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Can you convince a petrolhead to go electric? By Suzi Perry, journalist and broadcaster

Green-Mopeds were invited to the Ace Cafe to try & convince journalist & committed “petrol head” about the advantages of electric two-wheeled bikes.
Here is how it went

I’ve been riding motorbikes for 25 years or so – petrol motorbikes mainly.

I fell in love with biking because of the sound, the smell, the feeling of total freedom on the road and basically I’ve always thought it’s pretty cool being a biker.

Now the team from 5 live’s climate change series Cool Planet have asked me to drag myself out of the dark ages and have a look into electric bikes.

I’ve ridden a few electric bikes and I must say I was very impressed with the immediate power delivery, but I’m yet to be converted – I would consider myself to be a purist…

So I went to meet some enthusiasts to see if they can convince me; motorcycle journalist Paul Blezard and Green-Mopeds who sells eight brands of electric mopeds and motorcycles.

You don’t hear them arrive when we meet at the bikers’ café off London’s North Circular road and this is one of my issues with electric bikes – no sound!

But that is one of the things Green-Mopeds likes about them – especially for trail riding – he calls them stealth machines.

But what about safety? I like to be on a bike and be able to rev my engine if someone is getting too close or to say I am coming by. Green-Mopeds say it doesn’t matter because “everyone’s walking around with their headphones on anyway”.

Doesn’t make it right though, does it…

He is not giving up though. “There are regulations coming in though from the EU so these bikes will have to make noise eventually,” he says.

Paul Blezard does admit electric bikes aren’t perfect yet, but for him they’re like a “magic carpet ride”, with plenty of power… you’re just floating along without noisy distractions.

Talking about noise, there’s no missing Ace Café owner Mark Wilsmore’s entrance.

“Pure poetry that sound,” he smirks as he revs it up to pull alongside the electric bikes plugged in to the charger on the wall.

He’s a dinosaur like me and is here to back me up.

And that is my other issue – the charging. When I go to a petrol station it takes me 30-60 seconds to fill up my bike and I’m off – not something you can say about an electric bike.

Green-Mopeds have a response for that; “the shortest charge on our bikes takes three and a half hours, but they also have removable batteries so you could charge it inside the house, or take multiple batteries, or take a charger with you and plug in to any 13 amp plug”.

That’s far too backward for Mark.

“This sounds like the early days of motoring when everyone rode horses – and if you drove, you had to take petrol with you because there weren’t any gas stations.

“And that’s the big issue with all electric vehicles. They all have different plug types and charge rates.”

Paul then tells me about friends of his who went around the world in 80 days on electric motorcycles back in 2010.

He says they had every kind of plug you could imagine and they were plugging into telegraph poles in Kazakhstan.

That’s all very well, but for people to make that switch from petrol to an electric bike it has to be made easy for them.

I’m wondering whether instead of trying to convert people, manufacturers will have more success aiming at a younger generation – in the same way Formula E have aimed at a younger generation as opposed to Formula 1.

If you’ve never really ridden petrol bikes and you jump on an electric bike, how brilliant – you have that instant speed and they’re so easy to use with a ‘twist and go’ scooter style throttle. But do you really get the thrill from electric?

Paul Blezard is a total convert: “You get a bigger oomph from the torque because you get maximum torque from zero revs – and you’ve got to be careful – they can spit you off if they don’t have traction control – I’ve seen it happen.

“And you get the regen braking so you don’t have to touch the conventional brakes at all, you can ride all day just opening and closing the throttle.”

So have they managed to convince me?

I’m convinced electric is the way things are going. Regulation and the environment are also on side.

I’m not convinced it’s as much fun as being on a petrol bike, but I do think with the developing technology that in time everyone will be on electric bikes and petrol bikes could become a hobby for purists.

And off they go with just a very slight whirring…

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Can Electric Mopeds & Motorcycles Help With Moped Crime?

I read with interest the piece from John Richards of Chelsea Scooters in last months Dealer News and wanted to comment.

There are two aspects to crime. One is the crime enabled by mopeds which according to the recent figures, in London at least has come down significantly in the last year thanks to some clever tactics employed by the Police themselves. While the national figure is over 400 per week, London has seen its share fall to under 300. Tactics include, more nimble scooters rather than the big heavyweight BMWs to enable them to follow where the thieves go, remote controlled spikes and florescent “DNA” spray enabling them to catch the thieves later.

The other aspect however is theft of the moped itself. According to the Met, over 14000 mopeds were stolen just in London last year. Some of these are then to be used by the moped thieves for their own crime but of course some are for re-sale, export etc. With these figures in mind, its no surprise Insurance rates are becoming challenging for riders.

While Richards comment is true that crime is a bigger problem than emissions, we would suggest there is a solution to both and that comes in the form of adopting electric motorcycles or mopeds.

While its obvious that electric can deal with the emission challenge, what it can also deal with is the theft problem. The reason being that the majority of electric mopeds and some of the lower end motorcycles come with removable batteries. Imagine if you were able to take out your 4 stroke OHC from your Honda Vision 110 when you left it (locked up) at night outside your house. That’s effectively exactly what youre doing with an electric motorcycle. Take out the batteries and it becomes useless to thieves. No hot-wiring possible, no taking it to a petrol station and riding off without paying before you go and steal someones mobile phone. Totally useless and to help in that, we provide stickers to all our customer that warn potential thieves that they are wasting their time and move on which is essentially what all deterrents are…..pick on the next guy not me.

If the bike was still stolen, would a thief want to pay the price of a new battery at about £700? I seriously doubt it in the same way would they want to pay for a petrol engine at not much less than that in a stolen moped if they needed one for it? So yes, by all means, lock it up, cover it up but removing the power source is a far better alternative in our opinion. Batteries weigh about 8KG so taking them short distances to your home or office shouldn’t be too onerous and all but one of our 7 ranges provide them.

