Electric bikes could be as expensive to charge as petrol bikes are to fuel soon

Rising electricity costs are impacting public charging stations, leading to increased costs for charging electric bikes that could be higher than petrol.

Harley Davidson LiveWire, charging, electric

As the price of energy continues to rise, electric bikes could soon cost more to charge than combustion bikes cost to fill up.

The comparatively low price of charging an electric vehicle versus fuelling one fitted with an internal combustion engine (ICE) has meant that for those who can afford the vehicle the switch to electric transport has been a financially beneficial one, as well as morally. 

Historically, electric cars and electric motorcycles have been cheaper to charge than combustion engines have been to fuel. This has been the reality, but it might not be the reality for much longer. 

The RAC reports that costs per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity at ‘rapid’ charging stations in the UK have increased by 42% in the four months from May 2022 to September 2022. That has led to charge costs per mile that are not far short of fill-up costs per mile. 

To see how this figures in motorcycling terms, we will take two modern touring bikes, since they should theoretically have the best range. 

For the electric, we will use the new Energica Experia, and for the ICE will take the Honda NT1100

Energica quote the WMTC (World Motorcycle Test Centre) range for the Experia as 138 miles. It also has a nominal battery capacity of 19.6kWh. That means the Experia uses 0.142kWh per mile. 

The RAC’s latest data for electricity costs at a rapid charge point is that 1kWh costs 63.29p. That means that the Energica Experia can do one mile on £0.09 of electricity.

Honda quotes the fuel tank capacity for the NT1100 as 20.4 litres, and its fuel consumption as five litres per 100km, or 62 miles. That means a range of 12.4 miles per litre. Taking its 20.4-litre fuel tank, we can see that the NT1100 has a maximum range of 252.96 miles. Therefore, the Honda uses 0.08 litres per mile.

The RAC’s latest date for average UK at-the-pump prices for unleaded petrol has the price at 164.13p. So, the NT1100 uses £0.13 of unleaded fuel per mile. 

According to a survey of 2,000 full-time UK workers conducted by Moneybarn says that the average UK round-commute to work is 23 miles. From that, we can deduce that the Energica Experia would use £2.07 worth of electricity on an average UK trip to work and back. In comparison, the Honda NT1100 would use £2.99 in fuel for the same trip. 

The sharp rise in electricity prices at rapid charging points over the past four months would possibly lead to the conclusion that electrics will be more expensive to charge than combustions are to fuel quite soon. 

However, the inflation of electricity prices could be outpaced by the inflation of at-the-pump petrol prices, since oil prices could increase next month at the upcoming OPEC+ meeting on 5 October. 

As we discussed in a previous article, Russia could try to have the production of oil cut by one million barrels per day (bpd). Further to that, inflation of petrol prices in the UK would be further fuelled by the drop in the value of the pound (GBP) against the US Dollar (USD). The pound is losing value while the dollar is gaining value. Since oil is traded in USD, the weak pound means pricier oil, and therefore pricier petrol. 

Whatever the case, fuelling or charging your motorcycle is only going to get more expensive, it seems.

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