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Almost every global industry is trying to adopt sustainable energy sources. The one industry that needs to transform its manufacturing processes and products is the automobile industry as automobiles consume the most petroleum, a non-renewable energy source. The automobile industry is a major contributor of carbon monoxide and other hazardous chemicals to the atmosphere, resulting in air pollution and ozone depletion. To fight this, most giant motorcycle manufacturers around the world decided to start manufacturing electric vehicles. Electric motorcycles are innovative machines and are considered the future of the motorcycling world. However, electric motorcycles are not as popular as gas-powered motorcycles in today’s world. There are several reasons why they are not selling as good as electric cars. Read this article to learn why electric motorcycles are failing.
1. Why Are Electric Motorcycles Failing
Several American electric motorcycle manufacturers, consisting of Arc Motors, Alta Motors, Mission Motors, and Brammo Inc., made waves at the time of their advent. However, they had to stop the production and have become history after not being able to make a mark within the e-motorbike market. These motorcycle brands primarily focused on producing electric motorbikes, which is why they couldn't return to producing gasoline-powered motorcycles. Meanwhile, only a few giant motorcycle manufacturers, including Harley Davidson, BMW, and KTM, are producing e-bikes and petrol-powered motorcycles. However, they are not able to make good sales from their electric motorcycle models. Harley Davidson was only able to sell 400 Livewire units, around 0.2% of the total Harley Davidson sales.
Meanwhile, the sales of fuel-powered motorcycles are increasing. The fact that gas-powered bikes are constantly upgraded over time also demonstrates that people do not prefer electric motorcycles over gas-powered motorbikes, or maybe the latest electric motorcycles have failed to impress riders.
On the contrary, electric cars are quite popular and are becoming common on the roads. Almost every giant automobile manufacturer has stepped into developing electric-powered cars or is working on various clean-energy vehicle projects. It shows that the consumers are willing to accept this change and move towards clean energy usage to power their vehicles. Let’s get deeper into why electric motorcycles are failing.
Also Read: TOP AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE BRANDS IN 2023
1.1 Low Range
The current electric motorcycles available on the market take longer to charge and provide a low range. If you compare it with a gas-powered motorcycle, it takes a few seconds to refuel the motorcycle and also ensures a good mileage compared to electric motorcycles. Currently, electric motorcycle manufacturers are trying to make better e-motorcycles with short charging times and high ranges. However, as of now, most electric motorcycles are not even capable of completing the number of miles as claimed by the manufacturer as these figures usually represent the range for ideal conditions.
1.2 Lack of Feel
Photo Credit: @Cycle Volta
It is difficult to convince an old and experienced rider to switch to an electric motorcycle as they are addicted to the old-school technology and conventional styling of motorcycles. Electric motorcycles are different from gas-powered motorcycles due to the lack of sound, rumble, vibrations, and the feel of a motorcycle. As a result, it is difficult to attract a large number of riders and potential buyers to buy electric motorcycles.
1.3 Lack of Customization
Motorcycle customization is a popular trend and business in the U.S. and other parts of the world. People love customizing their motorcycles to make them look and perform better. Most gas-powered motorcycles, particularly cruisers, are highly customizable. You can purchase an old motorbike and make it appearance new through customization and modifications. Meanwhile, customizing an electric motorcycle is not an easy job, and modifying an electric-powered motorcycle to improve its power is almost impossible.
There are several mods and customization options you can consider if you own a classic cruiser or a standard road motorcycle. Viking Bags has tons of luggage options and add-ons to improve the storage space, looks, comfort, and capabilities of your motorcycle by installing saddlebags, tank bags, sissy bars, fairings, crash bars, and backrests.
1.4 Lack of Reliability
Electric motorcycles are not as reliable as gas-powered motorcycles due to being complex and different. They are very sensitive to environmental and weather changes.
