despite eco-promise of evs, shortcomings still outweigh strengths
An article in last week’s New York Times, while leaving the door slightly ajar for the channel’s future, makes a reasoned case against a present marketplace that features electric motorcycles humming around the urban landscape in silent flocks of environmental uber responsibility. (See earlier post on Mercedes Benz plans for a 2014 market entry.)
Reporter Dexter Ford writes in the paper’s Automotive section about the challenges facing the nascent industry, not least of which is cost. Far cheaper conventional alternatives, eco-friendly and offering the same or better mileage per comperable fillup, are getting top billing as the major Asian motorcycle brands begin to flex their muscles in taking on not only high-end electrics but cheap, disposable Chinese scooters as well.
styling overhaul resets brand
Compounding the confusion over electric’s future is a same-day post on the NYT’s Wheels blog on Zero’s 2013 lineup just introduced at Intermöt. In what’s seen as a responsive reaction to marketplace concern, the Santa Cruz, CA, company is moving away from the mountain bike inspired initial design towards a more familiar traditional look courtesy of former Buell designer and now Zero’s chief technology officer Abe Askenazi.
Between the high performance Lightning, the gyro stablized LIT Motors C1, or the mainstream (for electrics) bikes from Zero and Brammo, interest isn’t going away. And neither is the significant cost differential, or the lingering comparisons to Segway’s marketing rationale.
Whether that same interest will translate into sustainable sales for complete bikes or morph into a niche industry of DIY builds sourced from frame makers, engine manufacturers, and battery suppliers might be the unanswered question.