The Freedonia Group, an international industrial research company based out of Cleveland, OH, recently released a study entitled “Global Motorcycles,” where analyst Gleb Mytko sees growth for electric motorcycles in the U.S.
The limited availability of electric motorcycles has historically been a major barrier to the more widespread use of these machines in the U.S. Currently, only a handful of manufacturers sell electric motorcycles in the U.S. and their electric model offerings are generally limited. However, the situation has started to change in recent years, and the nascent U.S. electric motorcycle is well positioned for strong growth. As consumer interest in electric motorcycles has risen, manufacturers have begun to offer both high performance and affordable models.
In August 2017, BMW Motorrad announced that it would begin to sell its C EVOLUTION electric scooter (available in Europe since 2014) in the U.S. in 2018. While this model will initially be available only in California, BMW Motorrad plans to offer nationwide distribution down the road. The C EVOLUTION – which has 48 horsepower and a maximum range of 100 miles – is able to compete with most internal combustion engine motorcycles in terms of performance.
In mid-2018, Harley-Davidson announced plans to release its long awaited LiveWire electric motorcycle in 2019 and two more electric models in 2022. The new machines are the first steps of its strategy to establish itself as a leader in the U.S. electric motorcycle market, which is critical to Harley-Davidson’s long term success.
In July 2018, U.S.-based CSC Motorcycles unveiled its CITY SLICKER electric motorcycle, which the company plans to sell for less than $2,000. At this price point, the CITY SLICKER will be among the most affordable electric motorcycles offered in the U.S. Designed specifically for use in major U.S. cities, the CITY SLICKER can reach speeds of 46 mph and has a range of 30 to 50 miles.
As they become more widely available, the popularity of electric motorcycles is expected to grow considerably in the near term. Through technological innovation, manufacturers have been able to narrow the performance gap with ICE motorcycles that existed historically. In addition to their environmental credentials and lower purchase price, electric motorcycles weigh less, are easier to handle, operate more quietly and have lower maintenance costs.