With regards to Insurance being a challenge for would-be riders. Insurers should actually be  encouraging the take-up off electric mopeds for exactly this reason too and make “taking out batteries” a condition of providing lower insurance for them over petrol. This saving would then go towards to diminishing overhead electric purchases currently pay over their petrol equivalents to buy one.

Either through Government policy or choice, the days of electric mopeds and motorcycles are coming and this is just another advantage they carry over their noiser, dirtier and more expensive to run alternatives.

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ECCity 50 Electric Moped: The Green and Economic Commute

By Dr Huw Kidwell (PackThePjs) 22/5/18

Have you ever heard of an electric moped? Not a scooter that teens zip around on – but a full-sized motorbike moped? I hadn’t. Having met the CEO of Green Mopeds at the recent Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC, we were lucky enough to trial an electric moped for a couple of weeks. And I was really impressed with it.


With the increase in the price of petrol, electric transport is clearly the way to go. And with our congested roads, a switch to a moped/motorbike might just speed up your journey. Combine the two, and you have an electric moped. I’ve always been a bit wary of mopeds and motorbikes. However, when the opportunity came along for me to test drive an electric moped, I looked forward to the experience. And it was truly eye opening.

The moped was an ECCity 50 model from French manufacturer Artelec. It was sturdy, dependable and stylishly fashionable. With a range of up to 75 miles per charge (depending upon terrain) I was able to get around on all our local roads with no problem. ECCity represents the premium end of the electric moped market. With exceptionally high quality they have a French ‘chic’ styling and can offer great performance in an environmentally friendly package. I cried when I had to give it back!

Day-to-Day Use

The moped charges from any 240v socket and is ideal for local journeys. You could ride to work and then charge up during the working day to ride home. The charger and 2 metre power lead are in the seat compartment and will charge the bike fully within 8-9 hours. This means a charge at work would be able to get you back home with no problem. The model I tested was the 4kw Model 50 (L1e), which is the equivalent of a 50cc petrol engine. This meant the top speed on the open road was around 30mph. It does seem fast when you are riding.


Sister-in-law testing the ECCity 50

The bike costs around 40 pence to fully charge and although it is around £6,500 to buy it requires very little maintenance (tyres and brake pads) and would last for years. Remember, in the UK, there’ll be no road tax to pay. The Samsung lithium ion battery has a life cycle of around 30,000 miles. I would rate it as ideal personal transport to get to work or shops. It could cut your transport costs in half. Remember 90% of our journeys are under ten miles.

My Experience

I would rate my overall experience with the bike as excellent. It did everything I required. A delight to use. The 150kg moped was a little heavy to manoeuvre but there is a reverse gear to help with this. The twist grip gives instant torque and so care must be taken that the whole shebang doesn’t shoot off without you. There are no formal gears and so it is very easy to use and handle. I loved it.


Security was not an issue: a lock through the front brake disc immobilised the bike during all my journeys and was ample along with the steering lock. Anyone wanting to steal it would require a hoist and a truck. The brakes are 220mm disk brakes with double piston callipers on both front and rear. I can vouch for the effective brakes as a van stopped suddenly in front of me on one trip and I was able to do a semi-emergency stop on a sixpence.

Doing the Shopping

Some people might worry about the storage space on this bike. I was able to do a weekly shop at Lidl’s and fit it all into the storage compartments. There is a big compartment under the armchair-like seat (bit like a Harley seat). There is also the top box. Both of these allowed me to stash my bread milk and melons with no issues!

To be honest I zipped around all over the place doing 30-mile round trips with no problems whatsoever. The moped was robust and sturdy on the road allowing freedom to carry shopping or park at the railway station for the daily commute.

Controls and Usability

Parking was really easy. Locking it up was a cinch and charging it took little effort. The controls were really easy. There is a speedo, a charge indicator telling you how much juice you have left, indicators with a bleeper to warn about you turning. There were even colour-coded retractable foot rests for any pillion passengers.


You can connect an ECCity moped to an app on your smartphone – you can use your phone GPS and monitor battery life etc.

The 4kw Model 50 (L1e) gave brilliant performance – the equivalent or better than any traditional 50cc bike. I would buy one.

Other Uses

It occured to me that this 2-seater moped would be perfectly suited to motorhome uses wanting the freedom of a vehicle once they are pitched on-site. My only concern with the ECCity 50 is its heavy weight, but it would be easier to transport on a rear carrier than a car would be.

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Gas scooter sales decline in Europe as electric bicycle and motorcycle sales soar

by Micah Toll

Gas-powered scooters, much like fine wines, thin cigarettes and fresh baguettes, are one of those quintessentially European sights. But now that might be changing (for scooters, at least). And EVs could be the cause.

New figures report that sales of gas-powered scooters and motorcycles dropped by 6.1% in the first quarter of 2018, as compared to the same period in 2017. The largest decline in sales has been attributed to smaller scooters and mopeds below 50cc.

Sales of scooters and mopeds under 50cc have dropped by 40.2% over the same period. In France, which is the largest moped market in Europe, sales dropped even further by 41.5%.

One of the biggest factors affecting the drop in gas-powered scooter sales is the simultaneous jump in electric scooter sales.

During the same period, sales and registrations of electric mopeds, motorcycles and quads in Europe increased by a massive 51.2%. The total volume of these two-wheeled EV sales is still much lower than gas-powered scooters, but the trends indicate that small EVs are catching up to their ICE-powered cousins.

Even more impressive, sales of large electric motorcycles, which are classified separately due to their higher power levels, showed a 118.5% increase compared to last year. In France alone, large electric motorcycle sales have leaped 228% higher than last year.

While many gas-powered motorcycle riders appear to be switching to electric motorcycles, as represented by the large increases in sales each year, the smaller increases in electric scooter sales may be a result of riders switching to electric bicycles.

Many electric bicycles are nearly capable of the ranges and speeds of sub-50cc mopeds and electric scooters. In addition, electric bicycles do not require a driver’s license, insurance, inspections or parking permits. Due in large part to such benefits, sales of electric bicycles in Europe have grown steadily year after year, and are poised to reach over 2,000,000 units sold in 2018.

