Monday, 26 november 2018 | Redacción CEU
Combustion engine motorcycles are still far from disappearing. Nonetheless, it is true that the future of this means of transport looks electric. Traffic policies that are related to climate change, the promotion of shared transport and the commitment of major brands to electrification are driving their development. The electric motorbike is a real alternative to the new mobility. However, while electric cars capture all the attention, these types of vehicles do not receive the interest that they deserve yet. Today, at The CEU IAM Business School, we want to see the electric future on two wheels. What changes does the consolidation of electric motorcycles bring along? What are the particularities of this means of transport?
The new draft of the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, which was presented by the Government a few weeks ago, has unleashed a whirlwind in the motor world. The debate on full electrification has taken the streets, and now there are as many detractors as advocates. Countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and Norway have also developed similar plans that aim at putting an end to the use of these vehicles. European cities are not far behind, they have even approved regulations that go beyond the national measures that were proposed. We take as a starting point all these facts to explain that, although diesel and gasoline cars occupy a central place in this debate, everything indicates that combustion engine motorcycles may also disappear from the roads in a few decades.
Whether because an environmental awareness is permeating or because it is already necessary to resort to new formulas to be competitive, motorcycle brands are also aligning with the change. For example, in the last edition of The Milan Motorcycle Show (EICMA 2018), Harley-Davidson officially presented an electric motorcycle, LiveWire, a project in which the firm has been working since 2014. This vehicle will go into production next year and its launch is scheduled for 2019. In addition, Harley-Davidson plans to have a broad catalog of motorcycles and electric bicycles which meet the needs of different users in 2022. Another flagship brand that has decided to dive into the electric world on two wheels is Vespa. The Italian firm has been one of the first manufacturers to bet on this type of scooters. In fact, Vespa Elettrica is already on sale.
In this past edition of The Milan Motorcycle Show, the Harley-Davidson' proposal was not the only one that caught the visitors' attention. The electric supersport motorcycle of Kymco, SuperNEX, did it too. The Taiwanese firm believes that electricity does not have to be at odds with emotion. This brand has a sound commitment to electricity. This fact is confirmed by the launch of its plan called Ionex, a project that aims to accelerate the electric transition in urban environments and that the brand complements with a new generation of EV scooters.
Another fact that shows that the future of electric motorcycles is getting closer is the boost of shared mobility. As we mentioned in a recent article, the second property model in Spain is shared vehicles (cars, motorcycles, bicycles, ...). More and more companies are betting on motosharing in large Spanish cities. For example, in Madrid there are operators such as Muving, Ioscoot, eCooltra, Acciona Motosharing, Movo and Coup. The growing number of companies that opt for this type of shared vehicles is further proof of the increased trust of Spaniards in this type of mobility.
As it happens when we talk about electric cars, the first thing that comes to mind for most users when they think about electric motorcycles is what level of autonomy they have and how and where they can be recharged. Regarding the first point, electric motorcycles usually have a very low range, between 50 and 100 kilometers. That is why these types of vehicles are ideal for small journeys in urban areas, such as those that are usually made to go to work, but not to undertake large trips (at least for the time being). In any case, some of these motorbikes are already surpassing this figure and it is expected that over time they will achieve a much greater autonomy.
In respect of the second point, it is clear that the network of charging points is insufficient. Although, it is also fair to say that many of these models have removable batteries which makes recharging much easier and more accessible. On the other hand, the size of the batteries influences the autonomy that these motorcycles have, but also their weight. The complexity in the design of these vehicles lies in striking a balance in relation to both features. This will also depend on the type of motorcycle we are considering.
Of course, you cannot talk about electric motorcycles without taking into account one of the factors that the most nostalgic people will miss more about the traditional motorcycles: the sound of their engines. Motorcycles will no longer roar in the future. Harley-Davidson is aware of that. For that reason in one of the advertisements of its first electric motorcycle, the brand plays with the following sentence: "The strongest sound you will hear will be the sound of your heart beat". The lovers of two wheels will have no choice but to change the loud roar of an engine by a slight buzz, of course, also by a greater strength in torque and power.
At The CEU IAM Business School we bet on a training which is adapted to the changes that are currently taking place in this environment. Our Master's Degree in the Automotive Industry Businesses is aimed at those professionals who, within the automotive industry, want to give a boost to their career by following a methodology which is adapted to both the needs of their students and the environment in which they will work.