For many years electric motorcycles have been on the verge of going mainstream. Now in 2022, it finally seems like it’s happening. Bikesure takes a look at the current state of the market, some of the best electric vehicles available and some of the most exciting ones on the horizon.
Two years on since our last article, sales figures of electric bikes in the UK have increased substantially. Numbers are still a fraction of their internal combustion-powered siblings, but when you consider in 2020, total registrations of new vehicles were just over 2,400, rising to 6,000 in 2021, the 1,900 registered by the end of March 2022 indicate this will be the biggest year to date for electric motorcycles.
The majority of new vehicles being bought are in the 1-4kw range, which is equivalent to 50-125cc. This is almost certainly down to people looking for cheap urban transport, whether it’s for personal use, or for work. Electric powered scooters and mopeds have become regular sights on roads in the UK, so there’s never been a better time to ditch petrol power.
Some of the most popular electric scooters in the UK in recent years have been made by Super Soco.
The CPx has been a particularly strong seller recently, and it’s easy to see why. For £4k (or £5k for a dual battery model) you get a good looking modern scooter with a maximum speed of 56mph and a decent range that should easily keep you going throughout the day. It’s suitable for A1 license holders, which makes it perfect for new riders too.
Super Soco have also got the TC Max, which is a stylish number with 60mph maximum and a stated range of 60 miles to a charge, although as with any battery powered vehicle, there is no way it’ll reach that, unless you live in a city with perfectly flat, smooth roads. Nonetheless, for £4,400 it’s an impressive bike.
A new contender, Sunra are the biggest EV brand in China, selling over four million units a year. Their range includes the Robo-S, which is comparable in speed and mileage to the Super Soco CPX for £3,300.
Their motorcycle, the Miku Super, is also pretty interesting with its striking looks. Its floating seat is the kind of design choice you can make when you don’t have to fit a conventional engine into the frame.
Not everyone is looking for an urban runabout. If you’re after a little off-road electric action, Sur-Ron have you covered. Their LB-X is a lightweight and nippy dirt bike, and it’s also available in a road legal version if you want to cover all eventualities.
Larger manufacturers have been slower to make the move to electric, but when they do the results are impressive. BMW’s CE 04 is a sleek and futuristic scooter packed with advanced technology that gives it the ability to reach a maximum speed of 74mph. It also comes equipped with customisation options including fast charging. This level of tech increases the cost considerably, with prices starting from £11,700.
The scooter-heavy nature of this article is because of the level of technology and skill required to make a “proper” electric motorcycle. To get the kind of speed, acceleration and control bikers want, you need top-quality motors, advanced batteries and a high degree of technical skill to put it all together. Zero are one of the innovators of electric motorcycles and since they were founded fifteen years ago, they have established a reputation for producing some of the best electric motorcycles. The 2022 model of their SR/F streetbike will give you the full electric motorcycle experience of your dreams, but it will require you to find at least £22k to buy it.
Another of the big names in the world of electric bikes, Energica brings lashings of Italian flair to their range. As with the Zero range, that flair means a hefty price tag, with the EsseEsse9+ starting at £24k. Until the costs of producing high-powered electric motorcycles come down, the real action is going to remain focused on scooters.
Even pricier, but also more available than the Energica, the Harley-DavidsonLivewire starts at just under £29k. Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorbike is quite a break from its history in terms of looks. It’s more reminiscent of a cafe racer than Harley’s iconic chopper, and includes all the top end components and technological refinements you’d expect of a big, expensive bike. A maximum range of around 140 miles gives you an indication of the kind of money you need to spend to match the performance of more powerful ICE motorcycles, but the Livewire makes a convincing argument to justify its cost.
Piaggio has a strong claim to being considered the inventors of the modern scooter thanks to the Vespa, and it followed up on the release of the Vespa Elletrica a few years ago with the Piaggio 1 Active, a low-cost, but high-quality electric scooter at just £2,500.
As noted, the big motorcycle manufacturers are taking their time to get their electric offerings right. Yamaha have been teasing their electric range for a few years, with their EC-05 scooter being released in Taiwan in 2019. This year looks like it will be the year they start releasing bikes in the rest of the world.
As can be seen in the presentation video, they’re also focusing on urban mobility with scooters, moped hybrids and bicycles. This makes a lot more sense than focusing on high-ticket items that can only be bought by the wealthy, as one of the main aims of moving to electric is to reduce climate-damaging emissions as much as possible. Producing low-cost transport options will achieve this far more than expensive, desirable toys for the few.
Luxury electric motorcycles still have their place. We need companies willing to work on the cutting edge to push things forward, plus they’re often really cool. The Arc Vector is a British creation, and arguably one of the coolest electric motorcycles with its caferacer-from-the-year-3000 looks and carbon-fibre design. But after the company went bankrupt a year after it was initially announced in 2018, it seemed like Arc Vector would be the one that got away. Luckily in October 2020, it was announced that all was not lost, and in 2022, the bike started being delivered to customers. At £120k, this is something only the 1% will be able to ride, but they’re going to have an amazing time on it.
Another of the ‘Big Four’ on the verge of possibly entering the world of electric. Kawasaki recently showed off something that, while not a motorcycle or a scooter, demonstrates another possible future for personal transport. The Ibex is a four legged, goat shaped robot capable of carrying one person.
It’s obviously mostly a gimmick (and a rather slow one at that), but combine that with the mobility of Boston Dynamic’s Spot and the possibilities become incredibly exciting. Imagine riding around town on your robot horse. Just try and tell us that wouldn’t be cool.
One thing for sure is that the next few years will be an incredibly exciting time in the history of electric vehicles.
Insurance for your new electric bike
Whichever electric motorcycle or scooter you choose to invest your cash in during 2022, you can provide it with the very best protection by getting a bespoke insurance deal from Bikesure, the specialist electric scooter and motorcycle insurance broker.
Call Bikesure on 0808 506 2074 for a fast quote, or book a callback at a time that suits you.