The last decade was pretty good for a lot of African countries. The average annual GDP growth has consistently outpaced the global average. This growth has helped build the well documented rise in the number of families moving up into the middle and upper middle class.
Armed with more disposable income, some families across several countries have developed a love for high-end motorcycles. Bike clubs are growing, as we have seen in Kenya (Meet Kenya’s Biker Girls) and in South Africa (Meet The Black Female Bike Club From South Africa), for example. The Washington, DC–based Brookings Institution says these consumers are brand conscious and brand loyal. This presents an opportunity for high-end electric motorcycle brands to position themselves as the ultimate go-to bikes for these consumers.
The EV market in both Kenya and South Africa is getting exciting as we are constantly getting news of significant developments in these countries. Could the high-end electric motorcycle industry also take off in these and other countries as motorcycle culture grows?
Vanderbijlpark-based Electronia is selling Energica electric superbikes in South Africa. The Modena (Italy)–based Energica is also the sole manufacturer in the Moto E Championship. Electronia is bringing the 21.5 kWh Energica EGO+, EVA RIBELLE, and the EVA ESSEESSE9+ models to South Africa initially, but plans to open up sales in other African countries soon.
The Energica website says, “Energica motorcycles use a high-energy lithium polymer (Li-NMC) battery, contained in sealed housing holding battery cells, the Battery Management System (BMS) has all the necessary provisions to ensure the safety of the vehicle. The battery keeps all high-voltage components encapsulated, making it unlikely to accidentally be exposed to risk.”
The 21.5 kWh battery packs give ranges of about 400 km in city driving and 230 km in combined highway and city driving cycles. The models come with different motor power ratings ranging from 80 kW to 107 kW, with maximum speeds limited to between 200 and 240 km/h, depending on the model. The instant torque, ranging from 200 Nm to 215 Nm, should definitely appeal to bikers and their love for the open road.
The DC fast charging speeds of 400 km/h or 6.7 km/min should be well received by traditional bikers in this part of the world, as that is quick enough for them to stop over and have a nice Sunday brunch on one of their regular weekend journeys. They won’t have to wait too long to charge their bikes. With South Africa’s fast-growing highway fast charging network, thanks to Gridcars’ and Jaguar’s network of DC chargers, the riders should have the freedom to continue their regular trips across the country with superior and cleaner technology.
NEW 12-day journey to discover South Africa's most famed road trip; The Garden Route.
Journey to Cape Town, watch the penguins at the Stony Point Reserve, taste wines from world-renowned wine producers and visit the Addo Elephant National Park!
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— Explore Worldwide (@ExploreWW) May 11, 2018
Fast chargers are also available along South Africa’s Spectacular Garden Route, which includes the 200 kilometer stretch of coast connecting Mossel Bay to the Storms River Mouth. The Garden Route is famous for its diversity of wide sandy beaches, lovely lakes and lagoons, shady evergreen forests, and protea-studded slopes, making it the perfect setting for the most epic bike journeys.
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— Discover SouthAfrica (@365SouthAfrica) July 6, 2020
The slow charge mode does about 63.5 km/h, which is pretty good for places where the public fast charging network is not yet well established. A popular trip for bikers in Kenya is the 90 km Nairobi to Lake Naivasha trip. The sub-200 km round trip can be comfortably done with a 2-hour slow charge over lunch at one of the numerous 5-star resorts in Naivasha.
The Energica Ego was voted motorcycle of the year in 2017, and a few years ago the Energica Eva electric motorcycle was taken for a ride from Los Angeles To San Francisco. The pricing of the Energica models is in the R600,000 ($35,800) range. That’s not cheap, but this price could still be acceptable to the upper middle class target market.
The luxury goods sector is a maturing market in Africa. These upper middle class consumers tend to appreciate Italian accessories, apparel, and cosmetics. They could be tempted to add an Italian electric superbike to the list as well. We hope the market catches on to these Energica motorcycles, giving an opportunity for Electronia to expand across Africa. Let us know in the comments below if you have had any experience with these types of electric motorcycles, and tell us what you think about the future of the electric motorcycle industry as well.
Images: Energica Electric Motorcycles charging at one of Jaguar’s fast chargers in South Africa. Images courtesy of Electronia