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Will petrol prices force electric rethink?

Aussie importers reject electric bikes

fuel gauges MBW Motorbike Writer fuel scooter economy

The current exorbitant fuel prices could force Australian motorcycle importers to rethink their strategy of not importing electric motorcycles and scooters.

It may also spark the manufacturers and their representative groups, such as the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, to start pedalling motorcycles as cheaper alternative transport than cars.

Fuel pumps around the country are currently topping $A2.20 for a litre of standard fuel, so filing even a little hatchback can cost more than $100, thanks to the current war in Ukraine.

This could mean more and more motorists could begin to look toward electric cars and bikes.

While there is only a modest selection of electric cars available in Australia, the pickings are even slimmer for riders.

Most electric two-wheeled vehicles available in Australia are low-powered scooters.

Even Australia’s first electric motorcycle and scooter company, Fonzarelli, only produce low-to-moderate-powered bikes with very limited range.

Fonzarelli NKDs electric motorcycle

At the other end of the scale, Harley-Davidson has had limited success with its $A50k LiveWire, high-performance naked bike.

There are a lot more electric options available overseas, but Australian importers have largely been conservative in their approach to importing them.

That could change if the pain of high fuel prices continues.

There is already pressure from within the Liberal Party for the Federal Government to relax the 44c/litre excise on fuel. 

Just don’t expect the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to do anything about fuel prices.

In an official reply to us, they said they have no role in setting fuel prices, but “work hard to promote and deliver price transparency in the petrol market to ensure people across the country can find the best possible deals for their fuel”.

They say fuel retailers in Australia are allowed to set their own retail prices for fuel, but they must set their prices independently of other retailers.

So how come all servo fuel prices seem to go up on the same day? Isn’t that collusion?

Meanwhile, importers and representative bodies should be extolling the economical virtues of motorcycles.

A modern 250cc motorcycle or scooter will get around 2.8L/100km (85mpg), and there’s not a car on the planet that can match that kind of economy.

Surely that’s something that is worth promoting in this current climate.

What is needed is an industry-wide pool of advertising money to promote the general benefits of powered two-wheelers, rather than specific makes or models.

The problem is motorcycle importers are loathe to promote anything generic, fearing it may lead to sales of competing bikes.

While motorcycles may be cheaper to fill than cars, they really aren’t that economical. Click here see to find out why. 

Then check out these five ways you can improve your bike’s fuel consumption.

  1. When dealing with motorcycles, there’s a completely different dynamic operating as compared to car usage.
    Bikes are generally with the exception of 250’s and scooters, being used as “fun” ride vehicles and the aural and engine features are high priority. Many have good fuel consumption figures (I can, riding reasonably< get 31 kms per litre out of my SV650X) so fuel cost is not the No 1 issue. Tyres may be.
    I suspect that the number of bikes on club plates or more than 15 years older is much higher than for cars. Are we going to abandon riding these with their higher retained values and "buzz" factor. Don't think so just because fuel prices go up. Very different if you are driving a 15 year old Corolla where the switch to EV may make some economic sense.
    The rush to EVs is like the adoption of PV cells on houses where the "return on capital" may be fairly dubious. I'm amazed at people going out and buying a new MG EV. WTF. These cars are coming from a country with which we have a fragile trade relationship and the continuity of parts supply is questionable, let alone the liklehood that parts will not be carried by wholesalers in Australia for the mandated ten years.
    So you think it's a good idea to buy a china sourced EV bike? in order to save a relatively small amount on fuel.
    Heavy batteries and small ranges (if you want to just ride big distances) are just not consistent with motorbike use.

  2. Mark
    Most recreational motorcyclists will pay whatever the going rate for petrol may be as it is the visceral quality of riding a motorcycle that matters to them and a silent steed will not cut it no matter what anyone says. Commuters on the other hand – those who will readily jump on a scooter or moped – are a different breed and will quickly embrace the EV revolution.
    The ICE is dead; long live the ICE.

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