The electrification of human mobility is happening in real-time, and while electric cars are more in the news, other modes of transport are also becoming zero-emission. One of such modes is the motorcycle. For decades, gas-powered motorcycles have provided cheap and fast transportation. However, as electric motorcycles are showing up gradually, it makes some people ask if they are the future or just a trend and will disappear. In this article, we look at the future of electric motorcycles and if they will one day replace their fossil-fueled cousins.
How do electric motorcycles work?
Just like electric cars are based on the mechanism of gas-powered vehicles, electric motorcycles function similarly to their gas-powered counterparts. Electric motorbikes work by taking power from an electric motor. The motor works with electricity stored in a battery.
The main difference between electric and gas-powered motorbikes is that the former does not burn carbon-based fuel in an engine, meaning it does not produce carbon emissions.
The major components in an electric motorcycle include the battery (usually a lithium-ion battery) and an electric motor.
Electric motorcycles are cheaper to maintain because electricity is usually less expensive than fuel. In addition, electric motorcycles do not need as much maintenance because there are not so many moving parts that can break down. They do not even require engine oil.
To operate an electric motorcycle, you need to charge the battery by plugging it into a power source.
There are many types of electric motorcycles, meaning you can always find what works for you. For example, you can get models for off-roading or city riding. Speed enthusiasts can also get high-performance bikes.
Many traditional motorcycle makers are turning their attention to electric models, including brands like Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, Honda, etc. Other companies have formed to manufacture electric motorcycles, including Zero, Sondor, Energica, Lightning Motorcycles, Fuell, etc.
Are electric motorcycles the future or just a trend?
There are multiple reasons to believe electric motorcycles are the future, and it is a matter of time before they become the standard. For example, many countries are banning the use of gas-powered combustion engines. These include the UK, which has proscribed the sale of new ICE-powered light-duty vehicles from 2030. The state of California has a similar ban taking effect from 2035. The banning trend will eventually get to gas-powered motorcycles.
In addition, electric vehicles have already demonstrated that battery-powered mobility works. This means electric motorcycles can ride on the success of electric cars and do not really need to prove themselves.
Also, more and more companies are making electric motorcycles, creating competition and giving buyers more options. This could also drive down prices and make them more affordable. The rising costs of fossil fuels will also make more buyers appreciate electric bikes.
There is room for growth in the electric motorcycle market, with was worth US$5.5 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 4.57% from last year to 2027.
However, it is true that electric motorcycles are still in their early days, and there are some aspects that manufacturers have to work on that will help their adoption. For example, more riding range per charge and cheaper batteries, which will make electric motorcycles more affordable, will attract more bikers. Similarly, reducing the charging time will reduce another barrier to switching from gas-powered bikes.
In addition, more awareness about electric motorcycles and their benefits to the user and the environment will stimulate more demand. The government can also help by offering tax cuts and subsidies as incentives for buying electric motorcycles.
Electric motorcycles are emerging as an alternative zero-emission mobility option. However, even though there are current barriers to people wanting to switch, there is evidence that electric motorcycles can take over the motorcycle industry in the future.