Some European countries are taking steps to further facilitate the shift away from gas-powered scooters and towards electric bicycles. In 2017, France alone saw a 50% increase in electric bicycle sales, likely driven in part by a national incentive program offering‎ €200 (~$240 USD) to anyone who purchased an electric bicycle.

Even without government sponsored grants and credits, other European countries still experienced big growth in electric bicycle sales in 2017, including a 25% increase in Italy and a 19% increase in Germany.

Germany is the EU’s largest e-bike market, and saw over 720,000 e-bike sales in 2017.

Electrek’s Take

What we are seeing was largely inevitable.

Gas scooters have long been convenient ways to zip around crowded European cities, and for decades no one questioned their few disadvantages due to lack of a better alternative. But now that we have electric bicycles, scooters and motorcycles, the only thing holding back mass adoption of these e-alternatives is largely their cost and range.

Both the cost and range of light electric vehicles have made massive strides over the past few years. Industry forecasts show these trends are set to continue. I think that in a few short years, we could see more e-bike and e-scooter sales in Europe than gas-powered scooters, especially as a multitude of cheap Indian electric scooters begin entering the market.

The bigger question is “when are Americans going to wake up to two-wheeled commuting?”

Despite being commonplace in European culture, scooters and mopeds never caught on to the same large degree in American cities – even where the climate allows it. They have a small, dedicated fan base – yet still make up only a tiny percentage of all vehicles on the road. But as urban centers become ever more densely populated, perhaps we’ll see more electric scooters and mopeds on our side of the pond as well.

Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a battery nerd, personal electric vehicle enthusiast and author of the books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power and the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide.

You can send him tips at

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Review of the ECCity Model 50 (470) by Dan Gold

By Dan Gold

thedangold part-time tattooist, part-time bike builder, part-time artist, full-time geek. Made a TV show with Discovery called ‘London Ink’ and has ridden for over 30 years pausing only while broken bones heeled.

Artelec ECCity 50 (2018) | Review

As I walk up to the Artelec (the French manufacturer) there’s nothing to suggest that it’s not an ordinary scooter. The styling of the 470 can at best be described as traditional, not in a retro kinda way but traditional in a more contemporary scooter kinda way.

It seems to me that the ECCity 50, as it’s more easily known, is quite happy and maybe even proud to be scooter and why not, it does everything a scooter should do very well. Its good at being a scooter, and the chunky but chic styling has grown on me – I have to admit I have become rather fond of the way this little scooters looks.

ECCity Model 50 Side Panel

As you get closer it becomes clear that this is a premium product, no flimsy cheap plastic here just the good quality stuff and lots of it, all finished in what ECCity call Champagne (that’s brown to you and me) and you know what? The colour actually suits this little bike, they have even taken the time and care to paint the wing mirrors and the top box in brown, sorry I mean Champagne, too and not forgetting the rather cool pillion foot pegs that folds into the body work and disappear almost like a Teslar’s door handles (almost).

ECCity Model 50 Foot Rest

The ECCity sits on a set of very stylish 13inch wheels – they are of the more solid kind and look like they’ve come straight off a Citroen CX Turbo from the mid 90s, very French. A nice little touch – the stopping power comes from 220mm disk brakes with double piston callipers both front and rear it’s all very impressive and gives great stopping power with enough feel to always come to a safe stop.

The seat is very wide, a bit too wide for my liking but never-the-less comfortable, comfortable enough even for the longest of journeys or days where I was in the saddle the whole day and the riding position will be very familiar to anyone who’s ever ridden a traditional scooter so that means very comfortable in that familiar body upright, legs forward almost like your sitting on a chair kinda way, this is however where the similarities to a normal scooter ends and things start to get a little strange.

ECCity 470 Full View

Turn the surprisingly flimsy keys (I never did get used to it) and you get the first sign that this is no ordinary scooter because the only thing that happens is a little green light comes on under the funky Jetson-style space-age digital dashboard hmm…it is now apparently ready to go.

Twist the throttle and under its champagne coloured body work you are now sending tiny little lithium ions from the negative side of the German built Samsung battery back across the electrolyte to the positive electrode, thus producing the current that carries the electrons from the battery to a set of floating magnets located inside the back wheel. This creates a rotating magnetic field causing the motor to spin, turning potential energy into kinetic energy thus propelling the little scooter forward or at least I think that’s how it works, I could be wrong.

ECCity Model 50 Front Wheel

“Riding a scooter is like riding a ladyboy, it’s a lot of fun until your mates catch you doing it” – Dan Gold

Right…! Having established that this bike in fact runs on witchcraft and black magic and having also established that I have no idea how the witchcraft that is electricity or the black magic of ions actually works we can move on to what I DO know and that is – electricity is a great way to propel certain vehicles, take for example the bullet train or bumper cars, two fantastic examples where electricity works better than the internal combustion engine.

Now I know that the ECCity 50 is neither a bumper car nor is it a bullet train but could scooters be another example where electricity trumps the petrol engine perhaps?

ECCity Model 50 Rear Wheel

The Artelec is off to a great start, twist the chunky throttle and because of the unique way an electric motor works you get all of the power and all of the torque instantly, this soon becomes very addictive and it never failed to put a smile on my face to out-accelerate pizza delivery guys at the lights or silently sneak up on an unsuspecting tourist on a Boris Bikes because the ECCity 50’s 4000w is equivalent of a 50cc petrol engine so it soon runs out of puff around about the 35mph mark so you have to pick your fights carefully. Surprisingly, well, surprising to me at least is how unlike a conventional 50cc scooter the acceleration, speed and handling seemed. It was completely unaffected by weight even with its own rather hefty 150kg start weight plus two passengers fully loaded with heavy camera equipment. You really can load this thing up it has a massive storage compartment under the seat, two smaller ones in the front fairing with a usb port and a fairly large top box out back, if anything the handling seem to improve with the extra weight.

