BMW’s CEO Says Electric Motorcycles Aren’t Ready to Compete With Gas Ones

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I’m a fan of EVs in general and EV motorcycles in particular. There’s something about the wind rushing past your helmet while the world is eerily silent that’s just…cool. And the fact that I can play with a full-sized dirt bike in my backyard without pissing off my neighbors is just the best.

But even I, an EV lover, can admit they still have their issues. The world’s charging infrastructure is trash—though reportedly getting better—mining issues remain with slave and child labor running rampant, explosive fire risks abound, they’re hella expensive for the performance they offer, and the issue on everyone’s minds still persists, i.e. lackluster range.

All of this has weighed heavily on BMW Motorrad’s new CEO Markus Flasch, who recently took over from Markus Schramm. And it’s led Flasch to shelve the company’s full-size EV superbike, the Vision DC Roadster, as well as make some interesting comments about the future of electric motorcycles at BMW at the premiere of the R 20 Concept at Ville d’Este. 

You’ll want to read his thoughts.

“There’s a logical and an emotional side of the answer,” Flasch says, adding, “The logic side is when we looked at the facts and figures of the [Vision DC Roadster], it was pretty mature in its development. But it was just not competitive with something like the M 1000 RR by far.”

“And then we looked at the way the business is going, as well as competitors, we have 77-percent of the total electric bike market [covered] with our CE 04 and CE 02 electric scooters. So why would I invest BMW’s money to build a motorbike to sneak into the remaining 23 percent?,” the CEO said, furthering, “There’s just no point in it. Not now, maybe later.”

But Flasch went even further, adding, “And then the emotional part is if you talk to riders, I did not find anyone who said ‘I would spend 30,000 Euros on an electric motorbike to go around the lake or up the mountain pass.’ No one. And for sure, nobody would say ‘I’m traveling to the North Cape through Africa.'” 

“Motorcycling is so much about freedom and independence that there is no point right now [for an EV].”

That’s pretty definitive, as well as pretty damn candid for a CEO. Most others would likely play their cards closer to the vest, especially with future products. But I don’t think Flasch’s statements are necessarily wrong. Because, yes, we need to have EVs (or some variant of) to curb greenhouse gases and reduce our impact on our environment. 

But you can’t get people to adopt such technologies when the technology can’t compete with what they have, nor for more money compared to their existing motorcycles that offer more…everything. 

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