Myth Busters! Electric Motorcycles Edition | Episode #2

Welcome to another edition of Myth Busters! Electric Motorcycles Edition.

Energica Experia review (2022)


This edition is made up of the most common comments Sam has received whilst testing electric commuters.

 

 

“Cars won’t hear me.”

Sorry, but cars don’t hear you anyway. The myth of ‘loud pipes save lives’ was quashed last year. In 2021 Autoweek reported that a study was conducted by the Association for the Development of Motorcycling in Romania, with the Department of Road Vehicles at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest together with the Netherlands-based noise emissions specialist Enviro Consult. 

The results busted this myth wide open because if the bike is 50 feet (15 metres) away, it can’t be heard inside the car. Even with the exhaust peaking at 110 dB, which is the same volume as a chainsaw.

Visordown also spoke to real electric bike owners about their experiences being heard by other road users. 

Christine (a Zero owner) said: “To be honest I have not found this to be an important issue… Where I have noticed it is in my workplace - A university campus with lots of slow-moving students, walking and talking. I am always ready to use the horn where there are pedestrians and parked cars. But previously, when I rode an SV 650  I am not sure that it was really very different. There were still lots of pedestrians that didn’t seem to notice at all.”

Sam hypothesised that it wasn’t the noise that caught out oblivious car drivers it was the sight of an intimidating bike. She commented on the difference in treatment whilst riding low capacity scooter compared to a high-capacity sports bike.

Whether riding combustion or electric, when there is an accident, motorists talk about not seeing rather than not hearing.

 

“The batteries are expensive to replace. They cost more than the bike!”

A replacement electric motorcycle retails at a higher price than a combustion motorcycle if one needs replacing out of warranty. The 40amp battery in the Horwin EK3 is £1,299, which is 31% of the price of the EK3. Whilst a replacement 36amph battery for the SK3 costs £1,150, 34% of the £3,349 cost of the bike.

With fuel at £2 per litre and increasing, the question is whether the cost of the battery (if you need to replace it) outweighs the savings of no longer using fuel. If you know your MPG then the RAC has a handy calculator to calculate the cost of a journey. If you don’t know it, then Power Sports Guide has a table of estimated MPG depending on the engine size.

“They won’t save the planet.”

Correct, they won’t save the planet, but it does help. Recycling alone won’t save the planet, but it will help. Speaking to the MCIA, The Transport Decarbonisation Plan states that motorcycles account for 0.4% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

The question you may ask is “why are electric motorcycles moving so fast?”. In May we reported “A US-based study has found that e-bikes could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than two times compared to combustion cars.” In that five-mile distance, cars emit 551,940 metric tons of CO2 per day, on a national scale. By replacing 50% of those journeys with e-bikes, the CO2 saving would be 273,000 metric tons. This is equivalent to the carbon taken by 4.5 million tree seedlings grown over 10 years.

Plus, there is a market for electric motorcycles. In 2021 Bikesure surveyed UK motorcyclists, and 50.3% of those asked want to switch to an electric motorcycle or already have. 

 

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