The UK Government is about to provide a £1500 (about $2400) subsidy on the price of electric motorcycles and scooters to encourage their uptake.
While subsidies for electric and hybrid cars are provided by most European countries, Asian nations, Canada and most American states, only California so far includes motorcycles.
Meanwhile, the Australian Government has refused to offer subsidies on any electric vehicle.
In fact, the Luxury Car Tax acts as a disincentive since many electric or hybrid vehicles cost more than the price threshold.
The only concessions are in Victoria where there is a $100 rego discount on hybrid and electric vehicles and the ACT which waives stamp duty on electric vehicles.
While many people like the idea of an electric motorcycle or scooter, the main concerns are range and price.
Range is consistently increasing with new battery technology while a price subsidy could be just the incentive needed to give the electric vehicle industry a real boost.
UK and Californian electric motorcycle and scooter subsidies could be the start of a trend around the world which could encourage more manufacturers to produce more and electric motorcycles.
Harley-Davidson has their Livewire waiting in the wings, probably for just such a financial incentive.
The only electric motorcycles and scooters currently available in Australia are cheap Chinese electric mopeds and Zero electric motorcycles.
BMW has the C evolution electric scooter and Victory has the Empulse TT electric motorcycle, but they are not imported into Australia. Perhaps a subsidy could encourage them.
The British Government already provides a subsidy for electric cars and Motorcycle Industry Association CEO Steve Kenward welcomes the addition of electric motorcycle and scooters.
“This opens the door to zero-emission transport to people who have not been able to afford electric cars, which tended to have been a ‘lifestyle choice’,” he says.
“Motorcycles and scooters are an extremely accessible form of electric transport and have the capacity to significantly reduce congestion, since they share all the advantages of riding a regular powered two wheeler.
“Riders can filter through traffic, often use bus lanes and usually get closer to their end destination, cutting door to door journey times.
“Motorcycles are exempt from congestion charges with ‘fuel’ costing the equivalent of a penny a mile and nothing to pay for vehicle tax, plus cheaper or free parking.
“Switching to an electric motorcycle or scooter could result in huge savings for the average commuter, or for businesses which operate fleet vehicles.”
The UK grant will be made available for new road registered electric motorcycles and scooters reaching certain quality criteria, which include having a battery with five-year warranty and a good range. Details of subsidy eligibility are on the OLEV website.
The future of internal combustion engines is limited. Electric motorcycles are the future, whether we like it or not.
In fact, the Bundersrat, a top legislative body in Germany, has just voted to ban all internal combustion engines by 2030!