Fancy swapping your ride for something a little more eco-friendly? Here’s what you need to know about electric motorbikes and how to insure them.
What is an electric motorbike?
An electric motorbike is simply one that runs on electricity rather than petrol. So instead of filling it up with petrol, riders keep it revved up with a rechargeable battery.
At the moment electric bikes aren’t as popular as electric cars, but as technology and the infrastructure required to support them improves, that could all change.
Do I need insurance for an electric motorbike?
Even though the motorbike is electric, you’ll still need to insure it. You could still be involved in an accident or have your bike stolen.
In addition to insurance, you also need to tax it, have a valid motorbike licence and an MOT.
How much is electric motorbike insurance?
Although they’re growing in popularity and are likely to keep doing so, electric motorbikes are still something of a niche product.
It’s tricky to predict what typical motorbike insurance premiums will be once the market reaches critical mass.
Some insurers might bump up the price as electric motorbike engines can be complicated to fix.
But this could change as the market for electric vehicles increases.
What we do know is that you should always shop around to find the best deal.
There are some things you can do to save on insurance, much as there are with petrol and diesel machines. For example, make sure your motorbike has good security, such as a motorbike lock.
Storing it in a garage or a secure car park overnight could help, too.
Compare motorbike insurance quotes
Electric motorbikes: pros and cons
Work out whether an electric motorbike is a sensible switch for you.
- Electric motorbikes are better for the environment.The pressure is on for the UK to reach zero emissions by 2050.
Most new models boast power and speed. Ignore anyone that says they lack power. The Zero SR/F model, for instance, reaches 110 brake horsepower (bhp) and has a top speed of 124 mph.
Electric bikes use less power at a standstill, making them ideal for city commuting.
Cheap to run - costs vary between bikes but expect around £2 per 100 miles.
Cheaper to maintain without a fuel powered engine.
Although you do have to tax your electric bike, the tax charge is £0.
- Battery life - the Brutus V9 has a range of up to 280 miles on a single charge but some models might only take you 50 miles
- Early adopters might not get the best bikes, but as technology advances and demand increases, performance should improve
- Acceleration is more gradual - you don’t get the surge experienced on a petrol motorbike
- There’s little for proud bike lovers to tinker with
- Even with government grants they are still expensive to buy
- Accessibility to charging points is a bugbear for some
Do I need to tax an electric motorbike?
For a completely electric vehicle, tax costs nothing.
But despite this, you still need to tax the motorbike – it just doesn’t cost you anything to do it. So don’t avoid taxing your electric motorbike just because the cost is zero.
To get the zero rate, a vehicle must ‘use an external source or an electric storage battery not connected to any source of power when the vehicle is moving’.
Electric motorbike FAQs
How do I charge an electric motorbike?
This varies from model to model but you can charge most electric motorcycles via a wall socket. Usually this takes up to eight hours. You might be able to do this at home or at work.
If this isn’t quick enough, there are dedicated chargers that can speed up the process.
When you’re out and about, you can usually use regular charging points designed for electric vehicles. This might be at supermarkets, shopping centres or car parks.
Check out ZapMap for an up to date list of UK electric charging points.
Does the government offer electric motorbike grants?
The government offers grants of 20% towards new electric motorbikes, up to a maximum of £1,500.
You don’t need to apply for this grant as it’s taken off the price by the dealership.
Dealers usually include this discount in the advertised purchase price. After all, it’s in their interests to make the price look as competitive as possible. It’s always worth double-checking and making sure that it’s been included though.
Some of the eligible models are:
- BMW C evolution
- Energica Ego
- Energica Eva
- Scutum Silence S02
- Torrot Muvi
- Vmoto 100
- Vmoto 120
- Zero Motorcycles (all models)
You can find the full list of the criteria needed to qualify for a grant on the government’s website.
How powerful is an electric motorbike?
A common misconception with any electric vehicle is that they lack power. But most new models boast high power and speed.
The Zero SR/F model, for instance, reaches 110 brake horsepower (bhp) and has a top speed of 124mph.
An electric motorbike uses less power when it’s at a standstill. And if it’s fitted with regenerative braking, you can restore lost power while waiting at the traffic lights.
This can make it an ideal mode of transport for city commutes.
How long do batteries last on an electric motorbike?
This varies. Some batteries can take you up to 50 miles. Others, like the Brutus V9, have a range of up to 280 miles on a single charge.
Again, as the technology advances and as early-adopters are joined by more users, you can expect the range and performance of electric motorbikes to improve.