What’s Next in 2024: Electric Motorcycles and Scooters

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┬áThe world is changing right before our eyes, and there’s only one thing we can do: adapt. Whether we like it or not, cars and motorcycles of tomorrow will no longer rely on internal combustion engines. Some still hope that biofuels will save the day, but the chances of that happening are slim.

I have been riding motorcycles for a little over five years now, but it was only in 2022 that I first experienced an electric one for the first time. Sure, the Horwin CR6 Pro is primarily an urban commuter for beginner riders, but it provided some insights into the future of two-wheelers. Hardcore bikers will not lightly take the industry switch to electric power, but that won’t stop the “train.”

The wise adapt themselves to circumstances

So we can adapt to the changes or ride our loud motorcycles until someone decides to ban them from public roads. Nostalgia aside, EVs are not as bad as some people might think they are. Especially if you need something to commute to work, they will take you back and forth just as well as a conventional vehicle. Although electric motorcycles have been around for decades in one form or another, they’re still only a tiny part of the global market.

But the industry is growing from the bottom up, and scooters are the first to foreshadow the incoming change. During my last visit to EICMA, I was impressed with an Italian company called Silence and even helped broker some international agreements between them and a large distributor. It may sound exciting to ride your sports bike to work and back daily. But it gets tiresome and annoying after a while, especially with heavy traffic.

Meanwhile, you’ll be as fast with an electric scooter but without the hassle and headaches of a classic motorcycle. I’m not here to advocate for electrification; this reflects my experience. This switch has provided a significant opportunity for new companies to make a name for themselves on the global market. Many have tried, including brands like Zero, Lightning and Energica. But has anyone been successful so far?

What's Next in 2024\: Electric Motorcycles and Scooters

Photo: Honda

I don’t think any electric motorcycle manufacturer has reached the same levels of popularity as Tesla has in the automotive industry, and it might take at least five to ten years before something like that happens. While we have recently seen many battery-powered scooters flood the market, you can’t say the same about motorcycles. Despite coming up with a lot of enthusiasm and hunger for success, newcomers to the game mostly lacked the resources and experience to make a difference. But everything is about to change as big names like Kawasaki, Honda, Harley Davidson, and Can-Am have decided to join the party.

You are never too old to start over

In today’s story, I’d like to discuss some of the upcoming electric motorcycles and scooters in 2024. And I intend to ride every one of them to accurately assess where the industry is going in the next few years. Two of the models I’m genuinely excited about are both Japanese. When I saw the news about the 2024 Kawasaki Ninja e-1 ABS and the Z e-1 ABS, I said, “That’s an EV I’d love to own!” The Ninja has a starting MSRP of $7,599 before tax ($450 destination charge), which isn’t cheap for a bike that won’t go faster than 65 mph.

But that’s more than you’ll ever need to stroll around town or ride towards your suburban home. As for the price, early adopters must live with that. Things will improve in that area, but we need to be patient. But one thing’s sure: these bikes will benefit from Kawasaki’s extensive industry experience. And that’s not something you can say about other newcomers to the game. Of course, with Kawasaki on the move, the other Japanese players wouldn’t just stand there and do nothing.

Honda has been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer for decades and boasts about having a commercially available electric motorcycle since 1994. Strangely enough, the Japanese giant has revived the CBR600RR nameplate for 2024 as one last hurrah before the switch to electric power. Earlier this year, we witnessed the introduction of the EM1 e scooter, and with any luck, we’ll get a version of the SC e: Concept in 2024. Reaching carbon neutrality within the next 15 years is a massive objective, so there’s a complex plan to support this vision.

What's Next in 2024\: Electric Motorcycles and Scooters

Photo: Zero

Honda has announced an investment of over $3 billion by 2030 to expand its electric motorcycle range, and we can expect as many as ten different models within the next couple of years. Luckily for us enthusiasts, only some will be commuter models, as Honda will also focus on some Fun EVs. A cruiser and a maxi-scooter are apparently in the works, and so is something of an SCL500 look-a-like.

Every sunrise begins with new eyes

Meanwhile, the most promising first step for Suzuki seems to be an electric Burgman scooter, with seven more battery-powered bikes on their way until 2030. With the company’s success with the SV650, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it ditching the ICE soon. Things are slightly quieter at Yamaha, although it’s undoubtedly made some progress toward electrification. After my interview with Erik Buell, I also look forward to a test ride with the Fuell Fllow.

Many people have been waiting for this exciting urban commuter for years, and there’s a good chance the first ones will arrive in 2024. If you’re looking for something with more oomph, Zero’s line-up for next year might have what you need. The Model S and the two DS bikes can have top speeds of just over 100 mph but will also have a starting MSRP of around $15,000. Reportedly, the 15.6kWh battery on the DSR can allow you to ride for up to 155 miles around town or 100 miles on the highway.

That’s what almost two decades of building electric motorcycles will lead to. I won’t tackle the skepticism regarding the future of Lightning Motorcycles, but I am happy to see that another North American company is moving on the market. Most people will tell you that Can-Am is synonymous with power sports products, but how many will remember their motorcycle division that ended almost 40 years ago? Under the “Charging up our DNA,” the Canadian manufacturer is back at it with two all-electric bikes: the Origin and the Pulse.

What's Next in 2024\: Electric Motorcycles and Scooters

Photo: Can-Am

The first is a tribute to the company’s motocross heritage and promises to take you “well beyond the city.” At the same time, the latter means to deliver on the urban-commuting experience. For some reason, the Origin reminds me of Husqvarna’s Norden, but we’re now dealing with Rotax E-Power instead of the conventional ICE. Official specs are unknown yet, but you’ll probably see them on public roads by the end of next year. Over at Husqvarna/Gas Gas and KTM, the strategy seems clear: start them young!

Their line-up of electric mini-cross bikes will familiarize kids with the brands. By the time they grow up, technology will have advanced enough for them to purchase adult-sized electric motorcycles with improved performance and at a lower cost compared to today. It is a brilliant strategy on their behalf and will complement CFMoto’s vision for the future. The more you read about it, the more you realize that things are racing in the industry. It may seem slower if you zoom out, but companies pour billions of dollars to take the lead and stay there.

I’m sure many people were shocked to see Harley Davidson’s LiveWire motorcycle a few years ago, yet here it is. The LiveWire One is expensive, and the S2 Del Mar will still set you back at least $15,500. The S2 Mulholland is reportedly on its way for 2024 and will be slightly longer and lighter than the Del Mar. But we’ll have more information about it all soon.

The question is, will it finally bring some success and recognition to the brand after the previously encountered disappointment? If you look at the grand scheme of things, our electric, two-wheel journey is just beginning. And I’ll happily report back in 2024 with updates on each of these bikes and more. I hope Triumph also decides to do something with the TE-1 Project someday!

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