It's decided, you're going to buy an electric motorcycle. Faced with the continuous rise in fuel prices and the price of used motorcycle parts , you have certainly made a good decision!
If you are still having trouble choosing among the many models available on the market, this little guide is for you. It walks you through the main things to consider when buying an electric motorcycle that's right for you.
The engine power of an electric motorcycle
One of the first questions buyers ask when looking for an electric motorcycle is unsurprisingly: how powerful is it?
This is an important criterion which determines not only the performance of the motorcycle, but also certain costs associated with the purchase, in particular the cost of the registration certificate and insurance.
Power is usually measured in kW or horsepower (1 kW=1.36 hp). Even if electric motors do not have cylinders, we always refer to equivalent thermal motorcycles to evaluate the power of an electric motorcycle.
Thus, electric motorcycles whose nominal power does not exceed 4 kW are assimilated to thermal motorcycles of the 50 cc category. Those whose power is greater than 4 kW are assimilated to thermal motorcycles of the 125 cc category. Two-wheeled electric cars whose power exceeds 35 kW are considered to be large cars.
In addition to the power, special attention must be paid to the torque of the electric motor . Measured in newtons.meters (Nm), torque defines the force of the rotational movement generated by the motor. The higher the torque, the faster the starts, the faster the accelerations , and the greater the ability to cross slopes.
The type of battery of an electric motorcycle
Regardless of the technology used, the operating principle of an electric battery is the same: transforming chemical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. That said, each technology has advantages and disadvantages in terms of performance, cost, weight, safety, and longevity.
Almost all current electric motorcycles are equipped with Li-ion or Li-po type batteries . These batteries are generally efficient and offer a better compromise between capacity, cost, weight, and lifespan.
When buying an electric motorcycle, choose a battery with an electronic control system BMS (Battery Manager System). This system makes it possible to better manage the operation of the battery (charges, discharges, cooling) and to subsequently optimize its lifespan.
Knowing that the cost of replacing a defective battery represents 30 to 50% of the value of the vehicle, it is essential to check the reliability of the battery before buying an electric motorcycle.
Generally, the major manufacturers equip their motorcycles with batteries supplied by renowned brands such as Samsung and Panasonic . On some models such as the Super SOCO TC Max 125 cc or the SUR-RON Light Bee 50 cc , the battery is completely removable.
It can therefore be recharged at any household electrical outlet. Depending on the model, an additional removable battery is offered as an option.
The autonomy of an electric motorcycle
Without a doubt, autonomy is one of the main criteria for choosing an electric motorcycle. To choose the vehicle that best suits your needs, it's a good idea to start by calculating the distance you drive daily . Ideally, the battery capacity should be more than enough to cover this distance.
Know all the same that the autonomy announced by the manufacturers rarely reflects reality, because it is obtained under experimental conditions. Actual range depends on several factors including motorcycle and rider weight , weather conditions, engine speed, road conditions, battery capacity and age, terrain, riding style , etc.
Moreover, given that the lifespan of an electric battery is given in the form of a certain number of charging cycles, the higher the autonomy, the longer the lifespan.
The license required to drive the motorcycle
Generally, the same driving rules for thermal motorcycles apply to electric motorcycles. To drive a motorcycle in the 50 cc category (less than 4 kW), you must be at least 14 years old and hold at least a road safety certificate (BSR) .
To drive an electric motorcycle in the 125 hp category whose nominal power does not exceed 11 kW, you must be at least 16 years old and have an A1 license (125 license) or a B license supplemented with training in 7 hours.
If the power of the electric motorcycle is between 11 and 35 kW, you must be at least 18 years old and have an A2 license.
Finally, to drive an electric motorcycle whose power is greater than 35 kW, you must be at least 20 years old and have an A license. Note that this last license allows you to drive all motorcycles regardless of their power.
Subsidies granted for the purchase of an electric motorcycle
There are three financial aid programs for the purchase of an electric motorcycle:
- The state ecological bonus
- Subsidies granted by the regions.
- Subsidies allocated by the cities.
The amount of the ecological bonuses depends mainly on the maximum power of the motorcycle. For example, the purchase of a Super SOCO TC motorcycle allows you to benefit from the following ecological subsidies:
- €100 for the battery everywhere in France (€200 if you opt for an additional battery).
- €400 if you live in Paris.
- €1,500 if you carry out a professional activity in Île-de-France.
The good news is that these three electric scooter subsidies can be combined! To optimize the cost of acquiring your electric motorcycle, find out about the various subsidies and financial aid offered for the model in question.
Equipment and accessories
Pay particular attention to the braking and suspension systems. For good safety, the motorcycle must be equipped with an electronically managed hydraulic disc braking system at the front and rear.
Ideally, the motor should be equipped with an energy recovery system to convert the deceleration force into electricity. This system not only optimizes braking quality (engine braking effect) but also injects the recovered energy into the battery, thus increasing the motorcycle's range.
Suspension needs generally vary depending on the type of motorcycle. For an e-roadster, a touring car or a Trail, driving comfort must be given priority. The minimum configuration should have dual hydraulic suspension front and rear. Progressive shock springs provide a better feeling on the bike's handlebars.
For an electric motocross , the suspension must above all allow you to ride comfortably in rough terrain. In addition to braking and suspension, also check the lighting system, the comfort of the saddle, the display quality of the control screen (display), the tires, and the connectivity options offered by the manufacturer.
Warranty and after-sales service on an electric motorcycle
A good quality electric motorcycle should last up to 10 years. A battery should last an average of 600-800 charge cycles. High-performance batteries can last up to 1000 charge cycles , which often corresponds to the life of the motorcycle for non-intensive use.
Of course, even large manufacturers can make design or manufacturing errors that can affect the operation of certain parts of the motorcycle. Hence the interest of choosing a manufacturer offering reassuring guarantees, especially for the motor and the battery.
The quality of after-sales service is also an important criterion to consider when buying an electric motorcycle. Ask the seller about the repair network, the availability and prices of spare parts, the necessary maintenance operations, etc.
Electric motorcycle buying guide: what to remember
Buying an electric motorcycle is a practical solution to offset rising fuel prices. It is also a medium and long-term investment . It is therefore necessary to choose the right motorcycle to enjoy the benefits it provides for as long as possible.
Of course, the motor and battery are the most important things to check when buying an electric motorcycle . The power and autonomy must be adapted to your daily needs. To prolong battery life, avoid extreme temperatures and deep discharges, as they can cause irreversible damage.
Although the electronic components benefit from a more or less significant seal depending on the model, avoid cleaning your motorcycle with a Karcher as much as possible.
Braking, suspension and lighting must be efficient enough to guarantee driving safety and comfort. Don't forget to test the control screen and connectivity options. Of course, these are not as important elements as the motor and the battery, but they can make the difference if you hesitate between two models.
Finally, choose a reseller offering reassuring guarantees and good after-sales service.