It is difficult to explain exactly why there hasn’t been an electric motorbike revolution by now, seeing as almost every major motor vehicle brand has plans to release their first electric cars during 2018 and the years to follow. Is it because motorbikes are already far more fuel-efficient and have a lighter carbon footprint than cars – rendering the need for an electric motorbike almost null and void – or is it simply a lack of interest from enthusiasts?
Considering that motorbikes are essentially recreational vehicles for the most part, is the purr and buzz of the big petrol engine a big part of the appeal? We explore this and more in our brief overview of what the electric future of the motorbike looks like.
The Pros of an Electric Motorbike
To clarify, when referring to an electric motorbike, we mean a motorbike that is powered by a rechargeable battery system which drives the electric motor. There are already hybrids available to purchase, but we are going to stick to 100% electric motorbikes for the purposes of this article. As such, here are a few pros to owning an electric motorbike:
- Green energy: electric motorbikes are environmentally friendly
- Maintenance: electric motorbikes generally need very little maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly
- Fuel: electric motorbikes run entirely on electricity which is far cheaper than fuel
The Cons of an Electric Motorbike
In order for us to present both sides of the argument, we must discuss the downsides of owning an electric motorbike:
- For many enthusiasts, the lack of noise could be a major turn off when it comes to considering an electric motorbike – it’s like having a lion that can’t roar or a casino which doesn’t offer real money slots. Besides the aesthetic, we must also consider whether a quiet motorbike is as safe as a loud one, as pedestrians and motorists will not hear you coming.
- While the range offered by electric motorbikes used to be a major issue, this has largely been solved by manufacturers, but now the charge-time has taken this issue’s place. Although it’s down to 30 minutes for +/- 80% battery it takes at least a few hours for a full charge which may not be a reasonable option for most riders, especially daily commuters.
Electric Motorbikes Releasing in 2018 & 2019
The Indian-made Emflux ONE will be releasing during 2018 and has styling which compares beautifully to its traditional engine competitors. With a top speed of 200kph, an 80% battery charge in just over 30 minutes, and a range of 200km between full charges, the Emflux ONE is definitely an impressive specimen. But, is it enough to get classic enthusiasts to turn their backs on their combustion-engine motorbikes?
The upcoming electric Harley-Davidson – said to be releasing in 2019 – has many enthusiasts excited. What will it sound like? What will it look like? To give us some idea, we turned to the Harley LiveWire project. The project took place in 2014 and involved the launch of prototype which was given to members of the press and public to test.
The LiveWire fitted in well with the rest of the Harley-Davidson family on an aesthetic level and it offered a top-speed of 120kph – not bad considering that it was almost 4 years ago. If this new electric offering by Harley is anything like the LiveWire, there is sure to be a waitlist as long as both my arms!