If the air is humid, moisture can enter the motor components and form a corrosive layer, resulting in the breakdown of electric motorcycles. Electric motorbikes are also not very dirt-friendly. If you go on a motorcycle trip on an electric motorbike in an area where the air is exceedingly contaminated with dust particles, it can cause several troubles within the motorbike. Electric motorbikes are vulnerable to damage in sandy or desolate regions. When the dust particles enter the electric components and cooling fans, it results in the drawing of heavy electric currents, causing overheating and motor failure.
Overheating is one of the most common issues with electric motorcycles. The overheating issue can cause the motors to fail. The motorcycle will continue to perform well if the external conditions are optimal. If the electric motorcycle is exposed to the environment and the weather changes constantly, its lifespan will decrease. Electric motorcycles require constant care and maintenance to keep them functional.
1.5 Lack of Trust
Although several popular electric motorcycle models are currently produced, there are still several reservations regarding the durability of electric motorcycles. Being a newer technology, people are finding it difficult to trust electric motorcycles. On the other hand, several petrol-powered motorcycles have been in production for more than five decades and are still popular among riders because of their reliability.
1.6 Lack of Charging Stations
Photo Credit: @Visor Down
One of the major reasons why electric motorcycles are failing is due to the lack of charging stations. If you compare it with a gas-powered motorcycle, you can easily find a gas station if your motorcycle runs out of fuel. The gas-powered motorcycle also has a fuel tank to store gasoline in it, ensuring a greater number of miles coverage on a single fuel tank. On the contrary, an electric motorcycle requires recharging as soon as the battery level drops. Until electric motorcycles become as common as gas-powered motorbikes, it will not be easier to find a charging station near you, especially if you are riding in the countryside and highways. This makes electric motorcycles limited to city traveling.
1.7 Highly Expensive
Photo Credit: @Top Gear
As of today, the electric motorcycles available in the market are quite expensive due to being categorized as luxury motorbikes. Electric motorcycles are produced in smaller numbers as they do not have an established market, which is one of the reasons why they are expensive. Meanwhile, the technology and components used in electric motorcycles are also expensive. There are also very few mechanics who can repair or maintain electric motorcycles due to not being very common.
The most popular, high-selling, and electric-powered two-wheelers are e-bicycles. They tend to do more business than electric cars and electric motorcycles. The reason is that they are simpler, easier to ride, and above all, cheaper. Motorcycle manufacturers have to bear in mind the market and purchasing power of their customers. The majority of the e-bike marketplace includes younger and novice riders who are not looking for high-end sports-style motorbikes.
Unlike fuel-powered motorcycles, electric-powered motorcycles require electricity to turn on their motor, lights, turn indicators, and use horns, they require high-powered batteries to be functional and run. They are geared up with excessive-powered motors to drive their wheels. To make electric motorcycles more powerful and improve their range, a huge power source is required and at the same time, the engineers are tasked to keep the overall weight low as well. To overcome this challenge, compact lithium-ion batteries are utilized in electric-powered automobiles which are highly-priced and are anticipated to live longer than batteries utilized in gas-powered motorcycles.
2. The Bottom Line
Electric motorcycles are the future of the motorcycling world. However, it is hard to tell how long it will take the electric motorcycles to reach a point where they become acceptable to the young and old riders alike. Modern electric motorcycles have certain flaws, including reliability issues, high cost, and lack of charging stations. Until these flaws are not taken care of by motorcycle manufacturers and cooperation by the transportation department, they will fail to make a mark. Electric motorcycles are one of the very few solutions to get rid of the air pollutants expelled by gas-powered motorcycles. As the technology becomes cheaper, there is a hope that the prices of electric motorcycles will decrease at a certain point in the future. After witnessing certain collapse stories of various electric motorcycle manufacturers, even the giant motorcycle brands have delayed their plans to mass produce electric motorcycles. The success of electric bicycles and low-cost, low-powered electric motorbikes and scooters gives a clear hint that electric motorcycle manufacturers should reconsider their production lines and market strategies to make electric motorcycles affordable and more common on the road.