ECCity Model 50 Rear Side View

Plug ‘n play

It could not be easier to charge the Artelec under the seat you will find a 2-metre long lead with conventional plug at the end of that you simply pop in to a domestic wall socket at home or at the office. You can get a converter lead so you can charge it at the road side charging points but why bother the little scooter really isn’t very power hungry; the official figures are 9 hours of charges will give you a 75-mile range. Now what does that mean in the real world? Well leave it on charge overnight, go to bed and hey presto its fully charged in the morning and that will realistically give you more range to you can possibly use in a day. It’s all virtually free, well around 20p to 50p depending on who you ask and what energy deal you’re on but that’s cheap in anyones book. Maintenance costs are almost non-existent, all you need is tyres and brake pads and the battery will last well over 30,000 miles.

So, the build quality is excellent and its good looking (for a scooter at least), it’s well equipped and fun to ride (again for a scooter), practical with plenty of storage, it’s comfortable enough to ride all day and it does all of this with virtually no running costs so it’s a no brainer right we should all rush out and buy a ECCity 50. Right?

Well I’m afraid not because there are a few problems and they are rather big problems. The first problem is that there is no way of locking or securing the Artlec. The back wheel is solid because the electric motor lives in there so you obviously can’t lock that and the front wheel is just solid enough so you can’t put any kind of chain through and therefore are unable to lock that. The holes in the disk brakes are just too small for any disk lock to fit on to it, so your only lock is the flimsy steering lock which is simply not good enough, especially not here in London.

ECCity Model 50 in Monsters of Art

But the real elephant in the room is the £6,495 price tag, that’s an eye-watering amount of money for something that can only do 35mph, I know that all electric vehicles are expensive and I know roughly half of that price is the lithium-ion battery from Samsung and I also know you will get a government grant of roughly £1500 but that still leaves £3,247. That’s still a grand more than most 50cc petrol mopeds, I’m not sure that people who will buy a ECCity 50 are the same people who buy 50cc mopeds but one thing I am sure about is that I’m going to miss the little Artelec and its witchcraft and black magic fun.

ECCity 50 Technical Specification





4000 W normal

5000 W peak



28 mph


75 miles


Charging Time 4-8 hours
Colour options Champagne, White, Black or Emerald Green
Factory options Top Box, Integrated high-windshield, bag-holder and USB socket


Visit Dan at either of two London-based tattoo and art studios: Monsters of Art or Tattoo Shop by Dan Gold

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Cost Comparison Example – Used Car vs New Electric Motorcycle

A customer recently was stating that it was cheaper to buy a used car for a few deliveries than take a new electric motorcycle.

I wanted to base my response on facts rather than just “of course its cheaper to have electric” so I did a few calculations myself that I thought would be useful.

The comparion below is based on spending about the same amount on a used car versus a new Torrot Muvi Executive which is a 125cc (L3e) equivalent bike. The car I found was an 9 year old Ford Fiesta 1.25 which had about 71,000 miles on the clock. ( as per below that cost £295 cheaper than the Muvi.

Im not totally sure that comparing a car of that age with any other new vehicle is right but that’s the basis Ive made. I then used various sources to come up with rough figures for most of the major aspects required and then assumed both would do about 15,000 miles and require a new set of brakes, discs, pads etc, 1 MOT and some servicing during that time. I left out insurance as Im not sure if there would be a difference between the two.

Below are the calculations I came up with

*** USED *** *** NEW *** Source
Ford Fiesta 1.25 (2009) Muvi Executive (2018)
Miles on Clock 60,000 0
Purchase Cost £3,500 £3,745
Fuel Cost/15000 Miles £1,500 £150
Discs/Pads/Tyres * £600 £285,
Service (2 Minor, 1 Major) £475 £100
MOT £50 £50
Tax £395 £0
Insurance  Based on individual
Total £6,520 £4,330
* Not Dealer Parts for Fiesta
Front Pads 30 20
Front Discs 70 30
Read Pads 40 20
Rear Discs 60 25
Tyres 200 70
Fitting 200 120
 Total for Parts 600 285

Based on the above, the car is 71% more than the Muvi after 3 years and by the 4th year, it is almost 100% more. The majority of this difference is petrol costs and servicing and this is also excluding additional incidentals like oil, wipers etc that wouldnt be included in a service.

Even if, for example you assume that the car would only cover 10,000 miles instead of 15,000 because it can carry more and therefore has 1 less service, the car is still 45% more.

I accept that this might not be all the considerations but based on the above, I cant really see how a car would be cheaper and that’s before considering the other issues that might affect a car of that age. In fact, based on the above, the only way I see for the car to be cheaper would be if was free to purchase and that still would only be until the 4th year and then the Muvi would then cost less.

In addition, the bike comes with a 3 year warranty on the batteries and a 2 year warranty on the bike itself which of course an 8 year old car would not have which could possibly add a significant additional cost to it.

Other bikes from us are more or less to buy but I think this is a fair comparison of the advantages of choosing an electric motorcycle over a 2nd hand car.

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Why You Should Consider an Electric Motorcycle (from PlugInAmerica)

Thought this was worth reposting from John U’Ren of PlugInAmerica as some of it is applicable here too

We recently had the opportunity to sit down for a Q&A with Jay Friedland, one of Plug In America’s board members, and a strong advocate of electric motorcycles. We talked with Jay about why electric motorcycles are great, what incentives are available, and what Plug In America is doing to help spread electric motorcycles far and wide.  We also discussed the impacts of highly polluting gasoline motorcycles and the efforts to take them off the road.

Question: How much do gasoline motorcycles pollute compared to gasoline cars?

Jay: All the motorcycles sold in 2017 polluted more than all the cars sold in 2017. Motorcycles are very efficient, but their engines are mostly unregulated.  Keep in mind that motorcycles typically ride about one third the average daily distance of passenger cars, and there are only one tenth as many motorcycles on the road as cars, yet that combination is still generating 16% more smog than all the cars on the road.  Over the last 20-25 years, cars have gotten much cleaner while motorcycles have not faced any significant new regulations. The last time there was an attempt to regulate the pollution of motorcycles was 2008-2009, right as the Great Recession hit.  Motorcycle manufacturers argued that if pollution regulations were mandated, they would have killed the industry.  As a result, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) backed off.

