Friday, August 12, 2016

Why I write so little about Electric Motorcycles

I was updating the Electric Motorcycles link page and noticed (once again) that I seldom write about electric motorcycles. It always surprises me. I write about bicycles, electric bicycles, electric scooters, electric mopeds, and electric cars fairly often, but I rarely find myself inspired to write about electric motorcycles. I guess I got it out of my system before I started blogging. And for me, they don't make that much sense. It may also be that I live in a flat, boring place that does not inspire one to ride that much.

Getting it out of my system:

This one did it.

I once bought a brand-new electric motorcycle. I bought it discounted because it was an unsold earlier year model. It was a 2011 Zero XU. And it was a brilliant motorcycle - when it was working right. Which was rare. It literally traveled twice as many miles in the back of a pickup to be repaired by one of the nearest authorized repair facilities than it did under its own power. It had an advertised range of 25 miles. It had an 11 mile range on a warm day and an 8 mile range on cooler days. It would occasionally just shut off while I was riding it. And Zero was really terrible to work with for both me and for their authorized dealer/repair facility. I had dreamed of owning a Zero, and it turned out to be the single-most miserable ownership experience I have had in my life. So every time Zero announces a new model or extended range or a good discount...I don't bother to post about it. And Zero is truly the only significant electric motorcycle provider in the United States, snagit!


When you look at the cost of an electric motorcycle (or the cost of converting your own -  especially the batteries), it's hard to swallow spending that much money on a toy that will haul only one person and very little stuff. They are cool. They are sexy. They are fun. But they are not practical, and you have to pay for insurance and registration. When I had mine, I found myself constantly running home to get the car so that I could buy groceries or take someone with me. It made very little sense as transportation and I was not wealthy enough for it just to be a toy. So I don't write about them very often.


When I compare the virtues of an electric motorcycle to those of a Nissan Leaf or a Genze 2.0 Scooter or an Electric Yuba/Juiced Rider/Vanmoof/Radmini/etc., I start having a hard time being excited about another electric motorcycle. And until we see more electric motorcycles with attainable prices, I just don't see that changing - especially not when I can pick up a gently used Leaf plus a home charger plus a pair of Radwagon Cargo Bikes plus a plus a pair of Detroit Bikes plus a weekend getaway to the mountains with my wife for less money than one Empulse.

May we reach a point where we are overwhelmed with great electric offerings, but we are not there yet.