The market space occupied by electric motorcycles is expanding year by year, and the technology is making great progress. Charging is faster, range is longer, and available models and charging infrastructure are constantly expanding. But did they outweigh the proven advantages of the new petrol-powered bikes? We weigh each individual’s merits and come to a verdict.
High on the list of reasons why electric bikes are better than petrol bikes is lower emissions. The environmental benefits of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are enough to convince many to make a buying decision and come to accept the inconvenience of charging time and range. A report from Argonne National Laboratory also found that while producing electric vehicles produces higher production and end-of-life emissions, the end-to-end emissions are significantly lower than those of gasoline vehicles. . According to the EPA, the carbon footprint of electric vehicles remains small even after accounting for the emissions associated with generating electricity while charging.
Charging and maintenance costs are also generally lower for electric vehicles. For example, a report from the Transportation Energy Association found that most charging occurs at home, with the average cost of electricity for a kilowatt hour for home consumers in January 2023 just over $0.15. Recharging takes place at Electrify America stations, one of the largest networks in the United States. At the time of writing, it is $0.48 per kWh. As you know, gas prices are very expensive even in the best of times. Charging stations are also becoming more prevalent, with more than 130,000 in the US as of March 2023. The US government also passed an infrastructure law calling for 500,000 base stations to be installed nationwide by 2030.
Some people see other elements of e-bikes as advantages, such as quieter operation and instantaneous torque. Many e-bikes have storage space instead of fuel tanks and are often heavier than traditional e-bikes, but most e-bikes are designed with a low center of gravity to maintain handling characteristics. . See our review of the Zero DSR/X Adventure Bike for an example of this last point.
Another advantage is the constantly expanding range of electric bikes. Today, you can choose from adventure bikes, off-road bikes, scooters, cruisers, minibikes, retro machines and standard street bikes.
Despite the increased range, petrol-powered bikes are still unbeatable when it comes to time to refuel. Gas stations are also much more common and convenient. A proper charge for many electric vehicles takes him over an hour, whereas charging a bike takes only a few minutes. This might not be too much of an issue for commuters and day-to-day urban riders, but for many planning to venture on long roads, electric road bikes are a stepping stone.
Internal combustion engines require ongoing maintenance, but many drivers can manage what they need themselves. We also have more stores across the country that can handle larger tasks. In addition, there is also the immense quality of knowing your machine, the maintenance of your bike, and often taking pride in improving it with aftermarket mods. For many motorcyclists, riding a bike isn’t a deterrent, it’s a big part of what it means to ride.
Even fuel-powered bikes have more personality. A V-twin, for example, offers a completely different driving experience than an inline four-cylinder. Gearbox and powertrain characteristics, or air intake and exhaust system design all contribute to making a car more than just a machine. It’s a companion with quirks, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.
It may seem obvious, but the petrol-powered bikes are still the best so far. We know that fossil fuels are a finite resource and that raising environmental awareness is important, but the intangible of the internal combustion engine has yet to be surpassed. And the concrete factors are still compelling. Refueling is still the quickest and most convenient option. Drivers can usually find a local shop within miles of their home that can work on any mechanical project. It also has a much lower barrier to entry for cost reasons, and the bike looks better overall. There may be a future where electric motorcycles take the crown, but we’re not there yet.