Electric motorcycles accelerate in Singapore, but hurdles remain in mass adoption



“Electric motorcycles offer the benefits of zero tailpipe emissions and are quiet,” said Mr. Satya Ramamurthy, Global Co-Head of Public Transport at KPMG.

Electric motorcycles generate around 10.7g of CO2 per kilometer, Ramamurthy said, assuming the electricity used to charge vehicles is produced from natural gas. In comparison, an equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) would emit four times more CO2, at 43.59 g per kilometer.

A McKinsey study in October last year valued the global electric motorcycle market at $ 97 billion, or about 4% of global auto sales.

The consulting firm suggested it could reach $ 150 billion by next year, with the strongest growth expected in emerging markets.

Electric motorcycles are a very promising alternative in large ASEAN two-wheeler markets such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, Ramamurthy said. In Singapore, however, there is less demand due to perceived safety concerns on two-wheelers.

The number of locally registered electric motorcycles pales compared to that of electric cars.

At the end of August, 1,855 electric cars were driving here. In comparison, there are only five electric motorcycles, which is only 0.004% of the local motorcycle population.

One of the reasons is the cost, with an electric motorcycle more than double that of an ICE equivalent.

This is in addition to the relatively small number of charging points across the island, which could lead to a feeling of “range anxiety” for potential buyers, Mr Ramamurthy said.

“In addition, the main producers of the motorcycle sector have not pushed the electrification program enough to give birth to an ecosystem corresponding to that of electric cars,” he said.

“While major manufacturers have started producing electric motorcycles, the entire e-bike ecosystem still lags behind the electric car market.”

Although traditional motorcycle makers such as Honda and Harley Davidson have ventured into producing electric alternatives, it is not known if these will be available in Singapore.

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