There are hundreds of electric motorcycle and trike startups and real deal companies around the world right now. Electric motorcycle technology is booming, and there’s a lot to love about the technology and the possibilities for the future.
With that said, there’s no way all of these companies will survive. According to Startup Genome, more than 90 percent of startups fail.
Those are some ugly numbers, and it’s within reason to assume that many of the electric motorcycle companies in the news won’t be around in a few years, especially once the big Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers start taking electric bikes more seriously. That’s coming, but that’s a subject for another time.
The Big Reasons I Think The Following Companies Won’t Last
The main reason I think these companies won’t make it has to do with their products. Few of them address the issues that most people have with electric motorcycles.
As I said in a previous article about the state of electric motorcycles, each manufacturer has four main issues to deal with—whether it be one listed here or one of the big names not mentioned. Those issues are the range, performance, charge time, and price.
If you make one go higher and it negatively impacts the others. For example, if you have a motorcycle with a very low price, which is a great thing, it often has poor performance, range, and longer charge time. If you increase performance, shorten charge time, and increase the range, then the price goes sky high.
Some motorcycle companies manage this better than others. Zero Motorcycles, Energica, Lightning Motorcycles, and a couple of others have managed a balance that’s tolerable or nearly so. The following models haven’t managed to strike a very good balance.
For that reason, I don’t foresee them sticking around much longer unless they can change their products.
Of all the electric motorcycle companies out there, Curtiss Motorcycles is the one that makes the least sense to me.
I know styling is subjective, but I don’t like the way the company’s motorcycles look. They’re too weird. Some people drool all over the designs, though, so I should probably just shut up (the company won an award).
The motorcycle company has a bike called the ZEUS that makes a whopping 190 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. It can travel 280 miles per charge, and the bike can make a 0 to 60 mph sprint in just 2.1 seconds. It’s impressive.
What isn’t impressive is its price tag. It’s $60,000. If Harley-Davidson, a motorcycle company that’s super well known, is going to catch a bunch of flack for a $30,000 motorcycle that has half the range, then why does doubling that equation make sense?
Personally, I’d trust the Harley over the Curtiss in the long haul, and you could ride the Harley longer even with a shorter range because it looks reasonably comfortable. The Curtiss looks like a piece of funky artwork with an electric motor. I can’t imagine sitting on it for 280 miles, and the price just doesn’t compute.
With that said, Curtiss does sell a gas-powered motorcycle, so if its Zeus is a failure, it can always just turn back to making internal combustion motorcycles—an advantage some other companies don’t have.
Druid Motorcycles actually makes one electric motorcycle and one hybrid motorcycle. The company utilizes some obnoxious branding to get across that they think they’re doing something special.
When I start to look at the numbers, though, I begin to wonder if it’s not just some smart techy magicians trying to pull the wool over our eyes. There isn’t much info out there about the bikes. The hybrid is said to have 230 hp and the fully electric motorcycle to have 150 hp.
The power is said to be managed by an artificial intelligence system in order to make the most of it, but exactly how it all works is unclear. The range is also unclear and so are many other details.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Druid Motorcycles will be the next big thing, but the lack of info out there tells me these guys might have a good idea and not know how to execute.
Also, they’re going to run into the same issue in terms of price. All the fancy AI technology sounds complicated and expensive.
Arch Motorcycles has a limited edition model called the Vector that’s absolutely beautiful. I know I just crapped all over the Curtiss ZEUS, and this is another futuristic-looking design, but this one actually looks good. Of course, what looks good is subjective, so I should let that go.
The model will travel up to 170 miles per charge, can hit 150 mph top speed, and can do a 0 to 60 mph sprint in a quick 2.7 seconds. Despite how I feel about the way the Vector looks and it’s impressive performance numbers, I still think the company has a very hard time ahead of itself.
What is tough is its price. It costs $117,000. You can just about buy two Curtiss Zeus motorcycles for that amount of money. ARC is crowdfunding to make its Vector happen and taking reservations on the bike.
The company also has some unique gear to go along with the bike, including a smart helmet and a jacket with haptic functions.
I genuinely like what ARC is trying to do, but I don’t see it working out. Maybe there will be enough forward-thinking millionaires and billionaires out there to keep this one alive. I highly doubt it.
Get ready for another overpriced electric machine. The Lito Sora 2.0 looks like the offspring of a scorpion and the carbon fiber motorcycle equivalent of the Michelin Man. You might not see it, but that’s all I see.
Forget what’s in my brain, though. There are important numbers to get to. The Sora 2.0 offers a liquid-cooled, three-phase, permanent magnet AC motor and an 18 kWh battery. That combo makes the bike good for a 180-mile range, a 120 mph top speed, and a 0 to 60 mph time of just 3 seconds.
So, as you can imagine, the company decided it had to put a super high price tag on it. This thing will go for $82,250. That’s a ridiculous amount of money. I think I’d rather buy two Harley LiveWires and ride around with a friend.
With all that said, the Sora 2.0 is the second generation of this bike. That means they found a bunch of suckers to buy the first round of these carbon fiber weirdos. Maybe there are buyers out there for this gen, too. However, I doubt it.
Could I Be Wrong?
You bet your buns. Electric motorcycle technology is moving far too fast to make accurate predictions. With that said, I do believe what I’ve stated above.
Of all the motorcycle companies out there I’ve reported on or have received decent amounts of press, these are the ones that stand out as the least plausible. That doesn’t mean they won’t figure out a way to make it work, but I’ll be surprised if they do.
If anyone thinks I’m completely wrong, crazy, or just a good, old-fashioned idiot. Tell me. Give me evidence to the contrary. I’m all ears.
I’m far from being the sole authority on the subject of electric motorcycles, and many of these picks came out of what I’ve read and my own personal opinions. I’m kind of hoping to be proved wrong. So, bring your vitriol, your facts, and your opinions to the comment section below.