2014 Predicted By Navigant Research to be Breakout Year For Electric Motorcycles

JAN 13 2014 BY MARK KANE 5

Brammo Enertia

Brammo Enertia

Navigant Research recently released a new report titled “Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2014” in which we see a whole set of predictions, including one on 700,000 plug-in vehicles on the roads around the world by the end of 2014.

One of the topics though is electric motorcycles.  According to Navigant Research, electric motorcycles may have breakout year in 2014. Sounds bold, so we would like know why Navigant predicts this could happen.

Brammo Empulse R

Brammo Empulse R

Teasers cited by Green Car Congress list a few reasons like a higher number of models available for purchase and signs of rebounding regional economies and a stop in the declining sales trend for motorcycles in North America and Europe.

“The result of all the factors is that 2014 could prove to be a significant year for the e-motorcycle. E-motorcycle companies’ product lines have come a long way, and lower-powered e-motorcycles that have not been commercially successful are being revised or dumped all together. In broader context, battery prices have come down providing competitive price points for e-motorcycles, and Tesla has proven that EVs can be lust-worthy vehicles. The result is a marketplace that is more competitive with better products. The finances of e-motorcycle companies are also more stable thanks to the recent focus on the fleet market, which provides a reliable base to pursue new market strategies and new customers in 2014.”

Lightning SuperBike connected to DC fast charger

Lightning SuperBike

In last several years, we saw mainly growth in sales of electric bicycles and scooters, which thanks to Asia are counted in the millions now. Electric motorcycles sales, according to Navigant Research, reached only 30,000 units globally  in 2013.

Do we believe in such predictions of 2014 being a breakout sales year? Rather not, but hopefully we will see some growth.  A breakout year is too optimistic though.

In case you’ve forgotten, in the U.S., the incentive program for electric motorcycles ended as 2014 rolled in, so it’s unlikely sales will grow here.

Source: Navigant Research via Green Car Congress

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5 Comments on "2014 Predicted By Navigant Research to be Breakout Year For Electric Motorcycles"

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I don’t think there will ever be a big break out year for electric motorcycles. Too many of the motorcycle riders want to here the loud VROOM VROOM of an ICE. And other people will be worried about the dangers of driving a completely silent motorcycle on the streets. It seems like just a matter of time before someone cuts in front of you with their car and you go ballistic.

Spec, there are a lot of gas car drivers that are fascinated by the VROOM VROOM of ICE engines too. Just watch any episode of Top Gear. That isn’t something specific to motorcycle riders.

But more to the point, EV motorcycles aren’t silent. Go test drive a Brammo Empulse and see what I’m talking about. It puts out what has been best described as a Star Wars tie fighter noise that is actually a kick in the pants.

And I’ve had plenty of cars pull in front of my ICE motorcycle, so that isn’t something specific for EV motorcycles. Making noise is overrated as a method to beg other people to stop driving stupid. Ask yourself, when was the last time you remember not making a left hand turn at an intersection just because you heard approaching traffic noise coming from in front of you? Never? Nobody else does either… Yet this is one of the most common types of car v. motorcycle collisions.

Spec, I disagree with you. I’ve been riding ICE bikes since the middle ’80’s, metrics and Harley’s. I even have a patch on my jacket about loud pipes. I’ve seen my manufacturer move from air cooled only, to introducing a water cooled bike, and now supplemental water cooling on many models. Only a fool would deny that change is coming. First, all the bikes will be water cooled, then they’ll have a partnership with an EV bike manufacturer, then produce them in-house.

It’s just a matter of time.

I have a Suzuki Burgman scooter. It is a 650 CC. It is almost silent except for the whirr of the transmission. I would gladly ride an electric. I would have to have a LOT more range and weather protection. I like a windshield and storage space. I have looked at EV scooters online, but, can’t find one to ride. But, less than 100 miles range is not going to work for me!

What is the definition of “breakout year”? Is it based on a percentage of bikes? Number of bikes?

As far as electric motorcycles making noise – I’ve ridden 20,000 miles on electric motorcycles and have never had a problem with a car driver not seeing me. The only accident I’ve been in was while riding my gas bike – when old older gentleman turned directly in front me me. He claimed he didn’t see or hear me.

100 mile range? I can ride my Vectrix 50 miles one way, charge at work, and ride back home.
Need more range? The 2014 Zero S claims 170 miles/charge with the additional (optional) battery pack. Even after multiplying by 70% for real world range – you should still get about 120 miles/charge. This is very close to the range of gas bikes. How often do you ride more than 120 miles before stopping to fill the gas tank?