Industry

Electric bikes spur European sales as 2019 sees 9% growth

A 77% jump in e-motorbikes and scooters contributes to a 9% lift in European motorcycle sales during the first half of 2019

Electric motorcycles have been credited for the sustaining growth in motorcycle sales across Europe after the first-half of 2019 registered a 9% jump.

Though the two-wheel industry has been somewhat slower to adopt zero emissions technology at a mainstream level compared to the mass volume four-wheel market, the image of electric motorbikes is noticeably shifting from niche choice to genuine alternative.

Ironically, the positive news for motorbikes comes against news four-wheel sales dropped 3.1 per cent despite the wave of new electric and hybrid models flooding the market each quarter now. By contrast, sales of e-motorbikes and scooters jumped a huge 77 per cent year-on-year.

Indeed, manufacturers say the idea of electric motorbikes are appealing to a fresh new generation of buyers who would have otherwise gravitated to four-wheel transport, especially in locations where the crackdown on personal transport in city centres has turned people towards vehicles with better mobility.

Even so, electric motorbikes have largely been focused on smaller models – such as scooters – with mainstream manufacturers still holding back on their plans to integrate the technology into larger, more powerful machines without overpricing them.

How have the big European manufacturers fared in 2019 so far?

Despite that massive growth in a short space of time though, electric motorbikes still account for only 34,000 of the 1million new motorbikes that found homes during the first six months of 2019 in the European Union nations.

Each of the big names registered growth, with BMW seeing a sizeable 7.3% gain in sales, while Piaggio – manufacturer of Vespa, Moto Guzzi and Aprilia - grew by 5.9% and KTM - Europe’s largest manufacturer of big motorbikes – also gained, but by an unspecified amount.

“We’re seeing two-wheelers come back as an option for commuting,” said KTM chief executive Stefan Pierer. “Younger people aren’t so interested in owning a car, and many can’t afford one.”

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