Until now, that is.

Currently, the ARB is in the process of reconsidering the regulations, starting with off-road dirt bikes.  Dirt bikes are extremely polluting.  Just one mile driven on a two-stroke off-road dirt bike is the equivalent of driving over 3,000 miles in an ordinary passenger car.  To make matters worse, over seventy percent of the off-road trails in California are in the mountains around the LA Basin. In the summer, all this pollution is descending into the LA Basin, creating a perfect storm of pollution.  These unregulated internal combustion engines pouring pollution into the LA basin are really counterproductive to all of the efforts to clean up Southern California’s air.

All the motorcycles sold in 2017 polluted more than all the cars sold in 2017…Just one mile driven on a 2-stroke off road dirt bike is the equivalent of going over 3,000 miles in an ordinary passenger car.

Q: What do we have to do to get these highly polluting bikes off the road (and off the off-road)?

Jay: The first step that the ARB will take is to get rid of the Red Sticker Program, which allows old two-stroke dirt bikes to be operated off-road.  These stickers are re-issued every year, so the simplest step is to not re-issue the stickers next year.  Ending this program would stop this program and reap a dramatic improvement in air quality very quickly. There are already three times as many “green sticker” dirt bikes on the off-road as “red sticker” bikes, so it’s really time that these old, dirty bikes are retired.  Note that this isn’t the first time such a program has been implemented; an identical program for four-wheel all terrain vehicles (ATVs) was phenomenally successful.  99.6% of all ATVs are now “green sticker” ATVs.

(For even more information on the Red Sticker Program, click here.)

Q: Where will all these suddenly illegal “red sticker” bikes go?

Jay: Some manufacturers may offer a scrappage program, whereby old bikes are turned into the manufacturers for credit towards a new bike.  This may be one of the areas where the ARB has to think it through.  The upside is that these old “red sticker” bikes are only a quarter of the dirt bikes out there.  Plus, there are plenty of “green sticker” bikes for sale, and of course electric bikes, too!

Zero FX Motorcycle

Q: What about on-road motorcycles?  What steps are being taken to make on-road bikes pollute less?

Jay: On-road motorcycles in California will likely be held to the Euro 4 and Euro 5 emissions standards. These are much more stringent emissions standards that aim to reduce the green house gas emissions and carbon dioxide emissions from internal combustion engines.  This will necessitate a phase-out of the motorcycle fleet, as new bikes that abide by new emissions standards replace older, more polluting bikes.  The thing is, manufacturers are already making these motorcycles for the European market.  They could bring these to the US at the snap of their fingers.  So it’s not as if the manufacturers will have to design new bikes.  For the older bikes, there may be a scrappage incentive.  Zero Motorcycles did a promotion where you could trade in a gas bike to get an electric bike and get $1,000 off.  This is an area where the states could step in and offer incentives to replace older bikes with newer, less polluting models.  Of course, the ultimate and ideal solution is to completely switch to electric motorcycles.

Q: Are there electric dirt bikes?  Do they have any advantages over gas dirt bikes?

Jay: Yes, there are! Besides their awesome instant torque and respectable range, electric dirt bikes have a huge advantage – they are quiet.  This may not seem like anything important, but consider that the noise pollution from dirt bikes is the reason why they are restricted to trails and areas far away from populated areas.  And these areas are going away.  There are progressively fewer and fewer places to ride a dirt bike and these keep getting farther and farther away.  With electric bikes, you have people who are riding them in their backyards!  Zero Motorcycles even held a 24-hour dirt bike race in the City of San Jose.  This is just something you can’t do with gas dirt bikes.

Locations of designated dirt bike riding areas. A “non-attainment area” is an area considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards as defined in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970.

Q: What are the barriers to widespread adoption of electric motorcycles? Can they be overcome in the short-term?

Jay: The big two factors with electric vehicles in general are price and range. Electric motorcycles are no exception.  From the range standpoint, current electric motorcycles meet the needs of 90% of the riders out there.  Current electric motorcycles can achieve up to 200 miles of range in the city, and over 100 miles on the highway.  Sure, there are always some riders who want to go really, really far on their motorcycle without refueling, but for the vast majority of riders, an electric motorcycle would easily meet their range needs. Electric motorcycles are especially well-suited for commuting, as 100 miles of highway or 200 miles of city riding is more than enough to get to and from work every day.  What you will see now is a climb to the range sweet spot where it is no longer a factor.  The cost of the battery is the primary reason why electric motorcycles cost more than gas versions.  As there are incremental improvements in battery cost, the price of electric bikes will become more and more cost competitive with ICE bikes.  When electric motorcycles are able to compete in the sub $7,000-price range with gas motorcycles, you’ll see a fairly quick switch, as people see that electric bikes have lower maintenance.  Remember, people with bikes tend to want to do their own maintenance, and having one bike in the stable that doesn’t need any maintenance is a huge plus, especially if you rely on that bike for daily riding.  Most motorcyclists own more than one motorcycle, meaning there really isn’t the same anxiety over replacing a gas motorcycle with an electric one as there is with electric cars.

When electric motorcycles are able to compete in the sub $7,000-price range with gas motorcycles, you’ll see a fairly quick switch, as people see that electric bikes have lower maintenance.

Consumers will get the electric motorcycle as an addition to their collection.  The major manufacturers are starting to wake up to electric motorcycles (Harley-Davidson, KTM, BMW, etc.) and are putting real effort into their development, bringing more choices to market.  At the end of the day, motorcyclists want to fly – and electrics are much closer to that.  I’ll say it again – the motorcycle market could tip faster than the passenger car market. You can see the motorcycle market dominated by electrics faster than car market dominated by electrics.

Lightning Motors LS-218 Electric Motorcycle. 100-mile range, 218 mph top speed. Whoa.

