According to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO of drivingthenation.com, motorbike enthusiasts are indeed willing to ride an electric motorbike but only if these are of high quality and not remotely similar in any way to a motor scooter.
One of the respondents in Hammond’s research said, “If I was used to driving a Ferrari and you put me in a Tesla I would love it.” This has given a clear indication of what kind of electric motorcycle diehard motorcyclists are expecting. So what kind of electric motorcycles are manufacturers making in response to this demand?
As with electric vehicles, the adoption of electric motorcycles has been slow. In both industries producers have entered the market with breakthrough models, but the trend hasn’t hit mainstream production yet.
One company that has invested heavily in electric motorbikes is Zero Motorcycles, who say they have exported 1,000 e-motorcycles since 2008. According to the company’s CEO, Gene Banman, 60% of the bikes can go 30 to 40 miles per charge and can be compared to a 250cc internal-combustion-engine motorcycle. The difference, Banman says, is that the electric scooter gives riders no “maintenance headaches.”
Whether or not big motorcycle manufacturers will begin production of e-motorbikes in the near future is still unclear. However, when asked about the company’s plans to produce an electric hog, Bob Klein of Harley Davidson avoided answering but said that the company employs the latest and greatest technology to reduce the emissions of Harley Davidson’s models.
In a recent article, Lou Ann Hamond asked whether the slow market uptake of electric motorbikes is not perhaps due to the fact that regular motorcycles are already so efficient that there is no need to electrify them. Findings by a Californian Air resources Board found that motorbikes account for a considerably low percentage of the world’s carbon emissions, proving that motorbikes are already efficient enough.