200 million electric motorcycles by 2016

Dailies -


Electric_motorcycles_report.jpgIf you’ve been reading Hell For Leather for a while, you’re aware that electric motorcycles are advancing in performance, affordability and sales at an incredible rate, but even we had no idea they could experience the kind of near-term success predicted by this report. Pike Research, a Colorado-based cleantech market research firm, predicts that 466 million electric powered two-wheelers will be sold worldwide between 2010 and 2016. 56 percent of that market will be composed of electric bicycles, 43 percent by electric motorcycles and only one percent is predicted to be electric scooters. China is expected to consume 95 percent of all electric two-wheelers produced between now and 2016. Still, North America is expected to be consuming one million electric two-wheelers a year by 2016. See, you should be excited about electric motorcycles.

However, the report isn’t all fresh and clean. The market for electric
bikes in North America is expected to consist mostly of boring old baby
boomers purchasing them as a “lifestyle or style choice” over people
buying them to use as primary transportation. That’s the same hole that
regular motorcycle sales fell into over the last two decades and we’ve
all seen what’s happened as a result of that. While initial sales based
on novelty or green lifestyle choices are a great way to begin a business and
grow product awareness, a solid argument centered around practicality
is going to be needed if electrics really want to expand into the
mainstream transportation market.

One thing the report doesn’t touch on, at least in the press release or
executive summary, is price. That’s still a major sticking point for
electrics, they simply don’t achieve price parity with their dino
juice-fueled counterparts. The Brammo Enertia pictured above, for
instance, just fell in price from $12,000 to $7,995, but with only a
40-something mile range and a 65mph top speed, it still asks potential
customers to make significant sacrifices compared to an equally priced sports 600. The
main factor determining the cost of electrics are the batteries, which
are still massively expensive in comparison to the other components used
on the bikes. Battery prices are expected to decrease drastically over
the next decade, likely in a direct inverse to the sales rate of
electric motorcycles.

The report does identify the lack of an established distribution network
as a barrier manufacturers will have to overcome. It also cites the
non-dealer model as a positive, meaning the problem here isn’t
availability, but rather the need to put the products in front of
potential consumers.

Pike Research via Motorcycle-USA

  • http://cohobot.blogspot.com/ coho

    If an electric can meet or beat the 2007 Yamaha TW200 I use for commuting in range (about 125-150 on a 1.8G tank) & performance (about 16hp, it’ll do 65mph unless it’s uphill) without being too much more expensive (a 2010 TW is msrp $4190) I will buy one.

    Lotsa people use the if ‘x’ then I will buy it, but I really like the idea of an electric commuter bike. Quick & quiet beats loud & fast in traffic every time.

  • Cameron Baum

    Electric motorcycle technology only needs one thing to be economically viable: Low-cost, hi-capacity batteries that either charge very fast -or can be made to be interchangible and replaced/swapped out at any recharge/replacement station like we have gas stations today.

    Not there yet, and not any time soon. Nope, nowhere close. Until then they will be expensive toys and will not be able to compete in the free market without outright banning of conventional ICE designs. I hope nobody that loves motorcycles wants THAT.

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk Urban Rider

    As with sales forecasts, the only thing we can know 100% about this report is that it will prove innacurate.

    I don’t dispute the projected facts, merely the timescale.

    Can someone please show me some evidence that battery technology is developing quick enough to facilitate this growth?

    Pretty much every ‘expert’ I have encountered thought Vectrix were great and look what a white elephant that proved to be. Bah humbug!

  • V

    This is a market wherein premade motorized bicycles need to compete. Spookytooth already offers all this (sans e-flashy) for $500. Add to that no insurance or registration needs, and the capabilities are comparable for much less money and much more cool.

  • V

    Plus you have 4k in scratch for that belstaff you know you want.

  • Random

    If you consider electric bikes (as the report do) then I could agree this is a potentially huge market. Many people outside USA emply motorcycles as a mean of transportation instead of a “lifestyle choice”.

    Hey, try to stay inside a crowded bus at 30+ºC (that’s over 86ºF for the non-metrics out there) without air conditioning in the static “traffic” here in São Paulo and you will soon grab any two-wheeled vehicle you can possibly buy.


    Electricity=ecology?BULLSHIT!how thahell are we gonna get rid of all the “dead”batteries?oh i see third world is a junkyard

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That argument’s a bit tired isn’t it?

    • Papasan

      Batteries and all the parts to manufacture them are completely Recyclable. I think you are talking about the old lead and acid types that are being fazed out quickly. All that said, Electric Bikes are Reusable and Recyclable inexpensive transportation. You need only google “battery/recycle” and you can read scads of info on this topic.

