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). Electrification is the jump-start the industry needs to appeal to new audiences, and is why the likes of Harley Davidson, U.S. motorcycling icon and survivor of the great depression, is looking to re-invent itself by going electric.
Source: European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers, Motorcycle Industry Council, Bloomberg, IDTechEx
At the annual Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing conference this year, held by IDTechEx on November 14 - 15 in Silicon Valley, two front-runners in the e-motorcycle space are participating: Zero Motorcycles and Alta Motors. While both are quickly establishing themselves as leaders, today the companies are quite different - but are they headed in the same direction?
Zero has been around longer, and by our estimates at IDTechEx, is the market leader for e-motorcycles. From the beginning, it has targeted the premium urban segment. Among its most popular models is the S - ZF13.0, priced at $14,000 (before subsidies) with 250km of city range. This sets the bar for an urban e-motorcycle and has appealed to fleet operators and police departments from California to China, as well as individuals. Today, its international growth is outpacing its domestic growth as its strategy has shifted to look outside the U.S. and towards Europe and beyond.
On the other hand, Alta Motors differentiates itself by focusing on the niche off-road competition segment (two of its five models are not road legal). As this category prioritises performance over range, Alta uses a 5.8kWh pack throughout its line-up and sacrifices the cycle life in order to win the competitions it enters. The strategy has paid off, and the company made history when its Redshift bike was the first electric motorcycle to compete in the Erzberg Rodeo - an extremely tough enduro race held in Austria (it secured the 48th starting position after qualifying from the prologues out of 2000 riders).
Source: Alta Motors
In a strategy similar to Zero's, the company now intends to duplicate its success in urban markets beyond the U.S. Indeed, it recently showed concepts (pictured above) illustrating plans for a lighter e-scooter and e-bike, intended for markets in Asia. Mark Fenigstein, Chief Product Officer and co-founder, will discuss these concepts at the IDTechEx conference Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing, as well as the company's position on why the future of transportation and mobility may not be the automotive sector: rather it will be lightweight vehicles such as e-bikes, e-scooters, e-motorcycles, three wheelers, and small urban utility vehicles.
In addition, IDTechEx Research has developed forecasts by category and region for electric two-wheelers through 2018 - 2029 in a brand-new report. For full details see www.idtechex.com/EVtwowheel.
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 visit to Zero Motorcycles manufacturing facility in California, and company profiles based on interviews with Alta Motors and Fenris Motorcycles.
Top image: Zero Motorcycles Source: IDTechEx