Electric motorcycles to proliferate, report says

Marc Michon says that when cranks up the power on his electric motorcycle, there is no satisfying Harley-type rattle and rumble.

In fact, he hears nothing more than the wind. And acceleration is amazingly smooth, says Michon, a veteran of the field who lives in Coarsegold and develops custom bikes for a San Francisco company.

Michon may get company. Others are expected to buy into the electric bike concept. Lux Research Inc., an industry analyst with offices in Boston and New York, released a report today that targets electric motorcycles as the most likely user of new battery technology. The report said, "Electric vehicle storage technology markets will nearly double from $7.7 billion in 2010 to $14.5 billion in 2015."

The report says that while lead-acid batteries drive the hot Chinese market for electric bikes this year, lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes will grow fast.

"Policy-makers, auto manufacturers and the media have locked their attention on battery technologies for plug-in and electric vehicles," said Jacob E. Grose, an analyst for Lux Research and lead author of the report, in a statement. "But in fact e-bikes and scooters will drive the biggest growth for these batteries in the next five years."

Katie Fehrenbacher, a reporter for Earth2Tech.com, speculated the trend could lend a boost to the fledgling industry. "Perhaps the growth projections mean life will soon get better for the e-bike and electric scooter startups. Companies like Vectrix have struggled with profitability, but are now getting a helping hand from China’s battery firms. The co-founder and CEO of electric vehicle maker Mission Motors, Forrest North, told us he thinks the market is now ripe for a higher-performance (and higher price tag) electric scooter technology."