      P.S. Take a poop once in awhile, it will improve your attitude greatly…

  • Willing to keep an open mind

    I predict electric motorcycles will first gain acceptance in motocross, instead of street bikes, because the relatively limitied range is not an issue for motocross riders. Also the current generation of titanium valved four stroke motocrossers have proven to be much more complicated and expensive to maintain than the previous generation two stroke bikes. Electric bikes would be virtually maintenance free, a welcome change for riders attracted to the sport for its athleticism, who would rather not have to wrench (doing a top end rebuild is a major league pain in the ass and is expensive as hell).

    KTM is working on one, and they are partnered with Red Bull- I’ll bet we see them start a race series in the not to distant future.

  • http://www.emotorules.com Harry Mallin

    I’m a Brammo fan myself, so I hope this research study is close to being correct. Who can doubt the veracity of a study that allows itself to be displayed in auto-page-turning mode like this? Kudos to Wes and Grant for this. What’s next? RSS feed for comments, maybe? (My goal is to include this in every comment I make until you ban me.)
    Oh, and I love Hellforleathermagazine.com.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Correction, you are THE Brammofan.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    Its a fact that batteries will continue to become exponentially cheaper/more powerful. Its simply an axiom of technology. Once production ramps up, we’ll see ~$7k bikes that will be ~80-90% the range/top-speed of your average middle-weight, non-supersport bike. If they are truly going to be commuter/city bikes, doesn’t make much sense to compare them to CBR600RRs, but more like a BMW F650. I, for one, can’t wait to own a bike I don’t have to change the oil/adjust valves/winterize/everything else on; plus, it will just plug in and charge for pennies!


    papasan:thanks man,i feel alot lighter now.and to Wes,that argument will never be tired,not because i want so,our planet deserves better solutions for our transportation needs.I dont now,i support the idea of electric bikes,but instead of changing entirely to electricity in the next 2 decades,wouldent it be better to have the ICE Metanol engines ,bio diesel,pressurized air,liquid hidrogen……,to have a similar share of the market.I love hell for leather,have absolutely nothing against u,just my opinion,DONT WANT ELECTRIC MONOPOLY!!!!! P.S. the new batteries are recycleable,even if we have way too meny of them?

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOMj5HrhHy4 Sean Smith

      I think the main problem here is the Block o’ text.

      Use the enter or return key to separate things so that they’re more bite sized and a little less daunting. Hitting that space button every now and then, and capitalizing the first letter of every sentence will also go a long way in the quest to seem like a literate human being.

      Right now, you kinda remind me of that guy on craigslist. You know, the one who’s a prince or something, who wants to send me a check for ten grand that I’ll cash, and then send him back nine grand. It’s not good to remind people of that guy when you type.

      • http://www.emotorules.com Harry Mallin

        Sean, you elitist son of a biscuit eater, I think you set your expectations way too high. As the Dalai Lama is fond of saying, “Our expectations, unmet, cause us to suffer.”

        For example, I used to have the expectation that this website would offer an RSS feed for comments, thus ending my practice of daily H4L clicking. It caused untold pain, both physically (carpal tunnel syndrome) and emotionally (babyman tears). But I ended my unhealthy attachment to this expectation, and have since stopped my daily click practice. Now I’m healthier, but less informed. It’s always a trade-off.

        Lasovan: Electric Monopoly is actually pretty cool: http://www.ea.com/free/monopoly

      • Cameron Baum

        Spot on Mr. Smith!

      • Papasan

        I think we have all learned a valuable lesson here, not withstanding Lasovan is no longer constipated, and all that said, we all feel the Love, Humanity, and just great fuzzy warmness of proper grammar, and good spelling. Now lets get the our asses back in those saddles and ride…

        Good Bye, Good Luck, and don’t forget to write!

        Papasan in AZ

        P.S. Use the Spell Check!


    To sean smith:Sorry i seem to be just a human being,will u be able to forgive me?

  • Tom

    If electric bikes can also be like electric cars, then this could be great for enthusiast riders/drivers. The environment gets cleaner, we get off so much (terrorist funding) foreign oil, and real enthusiast machines can focus of improving without the backlash of sucking up all the oil.

    I think that its a win-win. Typical people get their grocery getters/daily commuters while enthusiasts can get their fill too.

  • Steve F

    Before we start speculating about the future of electric bikes, one of the tables said there was about 150,000 e-bikes sold in the US and more than 500k in Western Europe.

    I’m going to have to call BS on that one.

    Based solely on the Bay Area, I have seen maybe 4 electric bicycles in the thousands of miles I’ve ridden on bicycles and motorcycles.

    One of my friend’s bought an e-bike kit. It added 30lbs to the front wheel, and I rather get a 50cc downhill conversion bike than ride it again.