Zero Motorcycles CTO Abe Askenazi on the future of two-wheeled EVs

Electric cars and buses have already begun to take over the world, as evidenced by daily sightings of EV brands like Tesla, Prius, Bolt and Proterra on U.S. roads. But two-wheeled EVs are still a rare sight. The motorcycle industry has been much slower to put out all-electric and hybrid models relative to peers in automotive.

Big brands like Harley, Honda and Ducati don’t have EV motorcycles on the market today, though customers have indicated interest when they’ve teased electric concepts. And a few startups have failed to make electric bikes that could give combustion engine models a run for their money.

Mission Motors went bankrupt. Brammo put its Empulse EV motorcycles out there to some fanfare, but the small Oregon-based startup sold its bike business to Polaris. The parent company of Victory Motorcycles, Polaris eventually killed off the Empulse. And Brammo now sells power systems to other vehicle and equipment makers.

Survivors and newcomers are still churning out EV motorcycles, though. They include Zero Motorcycles, Lightning Motorcycle and Alta Motors in the U.S., Energica Motor in Italy and China’s Evoke Motorcycles. All are helping to awaken market demand. According to forecasts from ID Tech Ex, the market for smaller electric vehicles, including motorcycles, will comprise about 5 percent of overall EV sales, generating some $35 billion annually by 2027.

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