Power in Flux
  • Stalled motorbike market looks to eco-models for kick start

    By Makoto Fukumori on Aug 17, 2010
    Published on Yomiuri

    With the domestic motorcycle market languishing at about 10 percent of its peak, due mainly to declining interest among young people, the industry is betting that eco-friendly innovations will rejuvenate sales.

    The so-called Big Four domestic motorbike manufacturers--Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki--are introducing electric motorcycles in an effort to reinvigorate the market.

    Motorcycle sales overseas have been increasing due to growing demand in Asian and other emerging economies.

    Read more HERE
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Stalled motorbike market looks to eco-models for kick start started by elmotomaster View original post
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. electrician's Avatar
      electrician -
      Too little. I expected more from the big four Japanese manufacturers. All of their new EV-bikes have too short of range. Brammo is going to lock up the EV-bike market unless others start increasing their range and speed.
    1. magicsmoke's Avatar
      magicsmoke -
      I couldn't disagree more.

      I think the big four's stance is a very real world indicator of the state of electric vehicles. Short range, light weight scooters is where the money and acceptable performance is.

      Exotic, expensive, sporty electric bikes on a par with their ICE cousins are a long way off, even for Brammo.

      If and when the breakthrough comes, you can be sure that the big four will be the ones making it, and any flies in the ointment such as Brammo, Zero, Quantya etc will very quickly have their supply chains severed.

      In the mean time, a couple of hundred sales here and there aren't going to upset the Honda and Yamaha business machine that is selling 2.9 million and 3.5 million ICE units per 3 and 6 month periods respectively.

      Rob
    1. markcycle's Avatar
      markcycle -
      now those numbers put this EV motorcycle thing in perspective

      Mark
    1. electrician's Avatar
      electrician -
      @Rob - But who is going to buy them? What is their demographic?

      Too short of range for commuters.
      And if they are expecting college age kids to buy them, the costs aren't cheap, so why not buy a longer range ICE scooter instead for an equal price?

      The Empulse has the range and speed. If they could put their battery/motor configuration in a variety of scooter and motorcycle styles I think they have a real winner that will give the big four a run for their money.

      Bob
    1. magicsmoke's Avatar
      magicsmoke -
      Their demographic is the Asian market, All ages!

      Presently, 98% of global eBikes and eMotorcycles are sold in China
      http://www.pikeresearch.com/research...wheel-vehicles

      America, Europe and Britain need to wake up and realise that the reason there's no Asian competition to our 'little four' domestic eBike manufacturers is because they can't be bothered, but if we poke the sleeping tiger too much IT will wake up!
    1. electrician's Avatar
      electrician -
      Interesting.

      And China has the market cornered on the materials that make lithium Ion batteries. So if we all go to electric then instead of being dependent on the Arabs we will be dependent on the Chinese?

      http://www.moneytalks.net/daily-upda...hs-market.html
    1. markcycle's Avatar
      markcycle -
      The price point of the western world E-Motorcycles is way out of reach to the Chinese. Everything they buy is lead acid and goes less than 20 MPH. They would be wise to stay away for price point reasons

      Just adding if they can't sell something by the millions they aren't making it.
      Mark
    1. markcycle's Avatar
      markcycle -
      The motorcycle market is failing just like the boat market, Problem is people see motorcycles as a recreational item and not transportation in the USA. Electric motorcycle aren't going to change that thinking.
      A good economy will help but only as far as people are buying recreational items. Changing the mindset of people to think of motorcycles as transportation, with the way people drive cars around here, well good luck. Plus motorcycles really aren't for most, I ride one 20 to 40 miles every day and I'll be the first to say it's not for most people, at least not riding the bike as everyday transportation. The focus and skills needed to stay alive on a bike on a every day basis just is not part of the skill set of most people no matter how much training you give them. A Sunday joy ride a few times a year, which is what most people use there bikes for, sure. Anyway that's my rant on selling E-Motorcycle in the USA. In Europe the picture is better maybe much better.

      I want to add the big four may be getting into electric scooters for a reason us motorcyclist don't see. The growth may be in bikes that keep it slow and safe to get a new market segment riding, the scared and frightened.


      Mark
    1. markcycle's Avatar
      markcycle -
      Quote Originally Posted by electrician View Post
      Interesting.

      And China has the market cornered on the materials that make lithium Ion batteries. So if we all go to electric then instead of being dependent on the Arabs we will be dependent on the Chinese?

      http://www.moneytalks.net/daily-upda...hs-market.html
      Only as it stands today because the Chinese have kept prices low enough but the raw material resources exist in many places in the world and are being developed, its not really like oil at all. If demand gets big enough watch mines happen in the USA and Australia it just takes years to bring a mine online.


      Mark
    1. electrician's Avatar
      electrician -
      I hope you are right as far as the US and Australia getting mines online.

      Motorcycle ridership got a boast when gas prices went up to $4 a gallon. When that happens again, maybe there will be another bump.
    1. Richard230's Avatar
      Richard230 -
      I concur with Mark regarding his view of motorcycles for transportation in the US. The auto drivers in this country can't even handle a manual transmission and clutch, much less operate a motorcycle in traffic. They just don't acquire these skill sets when growing up and don't have the commitment to want to learn. The only time that will change is if there is another "gas crisis" and the Arabs cut off the flow of oil. This is only likely to happen if someone happens to bomb a nuclear reactor or two in Iran.
    1. cycleguy's Avatar
      cycleguy -
      Quote Originally Posted by markcycle View Post
      The motorcycle market is failing just like the boat market, Problem is people see motorcycles as a recreational item and not transportation in the USA. Electric motorcycle aren't going to change that thinking.
      A good economy will help but only as far as people are buying recreational items. Changing the mindset of people to think of motorcycles as transportation, with the way people drive cars around here, well good luck. Plus motorcycles really aren't for most, I ride one 20 to 40 miles every day and I'll be the first to say it's not for most people, at least not riding the bike as everyday transportation. The focus and skills needed to stay alive on a bike on a every day basis just is not part of the skill set of most people no matter how much training you give them. A Sunday joy ride a few times a year, which is what most people use there bikes for, sure. Anyway that's my rant on selling E-Motorcycle in the USA. In Europe the picture is better maybe much better.

      I want to add the big four may be getting into electric scooters for a reason us motorcyclist don't see. The growth may be in bikes that keep it slow and safe to get a new market segment riding, the scared and frightened.


      Mark
      Mark, I agree 100%. In our current economy, recreational vehicles are the first to go. In the days when cheap, easy credit was available, and your house was continuously increasing in value, it was very easy to take cash out of your home equity to purchase your playthings. Those days are gone, and are not coming back. The only way this economy is going to recover is when people have enough income to afford buying their toys with their disposable income rather than their credit card. It will be a long tough road to travel before we get to that point, if ever again.
    1. electrician's Avatar
      electrician -
      Or when they are not just toys anymore, but a necessity, like when it gets to the point where it is more economical to drive electric motorcycles and cars.
    1. Gestalt's Avatar
      Gestalt -
      you know, a friend of mine posed the idea that we build some simple electric bicycles and tour areas in bolivia to get some ev exposure there. once people start getting exited about the idea of using one of the greatest deposits of lithium in the world to fuel their own economy the lithium will also start flowing to the rest of the market. not to mention it would be nice to start having ev battery suppliers that weren't based in china, at least for us yanks.
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