A new study found that a surprising number of riders are interested in switching from gas-powered motorcycles to electric motorcycles.
The study surveyed 632 riders across the UK. While that number isn’t as high as we would have liked, it still represents a fairly large sample of riders across various age groups.
The study, performed by BikeSure, found that of the 632 riders, 46.7% were interested in actually owning an electric motorcycle or scooter and that 3.6% already owned one. Combined, that represents 50.3% of respondents who favor a switch to electric motorcycles.
Unsurprisingly, age correlated heavily with electric motorcycle interest. Older riders were less likely to favor electric motorcycles, with only 32% of riders over 65 expressing interest in owning an electric motorcycle. Riders aged 55-64 showed slightly higher interest at 41%. The highest interest at 58% came from riders under 25.
The survey also investigated what aspects of electric motorcycles were most appealing to riders, with the results shown below.
The results showed that riders were much more interested in the performance and economic advantages of electric motorcycles, and less interested in their environmental benefits.
Riders were most interested in the performance gains such as the instant torque provided by electric motorcycles.
Lower operating costs than gas-powered motorcycles were also interesting to many riders. The fewest riders expressed interest in electric motorcycle advantages including lower weight, less noise, and less pollution.
Interestingly, age also played a role in how much riders favored the performance gains of electric motorcycles. While 84.9% of riders under 25 expressed interest in the torque advantages of electric motorcycles, that figure was much lower at 52% for riders aged 55-64.
That still indicates that while most riders aged 55-64 are not interested in owning an electric motorcycle, they still find the performance advantages intriguing.
The study also investigated reasons that have prevented riders from switching to electric motorcycles so far, with the results shown below.
The results show that the largest barriers to electric motorcycle adoption remain perceptions about insufficient distance that riders can travel on a single charge and the time it takes to recharge.
Similarly to the electric car industry, the electric motorcycle industry also suffers from the phenomenon of “range anxiety.” Many riders worry that an electric motorcycle won’t provide enough range to reach their destination.
In actuality, most electric motorcycle range ratings are more than sufficient for average motorcycle rides. For example, the Zero SR/F has a city range rating of 259 km (162 mi) and a highway range rating closer to 145 km (90 miles). The Harley Davidson LiveWire has a city range of 235 km (146 mi) and a combined city/highway range rating of 153 km (95 miles). Energica’s latest electric motorcycles achieve a city range rating of 400 km (249 mi) and a mixed city/highway rating of 230 km (143 mi).
While these ranges are sufficient to cover average motorcycle rides, electric motorcycles’ Achilles heel remains their ability to serve as touring bikes used to cover long distances. Most rides may fall well within the range of electric motorcycles, but riders still want the ability to ride for longer distances, even if they only occasionally do so.
DC Fast Charging systems exist that can recharge the battery in around 30 minutes, and have been used on many record-setting and cross country electric motorcycle trips. But that still doesn’t compare to a three-minute gas fill-up – at least not yet.
Electric motorcycles still represent a small minority of all motorcycles on the road, but their numbers are growing much faster than gas-powered motorcycles.
More low-cost models designed for daily commuters are helping to push prices into the affordable zones for many riders, while established electric motorcycle companies continue to innovate on the higher performance end of the spectrum.
What do you think? If you’re a motorcycle rider, are you interested in switching to electric one day? Let us know in the comments section below!
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