Over at ScenicApp we rarely write about Electric Motorcycles. Why is that? It’s not because there is no news about them. Almost every day there is a news article on them. It’s not because there are no electric motorcycles. It seems almost every week a new model appears. It’s not that there are no brands. It seems almost every month a new electric motorcycle brand pops up. Just have a look at this list of 18 electric motorcycles. You’ll see some pretty ‘exotic’ brands and models there.
Then why? Well… because technology is just not there yet. To be more specific, the technology to create a compact and light enough battery with a decent range that can re-charge within 5 minutes. Because, let’s face it, as touring and adventure riders, that’s what we need!
Of course, if you commute or do some grocery shopping, the typical range of 100 to 150 miles (150 – 250 km) will do, but that’s not enough for a good day trip, let alone a multi day trip. Add to that the lack of charging station availability in many countries, and the fact that charging takes more like 30 minutes than the usual 3 minutes, and you’ve got yourself an unpractical (not to say unworkable) situation. Unless, of course, you have a gasoline powered van traveling with you and a diesel generator on call.
There is some good news on the horizon though. Just a few weeks ago Honda, KTM, Piagggo and Yamaha signed an agreement around swappable e-bike batteries. Now THAT could be a great solution. Imagine (at least that’s how I imagine it) rolling up to a ‘gas’-station, riding your bike above a ‘hole in the floor’, then, some arms come up, your old empty battery is dropped and a new full one is put in place. Et VOILA. Ready to roll in the same amount of time as a conventional ‘fill-up’.
Having said all this, I do believe that electric is the future of motorcycling. Electric motorcycles already out-perform traditional ones. It’s only a matter of time before we nail the range and recharging problem. Once that’s done… combustion engine based motorcycles will become a thing of the past.