles are Perfect for Short Daily Commuting
A lot of people can’t afford a second vehicle for commuting so they have to rely on their daily driver. Gas motorcycles do cost a lot more money in the long run, and they require a higher level of maintenance which means you might be shelling out an additional $100 every week just to keep your bike running smoothly.
I actually did a cost breakdown of electric scooters vs. gas ones and found that the electric scooter was more than 80% more cost effective.
In the future I would expect that e-motorcycles would be perfect for just about everyone, not just those who are eco friendly. With the exception of those who want to hear the sound of a roaring gas engine.
To Sum up
Electic motorcycles, like all Electric Vehicles, Just Make Sense. But they have a long way to go before they are taking over gas motorcycles. Better range, battery technology & an increase in production will all help with this.
With better technology coming out every day and more efficient batteries being developed every week; electric motorcycles are the future of motorcycling and they will soon be overtaking gas-powered equivalents sometime in the future.
So, now you know what electric bikes have to offer; when will you be pulling the trigger on a new e-motorcycle?
Are Electric Motorcycles The Future? You Decide! Do you think that e-motorcycles will overtake gasoline counterparts over the next few decades or do you believe in the power of petroleum engines? I certainly hope so!