The markets for electric motorcycles and scooters (e-motorcycles and e-scooters) are growing as consumers become more aware of the products available.
As those products provide more robust features, including longer range capability and higher speeds, demand for e-motorcycles and e-scooters will accelerate even more quickly.
The significantly lower operating cost and falling prices of e-motorcycles and e-scooters have grown interest from fleet customers like delivery companies, police and security forces, and even taxi services in some regions.
The largest e-motorcycle and e-scooter markets by a wide margin are in China, due primarily to the availability of affordable vehicles. Additionally, in the Chinese e-scooter market, many of the vehicles are sold as e-bicycles; thus, they do not have to be registered.
The result has been a market that is expected to sell 1.8 million e-motorcycles and 8.7 million e-scooters in 2012. However, since 2011, the e-motorcycle and e-scooter markets in China have seen some significant cracking down by government agencies. Also of note, the Chinese government is expected to enforce new e-bicycle and e-scooter laws in 2013 that will in effect reduce manufacturers’ ability to market higher-powered vehicles without requiring driver’s licenses. If enacted (an open question at this time), these laws could have significant impacts on the Chinese market, pushing consumers toward lower-powered e-bicycles or higher-powered e-motorcycles.
Pike Research anticipates that the market for e-motorcycles will grow significantly in Western Europe (78% CAGR between 2012 and 2018), resulting in a market that will sell almost 150,000 e-motorcycles in 2018. The North American market is also expected to grow, but it is starting at a much lower level and is expected to reach sales of only 16,883 vehicles by 2018.
Asia Pacific is expected to remain the key market for e-motorcycles, reaching 2.1 million vehicles, largely due to sales in China. Much of the e-motorcycle growth outside North America will be smaller e-motorcycles comparable to 51-125cc gas engines. In North America, the 126cc and higher equivalent e-motorcycles will see higher share than other parts of the world.
Overall, the e-scooter market is expected to see strong growth as well, with India becoming the largest market (1.1 million sales in 2018) outside of China (12.4 million sales in 2018). The North American, Western European, and Asia Pacific markets are also likely to see robust growth (40%, 39%, and 7% CAGRs, respectively) as employment picks up and consumers look for new transportation options within large cities.
The e-motorcycle and e-scooter markets are being driven by several key forces, including the following:
» Growth of two-wheel vehicles as a form of transportation.
» Increasing urbanization, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, where urbanization is expected to grow to 55% by 2015. The resulting increased traffic and pollution have driven significant government interest in promoting e-motorcycles and e-scooters.
» E-motorcycles and e-scooters are being positively affected by the electric car and light truck markets. Whether it is due to additional public charging infrastructure or an increased comfort with electric driving, many in the e-motorcycle and e-scooter industry are experiencing either more interest from consumers or increased sales as a result of the electric car and light truck growth.
» Increased interaction with the light duty market also comes with additional competitors, as light duty vehicle manufacturers are beginning to recognize the e-motorcycle and e-scooter markets as burgeoning opportunities. Interestingly, automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with powersports divisions (Honda, BMW, and Suzuki) have not been the first to market of the OEMs.
» E-motorcycle and e-scooter manufacturers are also recognizing that there are significant specialty market opportunities: e-motorcycles are often finding success with police and security forces, while e-scooters are finding a strong niche with delivery vehicles.
For the most part, e-motorcycles and e-scooters are utilizing either lead-acid or lithium ion batteries as energy storage technology. Lead-acid batteries have high power flow, but
are heavy, have low power density (a power-to-weight ratio of 180 W/kg), and have a shorter life expectancy than other battery chemistries (about 200-300 charge and discharge cycles).
Lead-acid batteries are used in e-scooters because they can provide an affordable battery solution, but do not provide as long a driving range as Li-ion batteries. Li-ion provides life of about 3,000 cycles and is lightweight with excellent energy density, which makes it a good choice for e-motorcycles and e-scooters. Increasingly, lithium iron phosphate
(LiFePO) and lithium manganese oxide (LiCoMnO4) are becoming the chemistry of choice for e-motorcycle and e-scooter manufacturers. The use of Li-ion batteries for e-motorcycles and e-scooters is anticipated to grow rapidly at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% and 20%, respectively, between 2012 and 2018. Despite this growth, Li-ion currently only makes up about 5% of the total e-motorcycle and e-scooter markets. However, this percentage is expected to grow to 15% by 2018.[source: Pike Research]