Electric scooters and motorcycles are quietly competing with electric cars for dominance in the green-transportation future, and – according to analysts at the Pikes Research facility, the North American market will grow to more than 41,000 electric motorcycles and nearly 28,000 electric scooters by 2017.In other parts of the world, scooter and motorcycle markets benefit from government incentives and high (relative to US) gas prices that contribute to sales already, but cities worldwide are facing urban transportation difficulties due to population growth and rising fuel costs, which have led the Pikes team to predict significant e-bike growth in markets outside of the US, as well.
• Western Europe: 109,945 e-motorcycles, 91,625 e-scooters
• Pacific Asia: 2.7 mil e-motorcycles, 13.5 mil e-scooters
• China: 2.2 mil e-motorcycles, 19.5 mil e-scooters
Growth like this would boost the overall electric 2-wheeler market from its present size (approx. 17 million units in 2011) to an estimated (again, by Pikes Research) 138 million units by 2017.
Senior analyst Dave Hurst writes that increasing population density will become a challenge for transportation systems and that e-motorcycles and scooters have a strong appeal to consumers and governments, alike. “They are relatively low cost to own,” explains Hurst. “They do not take a lot of space, and are easy to maintain, therefore making them attractive for city dwellers. Governments also like these vehicles because they can utilize existing transportation and electricity infrastructure without the congestion problems and emissions impacts of conventional automobiles.”
What will it take to finally get Americans out of their cars and on to two wheels? Money and time are effective incentives. There are the strides being made in major cities on both coasts to promote the bike/motorcycle culture as a realistic alternative to cars in places like L.A. (where lane splitting is legal) and New York City. Maybe the added benefit of “being green” and staying (relatively) immune to gasoline prices will finally be the tipping point.