Is the future of motorcycles electric?

While the discussion around the electric revolution taking place on our roads has been going on for some time, it’s typically centred around four wheels rather than two. Indeed, though there are now 205 plug-in car models available to UK buyers, including plenty of recognisable names from some of the world’s biggest brands, the talk on electric motorbikes has been much quieter.

However, be under no illusion – it’s still very much happening. With increasing numbers, manufacturer interest and government backing, the future of motorbiking is electric, too.

What are the numbers?

Some key figures on electric bikes:

  • The cost: like in the electric car market, electric motorbikes have reached a level of affordability that has made them accessible to the masses. Pricing depends very much on what you’re after. A scooter like the Super Soco/Ducati CUx will set you back just over £2,000 new, while the Harley Davidson Livewire will set you back the best part of £30,000. Either way, the cost of electric bikes is steadily lowering to be on par with their combustion powered counterparts.
  • Range: similar to EVs, electric bike ranges stretch from as little as 25 miles from the Honda PCX ELECTRIC to nearly 300 miles from the likes of the weighty Brutus V9 and the rather futuristic Arc Vector.
  • On the roads: despite an increase in options and affordability, numbers of electric motorbikes on UK roads are still fairly scant. As of December 2019, 1,082 electric mopeds and scooters were registered (a 131.7% increase year on year) and 537 electric motorcycles were sold (a 174% YOY increase).

Who’s involved?

As you can see just from some of the names mentioned above, the established names of the motorcycle sector are on board with the electric movement – indeed, they’d be foolish not to be at this stage. However, they’re joined by a number of more electrically focused brands that have been making headway in the market, names such as Energica, NIU and Super Soco.

Of course, the usual sign of a true transition is when the major names from the sector start to pay attention, and that’s what’s happening now in the electric motorcycle market. As Tom Warsop, Marketing Manager at Devitt Insurance, says: “With mainstream motorcycle manufacturers such as Harley Davidson entering the electric bike arena with [the] Livewire; and Triumph and Ducati not far behind, it’s clear that the future is electric.”

What does the future hold?

If the above wasn’t enough to persuade you, perhaps backing from the government will. The electric revolution in the bike world is merely a part of the wider one going on as per the UK government’s instruction, with all new vehicles set to be emissions free by 2040 and our roads entirely electric by 2050.

As for direct funding, the government are currently handing out £1,500 grants to ultra-low emission bike buyers, as well as placing £10 million of funding into electric charge points and £3.75 million into promotional schemes as part of wider £35 million investment.

So, with the key numbers rising, the big names getting involved and the government backing them, it seems that electric motorcycles are something we’re going to see plenty more of in the next few years. And just as with the car market, the future is undeniably electric.


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