Electric scooters and electric motorcycles already exist. As yet, no major manufacturer, such as Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki or Kawasaki has put an electric motorcycle on the market, but several companies are already producing electric scooters, begging the question, how long will it be before motorcycle enthusiasts begin to feel the same pressure felt today by auto enthusiasts? There is, of course, a staggering difference between the fuel economy of a typical car and a motorcycle, but in a few years, that will cease to be an effective argument. Many new motorcycles today achieve at least 50 miles per gallon or higher, with scooters achieving fuel economy much higher than that. With cars under increasing pressure to reduce fuel consumption, however, there are a good number of automobiles on the market today that are inching slowly toward the 50 mile per gallon mark. It could be just a few years before motorcycles and even scooters could be seen as inefficient.
Zero Electric Motorcycles
Because the market for electric motorcycles and electric scooters is so thin, there are relatively few companies producing them. Zero Motorcycles is one notable exception, producing electric motorcycles that not only rival petroleum-powered motorcycles, but in some cases, can best them. Based in Santa Cruz, California, Zero Motorcycles produces five different motorcycles. Two are street electric motorcycles, two are dirt electric motorcycles, and one is a dual sport. All models use an aircraft aluminum frame in conjunction with other lightweight pieces to ensure that the motorcycle is both quick and efficient. The side effect is their silence. Zero electric motorcycles are priced competitively with gasoline-powered motorcycles.
Brammo Electric Motorcycles
Another company producing electric scooters for adults today is Brammo, a company based in Oregon. Like Zero, Brammo motorcycles are entirely electric. The difference is that you can purchase hoverboards at some Best Buy stores. The four bikes they offer include the Empulse, Engage, Enertia, and Enertia plus. All these electric motorcycles are fully street legal.
Electric scooters are relatively rare in the United States, and even in Europe. They are most popular in China and India, but time will tell if they will make the jump to take over market share now dominated by Honda and Yamaha.
Whether electric motorcycles and electric scooters will actually be able to upset the balance of power tilted heavily toward gasoline-powered motorcycles in the next ten years is anyone's guess. Given that most of the electric motorcycle manufacturers are based in the United States gives them something of a leg up in that technically, they are more like Harley Davidson motorcycles, made in the United States. Could you see yourself trading the thrum of a well-tuned V-twin for the near silence of an electric?