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New Models Spark Interest in Electric Bikes, But Values Remain Uncertain

Energica Motor Co. announced its latest electric model the EsseEsse9 at the 2018 Consumer Electronics
Show in early January (Photo via Energica)

Although a number of electric motorcycles were on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January, uncertainty remains around the financing and value retention of these innovative bikes.

“My data is so sparse on [electric bikes] that I haven’t been able to draw any conclusions,” Scott Yarbrough, motorcycle editor at Black Book, told Powersports Finance. “I haven’t had enough of these bikes rolling through the auctions for long enough, in volumes high enough to get a great sense.”

Some data on electric cars is coming through from the automotive market; nearly 80% of battery electric vehicles and 55% of plug-in hybrids are leased in the U.S., a Bloomberg report found.

Additionally, plug-in electrics are expected to retain 27.3% of their value in the coming three years. Steep depreciation has not kept manufacturers from introducing new models, though.

Italian manufacturer Energica Motor Co. introduced a retro model of its electric bike at CES called the EsseEsse9, which has a range of 125 miles and can fast charge from 0% to 85% in 30 minutes. Likewise, Ford Motor Co. partnered with startup Ojo to introduce a speedy $2,000 electric scooter to the market, with a top speed of 20 mph and a 25-mile range for urban riding.

It will take another three to five years of consumer testing to determine how well batteries hold up and if their maintenance is more minimal than combustion engines, Yarbrough said. “You’ll start to see a consensus, but it’s just too early in powersports,” he added. “The whole industry is waiting for that next big thing. My guess is that someone comes up with an electric bike that takes off or finds a way to throw technology into these bikes in an innovative way we’ve not seen before, and we’ll get to a flashpoint.”

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