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Kymco Eyeing Up Entering The UK EV Motorcycle Market & Surveys Dealers

At Motorcycle Trade Expo yesterday at Stoneleigh Park, Kymco had a plethora of their range on one of the larger stands.

Many might have missed two smaller bikes in the corner without a price attached to their displayed card which both had the tell-tale sign of no exhaust pipe.

On speaking to them it turns out Kymco are looking at launching their Cozy here in the UK but not before validating the market through a survey of potential dealers.

On looking at their Chinese site and reading some of the news, there are two things that are clear about this motorcycle from their perspective.

Firstly, they have seen what GoGoro have been doing to their south in Taiwan with recent press saying they have shipped 50,000 units in just 2 years. To put that into some sort of perspective, in 2016 across the whole 27 countries of the EU, there were just over 22,000 electric mopeds AND motorcycles sold. That would also equate to about 10% of ALL motorcycles in 2016 across UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined so Kymco clearly wish for a slice of that.

Technically however, there is little comparison to be made. Gogoros bike has a 6400w motor, 55mph speed (L3e), 55 miles range and weighs 140KG. The Cozy is just an 800w 40KG bike with a sub 20mph speed and 35 mile range (the Cozy plus doubles that). GoGoro also have the Battery Swap system so you own the bike but can swap the batteries at will at one of their battery stations (Tapai has about 400 of these). The UK is a long way away from even contemplating that.

However, looking at the Kymco Chinese site, they are thinking of a different market. They position it as the “COZY student electric bicycle” on their funky mini-site and mention about using the bike to get to school.

With that in mind, of course the bike has a App which provides access to the Kymco NooDoe network which among other things, connects you to a network for fellow Kymco bike owners (not just Cozy riders).

Some features worth noting are around the battery. Firstly, the main “mother” lithium removable battery is stored under your feet saving space from the other compartments. Secondly they provide a smaller battery (about A5 size) that has about 7 miles of backup range and is small and light enough to carry in a rucksack or bag and can be charged from a USB socket. Personally Ive had a few requests from people asking about standardised charging and if USB could take a big enough charge, it could be an interesting idea.

Anyway, the survey is fairly simple asking about if Dealers think electric is a viable option in the UK and what price it could be sold at etc. However, with just 800w, Im not sure it would provide enough power or range to make it viable.

If you would like to contribute to the short 5 question survey, its here.


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EICMA 2017 – Electric Moped/Motorbike Review

EICMA 2017 – Electric Mopeds Review

For those of you who visited EICMA 2017 this year, you might have noticed a growing amount of 100% Electric 2 and 3 wheeled bikes popping up. Sure, they were not competing with the uber petrol head stands laden with lycra dressed maidens, but I counted over 20 companies scattered around the 6 massive halls of Europes largest bike show. Of course, with all but one exception that Ill come back to, most of the visitors were likely to be more curious than anything else but even so there was interest nonetheless.

There was an “e-bike” section in one of the halls but this was aimed at pedelec rather mopeds/motorcycles and I wonder if the organisers might consider creating an “Electric” section covering both rather than scattering the vendors around 5 different halls in future.

What are the major brands doing?

Piaggio were making a relatively big deal of their Vespa Elettrica. Of course, the majority of their stand was old-school but for the Elettrica, in addition to adorning it with a model (lycra clad and available for photos and selfies), the static display was next to its very own runway where if you had stayed around long enough, I imagine smoke and music would have erupted and perhaps it would have been wheeled out….I didn’t stay long enough. According to their recent announcement it “is not an electric scooter, it is Vespa Elettrica, it is a contemporary work of art with a technological heart”. Hyperbole aside, with the X version claiming over 200km and the brand behind it, once it comes out next spring, it will be interesting to see the response.

Conversely, Peugeot were making a small deal of their GenZe based bike. As the name suggests, its their badge on the Mahindra/GenZe bike, an India/US collaboration and despite having two on their stand, they had nothing they could tell me about it other than what was on the display card (Lithium 2kw, 52V). The point of interest was however, that it does have “energy recovery” called Regenerative Braking in the blurb which I am asked about a lot so it would be good if other

manufacturers can follow suit on that. “Kers for Bikes” would be a useful addition to squeeze every last bit of range out of a trip. Presumably this is a stop gap for Peugeot to give them the appearance of having green credentials without the actual R&D effort.

Three Wheelers!

What I did notice this year was a growing number of electric 3 wheelers around, some new and some being announced.

The Silence brand from Scutum had a couple of their new 4KW S03 on show. With load carrying of 125KG and features like a reverse gear (standard feature on all ECCity motorbikes), three wheelers in general have an obvious target market of delivery. Scutum are still suggesting this is “coming soon”.

From China, Doohan’s ITank on the other hand has been taken on by GoodYear as its 1490w based ITrike. Again, an example of a well know brand adopting someone elses technology giving the manufacturer some great exposure and credibility.

Unfortunately, Doohan said that their electronic display is not configured for MPH so it would be a struggle to get a V5 for it or the more eye-pleasing 1200w ITango and I can also see an almost mandatory top-box is required as storage seems lacking on both.

Not to be out-done, Torrot have announced its Velocipedo that comes in two guises. One is an inline “bubble” based two seater that includes doors and seat-belts meaning no helmets are required. It reminds me of the same idea as the Renault Tweezy or BMW C1 in a 3-wheeled guise but the Velocipedo’s “face” is certainly more striking. The other version which is more likely to be the target for it is in its delivery variant. In this one, the second seat and the back portion of the bubble are replaced with an impressively large delivery box capable of taking up to 210L. Both feature no less than 5 removable batteries (the bike can run on 4) which run the 10KW motor and boasts up to 150km range. Available to pre-order.

As an aside, Torrot also unveiled their 2018 Muvi models with a few nice tweaks like a new rear arm, extended range from new optional batteries and different colour options.

