Electric motorcycles have been one angle in the electric vehicle debate that doesn’t usually get discussed often enough. With electric cars still trying to be pushed into the mainstream and charging stations becoming ubiquitous, how do people really feel about electric motorcycles joining electric vehicles on our roads?
Going by a New York Times article on the subject back in late 2012, prototypes for electric motorcycles have been ongoing with features that sound good in print. But that same report points out that consumer interest just doesn’t seem to be there. There may be a good reason for that if you go by price and the expectations of what people want in electric transportation.
Features of Electric Motorcycles
You might be surprised to learn that only one company in the U.S. is currently selling electric motorcycles. Zero Motorcycles makes this claim, even though some independent companies are out there producing them, like Brammo. Zero has been mostly catering to organizations that use motorcycles daily, such as police and general security.
With their motorcycles, they point out how quiet they run and how they prevent exhaust fumes that riders can avoid breathing. The company also claims you can go up to 95 mph and drive 164 miles on just one charge.
Yes, for cities that pay for these motorcycles in daily usage, you can see why Zero Motorcycles is staying in business. You clearly notice, though, that they aren’t catering quite as much to the general motorcycle enthusiast.
What Motorcyclists are Expecting
For some motorcyclists, the look and sound of a motorcycle is an experience that’s unique to them and can’t be duplicated in an electric model. Green Car Reports points out the sound of a motorcycle seems to be the real appeal with many who ride regularly. Because electric motorcycles run so quietly, it could end up taking away a specific memory ingrained in so many generations.
And that seems to be the real problem behind all electric vehicles: Lack of familiarity. Even with electric cars, the thought is that price is keeping them from becoming mainstream. While this is part of the problem with both electric cars and motorcycles, it’s the change in design that could be keeping more people away.
Green Car Reports expands on this thought by saying that unless electric motorcycles give the feel of a regular Harley-Davidson, they may never really take off. The same could be said of electric cars not always giving people a look of the familiar while still utilizing electric features.
In the meantime, electric motorcycles will generally run you anywhere from $4,000 on up to $16,000 for a model from Zero. This type of investment is only going to be for those with the deepest pockets. Those investors may even be backers in the electric car movement where huge momentum is still more than possible.