Why Are Electric Motorcycles So Damn Expensive?
I mean, yes, all new technology comes with a significantly higher price and all, since the manufacturer believes in two things: first of all, it's all down to making as much profit as possible given the present conditions. Nobody does anything just for the kicks, save for some mad scientists in a high-tech garage, like the ones we get to see in the sci-fi movies. Everybody wants to make money, even though you need to hide between tons of “green” crap. We can understand this, since it's the very essence of doing business.
Then it's the other thing connected to making money: people who think that since they're somehow among the first ones to come up with something which can really be used, this HAS to come with its perks. Financial perks, as daily praise earns little money.
This works for cars, bikes and motorcycles alike. Nobody wants to cut down profits because most of these guys, especially smaller producers can’t tell for how long they will still be in business before kicking the bucket or being swallowed by larger fish, to whatever end.
Meaning that the bigger fish, in case it's a visionary big fish and has some dimes to spare, will make the small electric vehicle business grow, and so on. Or, simply buying the small manufacturer just to stop him from making more e-vehicles which could one day mess up with the internal combustion engine market.
The Nissan Leaf price starts at around $35,000 (€27,146) for the base model. Add in some optionals, nothing really fancy and you get to the 45-grand bar. Then we look to buy a Brammo Empulse and the base price is just under $17,000 (€13,170).
Are you kidding me? An electric motorbike selling for half the price of an electric 5-seat car? Roof above your head, doesn't get insanely cold, other cars rarely crash into you because “they didn't see you coming” and all the rest of the car-associated fun.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I drive cars and I ride both bikes and motorcycles. And I WOULD ride an electric motorcycle if the prices were lower. But come on, once more we're looking at seventeen thousand US dollars.
If you're into saving fuel money for commuting, go buy a second-hand scooter, or even a used small bike in the 125cc or 250cc class for $500, and the rest of the money up to $17,000 will last you for a lifetime of riding. It's enough to last you to go around the world maybe more than once riding your scooter. And will also give you the ride of a lifetime.
I can almost hear the “Oh wait, we were trying to go green, that's why we wanted an electric bike.” Well, this leads to another thing the e-vehicle fans usually try to avoid: if the current recharging your e-bike or e-car comes from anything else than wind or sun (and hydroelectric, maybe), down the drain goes much of your “green.”
And guess what: the percentage of sun- and wind-generated electricity in the planetary grid is yet close to insignificantly low. Until we do our homework as we should and get into the really green electricity, much of our efforts to help the planet unfortunately will be in vain.
Claiming that the CO2 emissions from a car will disappear once you ride or drive an electric vehicle is just a fallacy: in fact, we're just switching the source of pollution. The energy required to move the car from point A to point B must come from some source and we have the two choices: we either produce it by burning petrol, or by using electricity which has been generated burning other fossil fuel such as coal, methane and so on. CO2 is still released in the atmosphere, back from where we left, back to the drawing board.
The solution is a very complex equation, and the manufacturers themselves only play a small role in this. Since they can't work for scrap, it's obvious that money should come from somewhere. States started offering various incentives and tax rebates, but they seem not enough to cut it. And with the entire world in crisis, maybe a new way to prioritize things would mean the real solution. State intervention could make this new technology both more affordable and maybe help the development of new, better, more efficient devices.
Yet it seems that the big players in the world economy are more on the warfare side and their real philosophy, often dictated by “corporate lobby” is to maximize profits and then “After me, the deluge.” And then it's going to be too late. Way too late.
Until then, still: when will decent electric motorcycles be TRULY affordable?
comments written so far
Another reason for added expense is engineered lightweight frames. Zero frames for instance tip the scales at around 18 pounds.
Prices will probably come down over time...