It is clear that the electric car revolution is gathering pace with more and more motorists making the switch and this is expected to continue in the coming years. This is, in part, due to pressures to be more environmentally-friendly but also because the technology is improving, the infrastructure is getting better, there is greater availability and the cars are becoming more affordable. So, what about electric motorbikes?
A Slow Start
Despite the growing popularity of electric cars, electric motorbikes seem to have stalled and it is rare to see an electric bike on the roads. So, what is the reason for this and what does the future hold for electric motorbikes?
There are a few reasons why electric motorbikes are not quite as common as electric cars. One of the main reasons is that unlike electric cars, there has not a great deal of variety available so people have less to choose from. In addition to this, bikes are not as pollutant as many automobiles so there is not as much pressure felt by riders to make the switch. As with electric cars, there are also some concerns over range and the infrastructure but these are areas that are constantly improving.
Key Manufacturers Making The Jump
It looks like electric bikes are about to become a lot more common on the roads, though, and 2020 could be the year that the electric bike revolution catches up with automobiles. This is largely because there are a handful of prestigious manufacturers entering the market this year so there will be greater availability and they will appeal to all riders. Tom Warsop of Devitt Insurance explained:
“With mainstream motorcycle manufacturers such as Harley Davidson entering the electric bike arena with Livewire; and Triumph and Ducati not far behind, it’s clear that the future is electric”.
As the most famous manufacturer, it was fitting that Harley Davidson became the first big motorbike manufacturer to release an electric bike and the Livewire has been receiving rave reviews. The brand revealed a range of electric concepts back in 2019 and there are now a handful of other major brands getting ready to unveil their electric motorbikes.
“There’s work to be done on the infrastructure to support widespread use of electric vehicles but with emergence of electric bike manufacturers such as Zero, Energica and Arc, it’s certainly going to be exciting to watch it develop within the motorcycle industry.”
The infrastructure certainly is improving with the Department for Transport (DtF) recently doubling its EV charger funding to £10 million. The Government claims to have supported the installation of 24,000 public charging points so far but there is pressure to increase the efforts as a way to encourage more people to switch and to meet the goal of the 2040 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles.
Another reason why it is likely that an increasing number of riders will make the switch this year is due to the grant that the UK government offers. The Plug-In Motorcycle Grant (PiMG) was introduced in 2017 and offers a £1,500 or 20% reduction against the price of paying for an electric motorbike or scooter. The cost of an electric vehicle is often what deters people (despite the long-term savings) so this will encourage more people to make the switch.
Despite a slow start, it seems like the electric motorbike revolution will gather speed this year and soon be a common sight on UK roads.