Electric cars may have finally reached the tipping point where society en masse begins moving towards them, at least in America and Europe. In the developing world though, another kind of EV revolution is taking place, albeit on two wheels instead of four.
The latest study from Navigant Research says that in the next ten years, 55 million electric motorcycles and scooters will be sold, and more importantly, markets outside of China have the potential for huge growth.
The Chinese economy currently accounts for 98% of electric two-wheeler sales, but in both Europe and North America consumers are warming up to the notion. For one, electric motorcycles and scooters are a lot cheaper than their automotive equivalents, and yet a Brammo Empulse, which can be had for as little as $6,995 right now thanks to a special deal, can travel up to 80 miles between charges.
That’s about as far as the Nissan LEAF, albeit under favorable city-driving conditions. Meanwhile, many electric scooters have a range of 25 to 30 miles, and while they may not be as fast, they’re a cost effective alternative to public transportation or a car. Another benefit is that the smaller battery packs don’t need home charging stations; a normal outlet is often enough, they public charging stations can top off many of these vehicles in just an hour or two. Meanwhile electric two-wheelers deliver just as much fun and performrance as their combustion-powered counterparts, which is why companies like Harley-Davidson are getting on the hype train.
Still, it all comes back to cost, and while electric cars are certainly getting cheaper, so are electric motorcycles and scooters. Pretty soon there could be a negligible price difference between combustion and electric drivetrains, and when faced with the option, many consumers in urban areas and developing nations are likely to choose the vehicle that costs a lot less to operate.