Electric Bikes to Grow 10X by 2018 in North America

Navigant Research have released a study summary claiming that the yet juvenile American electric scooter and motorcycle market will not simply take a foot hold, but grow by ten fold in the next five years. Navigant’s principle research analyst Dave Hurst:

“The market for e-motorcycles and e-scooters will grow as manufacturers provide more robust features, including longer range capability, better performance and, in the case of e-motorcycles, higher speeds. The North American market is still very much in its infancy, but the United States will see strong growth, with a compound annual growth rate of greater than 50 percent through 2018.”

At first pass, this summary reads a bit like “if you build it, they will come” but the USA scooter market is a fickle thing — a truth conventional scooter manufacturers have learned the hard way. Additionally, this seems to assume that the technological limitations of range and performance endemic to electric scooters will be offset, not by tech advances, but by people having different expectations for how they’ll use electric bikes. Primarily, Navigant expects people will use electric two-wheelers as supplementary, not primary ways of getting around. The report acknowledges that currently the primary reason Americans purchase two-wheelers is for recreation, yet still expects a significant number of people to change their mind and start using electric scooters or motorcycles for some primarily practical aspect of their transportation. Principally, commuting and errand running.

One part Navigant definitely has right is the attention being paid to electric vehicles by major manufacturers. We’ve reported already on how both BMW and KTM have announced plans to bring electric vehicles to market. Honda has been showing electric concepts for years and likely isn’t far behind on a production offering. Both Brammo and Zero continue to build a customer base with their electric motorcycles, and even Vectrix is teasing a new model better aimed at scooter riding’s sweet spot.

Meanwhile, mainstream buyers are definitely starting to warm up to electric cars. Pioneering electric automaker Tesla is not only outselling luxury car makers like Audi with its Model S, but it’s re-payed its federal loans nearly a decade ahead of schedule. With Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs an every more common sight, people are definitely warming up to the viability of electric vehicles. Whether or not that comfort and familiarity will really translate to electric motorcycle and scooters sales is another matter. Navigant thinks it’s a key factor. We’ll need only wait a short five years to see if they’re right.

Source: Navigant Research

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