The 250-Pound Gorilla in the Vroom

Two days ago I wrote about some 2-wheel companies, briefly mentioning electric scooters.  There’s no way I did the subject justice.

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The unspoken undercurrent of motorcycles is scooters.  Even in the gasser world, scooters outsell motorcycles by an overwhelming amount.  If you disagree, it’s because you think “America” is the entire world, let alone “North America.”  But let’s say we keep scooters and motorcycles separate; here, too, lightweight-class single-cylinder models outsell all other classes, by an overwhelming amount.  The motorcycle market in North America is vastly out of touch with the market, period.

This goes even moreso in electrics.  How many people do you know (besides me) in the e-moto market?  Meanwhile, in China, a billion people are potential e-scoot buyers.  With a B.  Then throw in India, and maybe some former Eastern Bloc countries too.

People had tinkered with e-scoots before, of course.  There’s a lot to be had in the scooter form factor: a broad, stiff floorboard structure that naturally accepts batteries, plus additional spaces around the seat pan or front fairing.  On the demand side, scooters aren’t tasked with long ranges and high speeds, so batteries last long enough, thank you.  Without highway speeds, there aren’t highway drag losses.  And if the battery packs don’t have to be big, then charging off household receptacles works just fine… thus, no infrastructure limitations and installation expenses.

The Chinese government, then, formed a viable market due to one swift stroke.  Or make that two strokes: small, low-tech, high-pollutin’ scooters were banned from most city centers years ago.  E-scoots filled the demand.  Now, the number of electric vehicles in China dwarfs all other countries.  (And yes, there are electric cars too.)

Whoever is moving scooters in quantity-gas or electric- has a firm foundation to move motorcycles.  A Chinese e-scooter company that decides to go upmarket will be a formidable contender.  Even the Germans are taking these Chinese companies seriously:

Bosch to produce motors for electric scooters with the Chinese Ningbo-Polaris

When a German industrial giant is taking Chinese scooters seriously… Chinese scooters are serious.  Meanwhile, we barely acknowledge the market exists.

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6 thoughts on “The 250-Pound Gorilla in the Vroom

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