The future looks good for electric motorcycle sales
Are we seeing a shift towards electrification of two wheels? In less than a decade’s time, the world could contain upwards of 55 million electric powered two-wheelers (PTWs), or e-PTWs as they are known.
Figures from the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) suggest uptake is on the rise. “The 2015 stats are small with 268 units being sold up to the end of October 2015, but this is a 70% increase on 2014, largely down to KTM and BMW’s entry into the market,” explained MCIA’s Stevie Muir.
Increasing interest from large manufacturers and decreasing battery costs offer an opportunity to drastically change the current market landscape for electric motorcycles and electric scooters.
With well-known players such as Yamaha and Harley-Davidson poised to expand offerings into this space, and low battery costs making products more affordable, sales of these vehicles are expected to experience continuous growth in the coming decade.
Big manufacturers are also ramping up their activity, especially in the United States. Polaris Industries, a $2 billion revenue company that makes snowmobiles and electric vehicles, recently acquired fellow manufacturer Brammo’s electric motorcycle business. Many commentators see it as a warning shot to rival Harley-Davidson.
In terms of battery costs, units that would have cost more than $1,000/kWh just a few years ago can now be had for about one-third of the price, and the cost of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries is expected to continue to decline.
Increased use of Li-ion batteries, which offer vastly improved power densities and longer life spans over sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries, is expected to be a key technology trend as the market for electric motorcycles and scooters grows.
Stevie Muir thinks the future of electric motorcycling is promising: “We think numbers will continue to rise, especially as motorcycles help to reduce congestion and have the added benefit of reducing pressure on work-place parking. They can also be charged using a normal three-pin plug socket, a fact people are often surprised to hear.”
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