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Why buy an electric motorbike?

Do you know anyone who rides an electric motorbike? In Australia, they are few and far between. Like electric cars, they are expensive and don’t travel far on one charge. When prices fall and battery capacity rises, electric motorbikes may appeal to a different kind of person to the one who rides a loud, throaty machine.

Electric v petrol motorbikes

Why buy an electric motorbike? The simple answer is they need almost no maintenance and have zero emissions.

However, traditional motorbikes still have the edge. They are cheaper than traditional cars, but electric motorcycles are expensive. You can ride a long way on a full tank, but electric bikes have limited range. Last, motorbikes have a distinctive, loud sound, which electric motorcycles completely lack.

Australia is not an easy market for manufacturers – our population is quite small for such a large and sprawling land. The biggest electric motorbike company, Zero, pulled out of Australia in 2017 and has not returned, because it was unprofitable. But there are some motorcycle makers selling in Australia.

Electric motorbikes in Australia

Savic is the first Australian-born motorcycle company. It makes its motorcycles in Melbourne and Taiwan. Depending on the model, Savic bikes can travel 120-200 kms on one charge. The Alpha, for example, accelerates from 0-100km per hour in 3.9 seconds – what they call “instant torque”.

Fans of Harley Davidson can pre-order its first all-electric motorbike, the LiveWire, for just under $50,000. It takes only 3 seconds to go from 0 to 100kms per hour. They have a range of 235/150 kms in the city/highway and recharging takes about 40 minutes on a DC fast charger.

Also available in Australia are Evoke Electric Motorcycles. Riders of the Urban can expect to ride about 200 kms on one charge, which takes 3 hours with a 240 volt plug.

These ranges may seem low by car standards but most riders don’t travel that far. However, riding a motorcycle, whether electric or not, seems to make people happier than driving cars.

Riding makes you happy

Research by YouGov reported 82% of motorcyclists claim riding makes them happy, compared to 55% of motorists. In fact, 51% of motorcycle riders said the main reason they do it is for mental wellbeing. They had other reasons too:

  • 41% relish the sense of freedom
  • 34% enjoy fresh air and being in nature
  • 25% started riding for a quicker commute.

Recognising the health benefits of riding, Black Dog Ride began in 2009 to raise awareness of depression.

Ride to Work This Thing Out Week

This September 21 to 27 is Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Week. However, ‘To Work’ is replaced by ‘Ride This Thing Out’ in recognition of Covid. Motorcycles may help people get back to work because they offer socially distanced transport, while avoiding traffic and parking problems.

Remember, motorcycle riders pay CTP insurance based on the size of the engine, not the brand or model of bike. Riders with electric motorbikes pay the equivalent of 225cc engines.

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert greenslips.com.au

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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