ECCity from France were showing of their entry into the 3-wheeled market too. Available to pre-order this 10KW machine has the 2 wheels at the rear and also will come with removable batteries (which they are also announcing for the rest of their line-up). Up to 120km range and 100km speed is the target performance. ECCity do classy looking machines and what’s interesting about all these offerings is that there is no hard and fast rule about which end the two wheels should be. The defacto standard set by Piaggio is 2 at the front whereas Scutum and ECCity have gone for the other configuration. From a stability perspective, I doubt it matters but for delivery and heavy loads, I would suspect that 2 at the rear might be more applicable.

Scutum were showing theirs off as a Police variant too so Public Sector would be another area but obviously nipping in and out of traffic would probably have to be sacrificed on 3 wheels.  All of the above are coming or being developed so more information will follow as they become available.

The Far East

In China the days of petrol mopeds and motorbikes were over long ago. Visit Beijing for example and everyone is on electric already. Its somewhat eerie to see hundreds of bikes silently whizzing around, partially obeying the rules of the road. You need to also pay a great deal of attention crossing the streets especially at night because there doesn’t seem to an enforced law about riding with your lights on or the bikes having them permanently on automatically. Presumably the riders think that having no lights saves the odd watt or two but silent shadowy motorbikes can be a real hazard.

It’s not surprising then that were quite a few manufacturers from China and Taiwan at EICMA either overtly as Wuxi with their cool 21st century incarnation of what a Vespa could be (unfortunately no MPH) to the more covert brands of Super Soco and Evoke.

Currently Super Soco by VMoto offer the TS 1200R in the UK. A stylish 1200w 78KG L1e machine perfect for the commute to work but there are 2 other versions available and soon to be offered here too (check out MotorCycle Live at the NEC for more). The TC is the one of more interest. Its more or a classical design stated as a “Retro and Modern Collision” which despite the unfortunate use of the word “collision” when discussing vehicles, kind of fits. A bigger looking bike all round than the TS with apart from different handlebars looking to offer a more upright seating position, the main visual difference is towards the back end with a larger seat, dedicated mud-guard and additional styling that makes it looks more substantial. With an increase to a 1500 Watt Bosch hub motor which they claim is 92% efficient in transference of power, it should be popular.

Just across the way, VMotos Italian Distributor had the newly announced Evoke on its stand. Soon to be available in an Urban Classic and Urban S guise and with a reported 200km range and 3-hour charging (if using an L2 Charging station), the actual news about this one is the 19kw, repeat 19kw motor meaning a top speed of 81mph and regen braking. Sure, its nothing to compare to Energicas 107KW Ego or EVAs but then its reported to be a fraction of the price. Not yet available in the UK.

In addition to Super Soco, Nui also from China had one of the larger electric motorbike stands. Its Nui M range must be one of lightest bikes out there at under 60KG but again, no MPH so not really viable here.

The other aspect of Far Eastern bikes is that they still have many Lead Acid Bikes which you would be hard pressed to find in European bike. Doohan still promote 8 in their brochure with 5 further lithium based bikes in addition to the ITank and ITango. The lead acid bikes are not an option if you are going after the Plug-In MotorCycle Grant and some of their models like the 800w Beatles-3 with its funky electric green “roast paint” have non-mph speedos. The 1200w Vino could be an option though.

UgBest were also there promoting their EkoKargo delivery range which a choice of 20ah 2kw silicon based bikes up to 60ah 5kw lithium and Jiangsu Bolt Intelligent Technology (Tinbolt) had a large stand with some Vespa-like 800-3000w Lead Acid based machine called the TB-F10.

Next up was Sanyang (Sym) from Taiwan offering their e-Virid Lithium based bike in deluxe and standard models. Both are 1800w 48v machines.

A sportier looking bike came in from Otto from Taiwan with the MCR standing for Mini City Racer. 7.5kw, 64mph top speed and 62-mile range. They state a maximum charging time of 2 hours and 30 minutes for 95% on the fast charger which could be a coffee stop on a longer journey.


In addition to ECCity from France and Torrot from Spain, Germany was represented by Govecs who might well be known for Bike sharing schemes in Paris with its CityScoot and eCooltra in Lisbon plus others. They were launching their new Elly One (2kw) and Two (3kw) L1e with Bosch hub motors with sub 3 hour charging from the removable batteries with the fast charger. Rather than twin batteries, they offer a “Fat Boy” for up to 70km range but weighing in at 17KG so not something to carry too far. Pre-order for Summer 2018 delivery.

Both Govecs and their German counterpart Emco-elektroroller have retro looking bikes in their range. Govecs Schwable’s face is very distinctive in a “mar-mite” love-it, hate-it sort of way. This 8km machine can take up to 2 batteries and is one of the few bikes that can have ABS as an option.

Emco have gone for a reincarnation of a 60s Vespa look with its 2km Nova. Up to 130km from 2, 37Ah batteries or 50km from 1, 28Ah, there’s enough room for 2 and the design does look very close to the original which should give it great interest. Italys offering from Askoll is a different breed again. They do pedelecs too, but their ES range of electric mopeds design is quite different from the rest with a sort of swan-neck front design.

They offer 3 “ES” models, the single seat base model ES1 is a 1500w, L1e based bike which is stated to have a 3-hour charge from its single removable lithium battery and just over 30-mile range. The 3000w ES2 adds the ability for a pillion plus some additional storage as standard and 2 removable batteries chargeable in just over 6

hours with a 50-mile range. The top of the range ES3 also is 3000w but increases the speed to 43mph (making it an L3e “125cc” bike). Range is up to 60 miles but for that a full charge could go to 9 hours from the twin removable batteries.

They all come with a rear tray for a top box or delivery options and are available in 6 colours.

