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September 29, 2022 By Admin

Will electric motorbike sales take off across Asia?

Thailand is the country with the highest usage of motorbikes

The term "electric vehicle" in the UK immediately conjures up images of a Tesla, or another similar car, but across Asia the battle for EV dominance is being waged on motorbikes.

Visit most Asian countries, and you'll immediately notice that motorcycles swarm and buzz about everywhere.

Often functioning much like a family car - only far more affordable - it's not uncommon to see a two-wheeler carrying an entire family, whether you are in Taiwan, Cambodia, India, or Indonesia.

In fact, Asia accounts for more than half of all global motorbike sales, and in some countries it is unusual for a family to not own one.


The vast majority of Asia's motorbikes currently run on petrol, but transport experts say that a big switch to electric versions is now gathering pace.

"We see immense scope for growth [in sales of electric motorbikes], especially in Asia, for the following reasons," says Arushi Kotecha, an automotive analyst at global research group Economist Intelligence Unit.

"The first, is personal disposable incomes, especially outside China, in markets like India and southeast Asia, still remain low on average, which makes cars unaffordable.

"And, especially at a time like this, when food and fuel inflation is so high. That would add to the direct cost of owning a petrol vehicle. Which is why we think that the switch to electric [motorbikes] will be much faster."


Electric scooters, such as this pictured, look very similar to the petrol ones

Ms Kotecha adds that sales of electric motorbikes in Asia could grow by three to four times their current level by the end of this decade, with global demand rising by the same amount.

Meanwhile, one report, earlier this year, predicted that worldwide sales of electric motorcycles will double from $15.73bn (£13bn) in 2020 to $30.52bn in 2030.


What is an electric motorbike?

  • Electric motorbikes should not be confused with electric pushbikes, which are also known as e-bikes
  • E-bikes are bicycles that still have pedals, and the electric motor is designed primarily to offer the user assistance, making the pedalling easier
  • Electric pushbikes are limited in power output and speed. In the UK this is 250 watts and 15.5mph
  • By contrast, electric motorbikes can be as powerful and fast as their petrol equivalents, and require the user to have a motorbike license
  • Further potential confusion comes from the word 'scooter' having two meanings. Firstly a scooter is a type of motorbike where the user sits with his or her feet directly in front
  • The other type of scooter is the kick scooter, whereby the user stands on a thin board, while holding a tall, upright handlebar. Electric versions of these kick scooters are known as e-scooters, and now popular especially in the UK and on mainland Europe.