Here’s a list of questions I am frequently asked (if you have a question to add to this list, add it to the comments section below):
Q: “Do Electric motorcycles Have The Range Needed To Be Practical?”
Unfortunately their is no set in stone answer to this question, often the best way to find this out is to look at the spec sheet for motorcycles that you are interested in. The Brutus V9 for example has a huge range of 451 km or 282 miles! These figures are measured in controlled conditions and real world distances will vary depending on wind direction, road conditions and riding style.
Q: “How Much Does It Cost To own An Electric Motorcycle?”
The initial cost of each electric motorcycle obviously changes widely on model, A general rule of them they cost more than petrol motorcycles or scooters. The extra cost of purchase is often quickly recouped by maintenance and fuel savings.
Q: “How Much Does It Cost To Drive An Electric motorcycle?”
Running costs on a motorcycle are always significantly smaller than for a car, running an electric motorcycle makes a lot of sense as the parts always last a lot longer and they are more efficient than their petrol cousins. Engine wear doesn’t really happen on a electric bike and the battery will last much longer than most petrol motorbikes will.
Q: “How Fast Can They Go? Surely My petrol bike is quicker? ”
The Lightning LS-218 Superbike will do an astonishing 346 kph or 216 mph this is actually faster than the Kawasaki Ninja H2. The Ninja will do 340km/h if its the de-limited H2R. Often electric motorcycles will not have the same outrageous top speeds as their petrol counterparts, the Lightning certainly proves that it is possible.
Q: “How Long Do They Take To Charge?”
The charging time changes depending on model and where you are in the world, and what sort of charger you have on hand. It can be as little as 1 hour with a fast charger or as long as 7-8 hours (overnight).
Q: “What Lifespan Do The Battery’s Have?”
Batteries are consumables and will have to be replaced at some point Zero Motorcycles quote a battery lifespan of 570,000km. This will vary with care and model of bike due to different types of batteries being used.
Q: “But Wont Something This Advanced Be Expensive To Maintain”?
Having an electric bike is as close to being service free as possible. The services that are carried out are almost purely for safety reasons, brake checks etc.
Q: “What Does It Feel Like To Drive An Electric bike?”
Very very similar to any other motorcycle apart from being almost silent!
Q: “That Sounds Great But because they are silent are they safe?”
Electric Motorcycles are just as safe as any petrol motorcycle. They are very quiet and this concerns some people, most people don’t hear motorcycles until they have past anyway!
Q: “What do you think are the main inhibitors to Electric motorcycle sales?”
I think we see low sales for 2 reasons. Firstly, a lack of awareness of this non-petrol alternative. Motorcyclists may be aware of the technology but probably don’t have any of their friends with one to look at closely. Non-motorcyclists may not even know this exciting category even exists. The second issue is supply. In the automotive industry margins are low for sales of new vehicles, it’s the servicing revenue that makes the business viable. I’m sure that distributors and retailers are worried that their servicing revenue will shrivel because emoto’s need so little servicing. This would make them reluctant to promote the electric alternatives and less likely to hold any in stock!
Q: “In terms of Electric motocycles gaining access to established motor distributors and their well developed marketing channels?”
Many traditional motorcycle brands are developing electric models, but in many cases new brands are the innovators. They don’t have decades of dealer network relationships to clear a path to market, so they will need to rely on direct-sales, crowd-sourcing campaigns and guerrilla marketing and sidestep the existing industry completely. Once the more traditional distributors see there is money to be made and demand levels have increased to make it attractive, that’s when we’ll see them enter the market.
Q: “In terms of attracting already committed motorcyclists?”
Are electric motorcycles attractive to already committed motorcyclists? Perhaps only to a subset. They ride for freedom, to project an image, for fun, and to a lesser extent for economy and convenience. They may percieve that electric motorcycles only impacts on the less important characteristics, but after a test drive they may find enhanced levels in the primary characteristics.
Q: “Are Electric Motorcycles perceived as safer than ordinary bicycles?”
There is one significant safety concern with electric motorcycles and that’s noise. They make very little. So you can’t rely on pedestrians, cyclists or motorists hearing you coming. I’ve heard of some electric motorcycles being fitted with front facing loud speakers to project the sound of an engine to warn people you are on the way!
Do you have any other questions? Have I missed something? Please share your comments in the space below!