As battery technology improves, electric motorcycle prices are bound to come down and the move is being led by Zero Motorcycles.
The American company has announced it is slashing the prices of all of its offerings by about 10% which is as much as $1350 in the US.
They say this is due to falling battery costs and increasing battery energy density. It comes shortly after the company received a $1m grant from the California Energy Commission to continue developing its electric motorcycles.
However, the price drop is unlikely to be reflected in Australia just yet because of the current rising value of the US dollar.
New importer, Jeff Gleeson, who also distributes Gas Gas, Christini AWD bikes and AJP motorcycles, says the reduction in the US pricing is “much appreciated”.
“However all it does is partly reduce the negative effects of a rapidly depreciating Australian dollar and an earlier increase in our purchase price when the 2015s were released with the introduction of ABS brakes and Showa suspension front and rear,” he says.
“The US-to-Australian dollar rate is killing us at the moment; no two ways about it. I’d like nothing better than to advertise a price drop, but we will need a significant change in the value of the Australian dollar before that can happen.”
While Zero has been the biggest seller of quality electric motorcycles, they now face stiff competition from the mainstream motorcycle manufacturers.
Polaris recently bought their main competitor, Brammo, and will release a production Victory Charger electric bike later this year. Harley Davidson has shown its LiveWire concept bike around the world and will release a production version in two to three years.
Meanwhile, Yamaha, BMW and KTM are selling electric motorcycles and scooters and the president of Ducati was rumoured to have ridden an electric conversion bike recently that made him seriously consider electric power.
However, the biggest hurdle to consumers is no longer range and recharging times which have significantly improved in the past year, but price.
But Jeff says ownership costs need to be considered, rather than just initial price.
“When people are looking to purchase a Zero, they know it’s not a cheap bike,” says Jeff.
“They accept they are purchasing new technology now instead of fuel, oil, air filters, oil filters, gasket kits, engine rebuilds, etc over the life of a conventional bike. When these normal costs are considered over a period of time, the Zeros are not expensive at all, and actually represent very good value for money.”