How Motorcycles are Getting the “Green” Treatment

December 27, 2016 •

How Motorcycles are Getting the "Green" Treatment(Image via Zero Motorcycles)

Cars have benefited from fuel economy upgrades for years—but motorcycles are finally getting the attention they deserve. While motorcycles already hold high fuel economy potential, on average, they’re getting much-needed makeovers in the gas cost department.

Motorcycles are efficient, but their fuel economy is commonly related to that of a Prius. Fortunately, regulators are examining motorcycles and embracing new alternatives like hydrogen fuel cells and battery-powered engines.

A Surprising Kick-Off for Green Motorcycles

In California, zero-emission motorcycles — spawned from Zero Motorcycles — have kicked off in a big way. The high-performance electric monsters both rival gasoline counterparts while serving the greater good. Emissions, of course, are a major source of discomfort. Law enforcement agencies have adopted Zero Motorcycles to fight the pollution, even creating entire “green fleets.”

The Electric Advantage

While California may be leading the way in the green riding race, electric motorcycles are becoming popular due to their advantageous designs. The world’s newest motorcycles utilize permanent magnet AC motors, while others harness DC power to feed a strong-willed three-phase inverter.

Each electric motorcycle, under these designs, offers a few options for green riders, including:

  • Variable speed motor drives
  • Varying output frequencies
  • A narrow RPM range for power consumption
  • No need for a clutch or transmission
  • Low cost, weight, and complexity

New Regulations

The country faces air-quality challenges, including criteria pollutants and greenhouse issues. While Zero Motorcycles is a firm beginning, the future of green motorcycles is expected to expand exponentially. Already, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Transportation and Air Quality are making moves to represent smaller emission percentages where all vehicles are studied. Makers needn’t change to all-green motorcycles immediately, but they’d  better incentivize them if they intend to keep up with industry standards and competition.

In today’s world, startups are certainly innovative leaders. While offering electric motorcycles, providers will do far more than conserve the environment. Lowering fuel costs and economic efficiency are definite targets, as are hybrid developments and hydrogen-fuel-cell motorcycles. For now, the future of e-motorcycles is a bright one.

As the trend expands, we’ll likely see lower green bike prices, interesting fuel innovations and a surrounding economy molded to the dawn of clean driving. Motorcycles are already outfitted for electrification. Unlike cars and larger vehicles, they can be expanded upon, altered and adapted easily. They’re more than a late-game entrant: They’re both a test solution and green-driving leader.