Could 2019 be the year of the electric motorcycle? Soon we’ll be seeing the new MotoE championship debut alongside the MotoGP world championship, while ULEZ zones will start appearing in London next month, and with more around the corner up and down the country soon, it’s hardly surprising that many riders are looking at electric motorcycles.
Inevitably many questions frequently crop up, so to help you decide if electric is for you or not, we’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions about a riding a two-wheeled EV.
How Much Do They Cost?
A small commuter bike like Artisan EV2000R comes in at £2,440, while the Artisan EV0 comes in at £3,295. Zero’s range start at around £9000 and go through to £20,000.
So it’s fair to say that the traditional purchase price of electric vehicles can be more expensive than the petrol powered counterparts, however the costs of running an EV will be significantly lower over time. With no moving mechanical parts in the engine, there is no need for oil changes, for example, meaning that only consumables like tyres and brake pads need to be replaced.
Road tax is free, and there are no ULEZ or congestion charges for city commuters. Ten units of electricity typically costs roughly the same as one litre of petrol and will take you between 45-70 miles on a middle-of-the-road model like the EV0. How many miles can you do on a litre of unleaded?
“How Long Does It Take To Charge?”
It depends! Most electric bikes can be charged through a standard domestic plug socket, which makes for a slow recharge overnight or while you’re at the office during the day. Charging the Artisan EV0 from flat takes 5-6 hours although it is rare the bike would be charged from empty. Higher end bikes have fast chargers that can be hooked up to the many public Level Two chargers that are emerging around the country and allow for a full recharge in an hour and half. In general, the more expensive the bike, the more advanced the charging system will be.
“What’s The Range?”
Again, it depends! There are so many factors at play here. The main one is the battery size (which is measured in kilowatt hours, or kWh). The bigger the size, the more energy it holds, although this will usually have an adverse effect on the bike’s weight and price. Other factors are aerodynamics, how much weight is being carried, gradients and temperature, because range is usually less in very cold conditions. The main factors are speed and throttle openings. Ride aggressively and at high speed and range will be low, ride smooth and limit the top speed and you’ll maximise your range. As an example, an Artisan EV2000R, fitted with two removable batteries, will cover around 80 miles on a single charge around town but range can drop depending on terrain and other factors.
“Can I Insure An Electric Motorcycle?”
A few years ago, getting insurance or finance on an electric motorcycle was a task in itself. These days, as they become more mainstream, insurance brokers such as Lexham Insurance are able to offer Comprehensive, Third Party Fire and Theft (TPFT) and Third Party Only insurance for many electric motorcycles.
“Do Electric Motorcycles Have Conventional Controls?”
On the whole, yes. Most electric motorcycles sacrifice a manual gearbox, as the huge torque figures mean that they run a twist and go style CVT transmission. But other than the lack of a clutch and gear lever, an electric bike will feel familiar for most motorcyclists.
“Do I Need A License To Ride One?”
Yes. Electric motorcycles are categorised in the same way as petrol bikes are.
This list of eligible riders for an Artisan EV2000R are:
- A rider aged 16 and over with a provisional moped licence and a CBT (compulsory basic training certificate)
- Anyone with a full car licence issued after Feb 1st 2001 and a CBT (compulsory basic training certificate)
- Anyone with a full car licence issued before Feb 1st 2001
- Anyone with any class of full motorcycle or moped driving licence
The Artisan EV0 is categorised as A1, so the law treats it the same as a 125cc petrol motorcycle. You’ll need to be:
- A rider aged 17 or over with a provisional licence and a CBT (compulsory basic training certificate) OR
- A rider with an “A1” or “A2” or “A” motorcycle licence.
“How Fast Are They?”
Like all motorcycles, some have been designed to go fast while others are built to commute around town. The Artisan EV0 can comfortably cruise at 80km/h, while the Artisan EV2000R has a top speed of 45km/h. American electric bike company Lightning hold the honour of producing the world’s fastest production with the LS-218, which is capable of 218mph.
The main characteristic of an electric motor is the torque and instant power delivery. Even the small stuff provide strong acceleration and close to three second 0-60mph times are commonplace in the electric motorcycle world.
“Do They Make Any Noise”
Not in the traditional sense. Electric motors are close to silent but give a ‘whoosh’ sound under acceleration, A distinctive sound of rubber on the road from the tyres can still be heard. Many riders don’t enjoy the idea of the a bike that doesn’t make noise, while some love the stealthiness of an electric motorcycle. Combined with the lack of heat and vibration from an internal combustion engine, it certainly makes for a different riding experience.