Coming at riders from the higher end, Volta from Spain have a couple of sharp looking bikes in their BCN City and Sport models. Both are up to 25kw, 75mph with over 40-mile range and 2-hour charging. The latter having a different Sport mapping, brakes, hand-grips, windscreen and a few other cosmetics differences. Available for pre-order

And finally

For those who still do not think that electric motorbikes cannot be exhilarating, fast and exciting, you only needed to drop by Energica to see that that is not true. The stand had a lot of interest and not just because they were a “local” brand from Modena. They have a twitter handle of #MyElectricSoul and you can see why. Unless or until you notice the lack of exhausts, you could easily be forgiven for believing their 4 models are not one of their high-end petrol cousins.  Up to 107KW, 145hp and limited top speed of 150mph making every other bike I’ve mentioned look massively lacking. Even the entry level EVA model has an 80kw motor and 125mph top speed and hence include Brembo brakes to bring you to a stop.

Range is quoted at 93 miles but fast charging can get you back up to 85% in 30 minutes from a mode 4 on-board charger.

Of course, these bikes don’t come cheap. Prices on the stand stated that your start from €21,000 for the entry level EsseEsse 9 and work up from there. But pick a fully loaded “Italian Flag” EGO with upgraded suspension, bobins etc and you’re heading towards the wrong side of €31,000 (ex VAT). This highlights one other challenge electric faces over their petrol equivalents after all the positive aspects they possess like zero emissions, cost of ownership and low running costs and that is the entry price. If you consider that a new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is around €10,000 less than that and a YZF-R1 even less and you can see that there is still some way for the technology to go at this end of the spectrum before it’s a real no-brainer to move to electric. Some of the newer brands coming in to the market might help in that and it will be interesting to see what happens as we head in to 2018.

I’m already looking forward to EICMA 2018!

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Dealers need a different approach for customers moving to Electric 2 wheeled transport

Today when you go into your car or motorbike dealer, most of the decision criteria is based on the traditional aspects that we all know well. Brand or reputation of the vehicle and/or dealer might be your primary concern, but performance, features, economy and of course your budget all play into the final decision. Going back to the beginning of motorised transport however, when Henry Ford released the model T about 110 years ago, none of those choices were really available apart from could you afford it? “Any colour as long as it’s black” was basically it but yet thousands were ordered in a matter of days. There was no choice because although cars had been around for some time, the technology was still in its infancy and customers therefore had to take what they were given.

Today with 100% electric, some of that approach should apply again. For petrol cars and motorbikes, no one really should consider using their vehicle whenever they want or being able to get wherever they want because the infrastructure exists to do that and the fundamental technology in the internal combustion engine has been around for well over 100 years. Secondly, no one should really be concerned that their driving style affects their range because unless they have super car, they will still be able to top up when they need, unless of course they ignore their petrol gauge or get caught for speeding.

However, with electric and specifically with the motorbikes and mopeds, just like when you purchased your brand new shiny black Model T, the first consideration will nearly always be range. Not that I was around but I wonder if the streets of Detroit soon became littered with abandoned Model Ts that had run out of petrol, kerosene or ethanol while people with horses and carts sniggered at them while thinking that Petrol cars will never catch on for the masses!

Having met countless interested people recently who are mostly surprised that 100% electric motorbikes and mopeds even exist, their first questions will nearly always be “How far can I go?” and then “How long does it take to charge?”

In the world of iPhones, Laptops and Tablets they get that the technology is limited by battery life and they also get that the infrastructure isn’t there yet. More so than Europe, we are still in the early-adopted phase of what will become the norm especially with Government regulation now putting a stake in the ground over 2040.

So if the customer gets it, dealers should too? There’s no doubt this revolution is coming but they need to change their thinking on a few levels. First, embrace it. From what I’ve seen, dealers appear to be reluctant to take on electric which could be that they feel they will lose the follow-on revenue from maintenance and servicing that petrol cars demand. With the simplicity of sealed hub-motors and a battery that often can just be swapped if it develops a fault, often for free under warranty, the servicing aspects often reduce down to consumable elements that can be done either yourself or at any Kwik-fit or Halfords AutoCentre. With more revenue from servicing than sales, you can understand this reluctance from a dealers perspective especially when you consider the cost of sales people. Meanwhile there are customers wanting to move to electric and not getting what they want. I’ve heard stories of people actually asking dealers about electric only to be gently nudged back on to a petrol equivalent.

Secondly, with this different priority of considerations on the customers mind, one would argue that the sales person needs to take more of a consultative approach and rather than just sell features, they need to understand more thoroughly what the customer typically will want to do with the bike.

Of course, electric motorbikes and mopeds have different classes and performances possibilities just like their petrol equivalents but fundamentally the range, charging time and almost certainly fixed versus removable batteries are crucial decision criteria no matter what features the bike have and even the brand.

A perfect example of why this consultative approach should be adopted is fixed versus removable batteries. There are arguments that fixed batteries are the way forward. After all, they can be built to utilise all the space available and hence provide longer range which is after all a primary consideration. However, if you are live in an apartment with no garage or ability for an external charging point, would you really want to rely on a public charging station which might be taken when you need it? If on the other hand you have a readily available charging point and you only using the bike well within the range of the battery, it might be perfectly adequate. These fundamental considerations might make the decision for you no matter what the brand you want offers.

This is backed up by a survey that we recently conducted of three different categories of potential users, commuters, current petrol moped users and people who are fundamentally environmentally friendly. The results show that brand was least important aspect across all demographics whereas range was the most important, battery life next (see below for one of the survey results.)

Eco-Friendly Demographic


As is shown, fundamental practical aspects right now are more important than brand and styling and they are prepared to pay more for the bike but expect to recoup that initial investment via low on-going costs.

This suggests a few things. Firstly, a dealer should not necessarily play the brand card and rely on the reputation of the manufacturer or even how it looks to sell a bike. Currently your customers do not seem to care that the machine comes from Germany or China (as a lot of them do). Secondly a dealer should also accept like their car equivalents, that customers are prepared to pay more for their electric equivalent up front and save money later.

In other words, it’s a change of where the money comes from for the dealers that presents the opportunity right now and once that is understood, the barriers to adopting electric bikes as part of a dealers product portfolio should be more acceptable.

A summarised version of this post appeared in Novmber ’17 issue of British Dealer News

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