For their affordability and low running cost, ordinary bicycles tend to be the first mode of transport for the poorest populations in India, China and south-east Asia. Urbanization in these countries has been and is increasing rapidly - a trend that is correlated with a rise in individuals' wealth and purchasing power. This first leads to sales of two-wheelers with an engine (mopeds, scooters and motorcycles), and then, eventually, car sales.
India, alongside Vietnam, is in the second phase of this narrative: GDP per capita has risen sharply in the past decade, and motorcycle sales have surged as two-wheelers have become the 'family car'. India is now the largest motorcycle market in the world, with sales of over 20 million units in FY17, up 15 percent. It overtook China in the early 2010s, and growth looks set to continue in 2H 2018.
This is why the findings of the brand new IDTechEx Research report Electric Two-Wheelers 2019 - 2029 expects growth of electric two-wheelers to accelerate internationally beyond Europe, the U.S. and China in the following years as fresh government targets are set, technologies improve (making the vehicles more practical), cost parity is approached, and market leaders and OEMs begin to turn their heads away from premium segments and towards high-volume categories.
Ever since the economic crisis, the motorcycle market in the U.S. has stagnated at roughly 400,000 bikes per year, and the industry has struggled to attract younger, more safety-conscious riders. In fact, its rider base has been aging for decades (the case is similar in Europe, although the market is larger at over 900,000 motorcycle sales per year). This is one of the reasons the report finds companies like Harley Davidson, U.S. motorcycling icon and survivor of the great depression, looking to re-invent itself by going electric.
Source: European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers, Motorcycle Industry Council, Bloomberg, IDTechEx
Harley's LiveWire project, which dates back to 2014, was the first signal that the company intends to move beyond its v-twin traditionalists and appeal to new markets. While the project stagnated for four years, with the prototype suffering from poor range, its recent investment in eight-year-old start-up Alta Motors has cemented its decision. In an investor presentation last month it uncovered plans to not only release Livewire next year but to release at least two more 'accessible power and price point' models in the 2020s, including a light-weight urban category bike. While the form and function of these models are still unclear, it is quite possible the company plans to release a premium e-bike (its concepts look similar to an Optibike) and will target high-volume markets like India.
Based on a global assessment IDTechEx Research has developed forecasts by category and region for 2018 - 2029.
The key takeaways / benefits of the research in this report are:
- Analysis of where e-bikes, e-scooters and e-motorcycles will be dominant and why, including historical data.
- Current year market size and forecasts up to 2029 by power class / speed: e-bikes <1kW and < 25kmph, e-scooters < 4kW and > 25kmph, e-motorcycles > 4kW.
- Current year market size and forecasts up to 2029 by region, including India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, China, U.S. and Europe.
- Comparison of different electric two-wheeler models - technologies, costs, players and government support.
- Market share of leading e-motorcycle manufacturers and comprehensive list and specification of current models.
- Report from a visit to Zero Motorcycles manufacturing facility in California, and company profiles based on interviews with Alta Motors and Fenris Motorcycles.