Are electric motorbikes the key to a green future?
The quest to find the greenest solutions for our growing transport demands continues to be at the front of the automotive industry decisions. It seems like every week another major manufacturer announces the move away from Diesel, as more hybrids and full electric vehicles enter service.
Most would think a reduction in emissions should be the main consideration, but what about congestion? Heavy traffic can be a major contributor to pollution, with twice as much energy displaced from stationary congestion rather then that generated by fast moving motorway traffic. With electric cars offering only part of the solution it could be that we see electric motorbikes leading the charge.
Richard Hatfield, boss of Silicon Valley-based electric motorbike maker Lightning Motorcycles, believes the experience of riding his high-performance electric super bike borders on the divine.
"There's something almost magical about riding a bike where you twist the throttle and you get this incredible acceleration: no noise, no vibration ...there's this seamless thrust," he enthuses.
Clearly the thrill of riding these bikes is apparent, but their size could be key to their mass adoption. Across Asia motorbikes are the backbone of mass transport, offering densely packed cities a solution to their ever-growing population. Motorcycles can be bought cheaply, run on a shoe string and take up little road space or parking. It begs the question why more aren’t utilised in some of Europe’s busiest cities?
It would seem for now the man barrier for EV bikes is cost. Like Tesla, early adopters are having to develop more economic tech for the bikes. A Lightning Motorbike’s price starts at an eye-watering $39,000. That’s a lot of money for a bike, but given the template created by Tesla, the third or fourth generation of these bikes could be far more affordable. Time will tell if EV bikes will gain the mass appeal they deserve, but it’s good to see that manufactures of another polluting industry are trying to make a difference.