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Electric Motorcycles And Scooters To Outsell Plug-In Cars? Not Likely!

I may be new to the automotive world but this latest headline story has me a little confused. According to two new Pike Research reports, electric scooters and motorcycle sales are going to eclipse that of plug-in vehicles by the end of this decade.

Not bloody likely!

Electric Bikes and Scooters to Outsell Cars?

Saietta electric motorcycle. Image Credit: The Charging Point (some rights reserved)

Sales of Electric Scooters and Motorcycles Skyrocket

First off, we have the report from Pike Research which looks at electric motorcycles and scooters. The main statistic that has been drawing so much attention is the prediction that “annual sales of e-motorcycles and e-scooters will reach 18.6 million by 2018.”

Pike Research point primarily to industries such as delivery companies, police and security forces, and even taxi services in some locations as the prime mover for the increase in sales of electric motorcycles and scooters.

Currently, China is the biggest market for the sale of these electric vehicles, accounting for 81% of the global electric motorcycle and scooter market. Not surprising in a country which has only recently started manufacturing cars and where the average wage doesn’t really cut it for those wanting to own their own four-wheeled vehicle.

Sales of Electric Vehicles

Another Pike Research report released earlier this year predicted that annual worldwide sales of electric vehicles will reach 3.8 million by 2020. This includes plug-in electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles selling in the Asia Pacific, North America, and Western Europe.

“Sales of EVs have not lived up to automakers’ expectations and politicians’ proclamations, but the market is expanding steadily as fuel prices remain high and consumers increasingly seek alternatives to internal combustion engines,” says senior research analyst Dave Hurst.  “Indeed, sales of plug-in EVs will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 40 percent over the remainder of the decade, while the overall auto market will expand by only two percent a year.”

Faulty Logic

So there we have it: electric motorcycles and scooters are going to outsell electric cars.

What an uninspired attempt at sensational journalism. The logic is faulty — or at least, the logic making up the perceived understandings behind the headlines is faulty.

The reality of the situation is that, yes, in all likelihood, we might see that by the end of this decade electric motorcycles and scooters have sold more than electric cars. We have to remember, however, that electric cars have already invaded the same markets that Pike Research is predicting will soon purchase all these electric motorcycles and scooters. Fleets of police cars, delivery vehicles, and taxis all over the world contain hybrids and plug-in electrics, and for one car you’ll need two motorcycles or scooters to do the same job.

In other words, the focus of the report has very little to do with consumer purchases. The figures for consumer purchases between cars and bikes is likely to be widely different.

Understandably, the motorcycles and scooters won’t necessarily be doing the same job as a Prius or Leaf, but in this day and age it would have been nice to see a little more attention given to the reality of this news and not the hyperactive headline grabs. In short, they might outsell thanks to industry purchases, but by 2023, I would posit that electric cars would once again be back on top.

Source: Pike Research

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