December 31 2019 – Brad Ramsden
The last 2 years has seen a change in global attitudes towards our care and responsibility for our planet. With this new awareness, everything from our diet, to the clothes we wear has been put under the microscope. The motor industry is no exception. 2020 is set to be a decade of immense change, predominantly around the reduction of fossil fuel usage. Many manufacturers are pledging to offer more and more electric vehicles, and governments are rallying behind low emission policies and infrastructure that will undoubtedly revolutionise transportation in big cities.
New legislation is sure to be put through as more and more pressure falls onto governments to do more.
With all this looming over us in the next decade, its hard not to be overwhelmed. At Stag we believe that the first step comes in the form of information. If you would like to understand what your electric motorcycle options are in 2020 and beyond then we would love to discuss with you. We pride ourselves in our impartial and honest knowledge of an industry that we are passionate about.
Historically, The Motorcycle industry has always been more behind the curve with its innovation and development – as is indicated by Mark in Motorcycle Trader. This may explain why some of the industry Titans (bar a few) appear to be putting off making the leap to electric, when so many car manufacturers already have numerous models in production.
This lag in development has left a gap for smaller companies to fill the market with their offerings. And boy have they filled it! On a recent visit to ECIMA show in Milan in November, the presence of electric development can certainly be felt, so much so that it could not be contained into one of the exhibition centres vast halls.
Industry leaders Zero (an American company who offer exclusively electric bikes) appear to have the most comprehensive range and brand presence – with a bike to suit almost anyone. However, at this stage the price tag is only suiting a few. Along with range, pricing has always proved to be a huge deterrent for buyers.
But is this all about to change?
Sources indicate the price of lithium battery technology is coming down and various Government Grants (although still very difficult to receive at this stage before they are refined) are available to encourage electric purchases – ultimately, the gap is closing and the process is becoming easier. Not to mention the heavy development in Solid State Battery Technology that is set to revolutionise the EV industry.
Range is the biggest area of uncertainty surrounding electric motorbikes. It is often the reason for reservation around making a purchase or around disappointment after a purchase. This is due to the lack of standardisation around testing and quoting. At this current stage manufacturers appear to be striving to release the highest possible range figures in a bid to draw in attention, regardless of how relevant the testing is. I mean, who realistically weighs 50kg and rides their bike at 30mph the entire journey? A standardised measure needs to be created to eliminate ambiguity. Just like MPG is used, leaving it up to consumers to decide what this means to them and whether it is suitable for them, or not. Just consider that factors like temperature, rider weight, gradient and constant starting and stopping all influence performance. At Stag we encourage people to be weary of taking quoted range at face value - it is far more valuable to read a credible, impartial testimonial from an owner.
The recent expansion in electric offerings has also given birth to an entirely new sector (almost) in the industry. In recent years, Recreational motorbiking has been a pest to 99% of people. All that noise, pollution and…. Fun – how could councils possibly let it continue? As a result, the last few decades have seen a severe shrinkage in tracks and a growing elitism about the community. Electric bikes offer a hard-to-argue-with solution to this problem. They are far more approachable and unintimidating for newcomers, lower maintenance with no polluting biproducts! Not too mention the lack of noise – Just imagine a track where all that can be heard are the shrieks of joy as riders fly over a tabletop at break-neck speed – utopia.
As expected though, governing bodies are slow/reluctant to embrace any change that may polarise their community - much like it has already done to the mountain bike world. As a result, electric off-road bikers are left in stagnant purgatory – confined to the occasional covert late afternoon spin in the local woods dressed head to toe in camo or bolting on a ghastly make-shift pedal system in a bid to trick the bobbies.
With pressure mounting however, it will soon be hard for them to prevent the change that is already underway, it is now not a case of IF, but more a case of WHEN the introduction of electric competition hits the UK like it has already started hitting other parts of Europe and the rest of the world - liberating these riders from servitude.
As a final word, we would just like to take the opportunity to welcome any newcomers to our growing community and reassure existing members – our doors are always open. The revolution is underway – be prepared and be informed.