Electric motorbikes aren't currently as popular as electric cars, but they're certainly gaining ground with more environmentally-minded bikers.
If you're tempted to switch your ride something a little more eco-friendly - or want to start your biking journey with this way - get the lowdown on everything you need to know with our guide. From the pros and cons of electric motorbikes to electric motorbike insurance, we've got it covered.
What is an electric motorbike?
An electric motorbike is a motorcycle that runs on electricity rather than petrol. So instead of filling it up with petrol, riders keep it revved up with a rechargeable battery.
Although electric motorbikes aren’t as popular as electric cars, as technology and the infrastructure required to support them improves, that could all change.
Do I need insurance for an electric motorbike?
To ride your electric motorbike on a public road it needs to be insured. Just like any other motorbike or car, your wheels could be stolen or involved in an accident. If you don't, you run the risk of a fine and points on your licence.
In fact, your electric motorbike's higher price tag could make it a bigger target for thieves than a regular petrol motorbike.
As you're also more likely to be hurt riding a motorbike than you are driving a car, you might also want to consider adding personal injury cover to your policy. This may be available as an add-on to your electric motorbike insurance.
In addition to insurance, you also need to tax it, have a valid motorbike licence and an MOT.
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Do I need insurance for an electric moped?
Electric mopeds are treated just the same as petrol mopeds or more powerful electric motorbikes. They need to be taxed and insured, and you must have passed a CBT or hold a valid licence to ride an electric moped on public roads.
Types of insurance for your electric motorbike
There are 3 key levels of insurance for electric motorbikes, just as there are with regular motorbikes and cars.
Third party only
This is the minimum level of cover you need to ride your electric motorbike on public roads. It pays out only if you or your motorbike damages another vehicle, property or person in an accident.
Third party fire and theft
This provides the third-party cover, and also covers your electric motorbike if it's stolen or damaged by fire.
This is the highest level of cover as it provides cover for your electric motorbike if it's involved in an accident. This is in addition to the protection you get with third party fire and theft. Surprisingly, this is also sometimes the cheapest level of electric motorbike insurance you can buy
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 costs 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 get cheaper motorbike 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.
Why should I buy an electric motorbike?
Whether you're trying to right by the planet or want to reduce your running costs, it's worth working 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 and this helps us get there.
Most new models boast power and speed. Ignore anyone that says they lack power.
Electric motorbikes use less power at a standstill, making them ideal for city commuting.
Cheaper 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 motorbike, the tax charge is £0.
Battery life - depending on the model, you might not be able to take on many miles on an electric motorcycle. If you're zipping around the city, though, this might not be a problem.
Acceleration is more gradual - you don’t get the surge experienced on a petrol motorbike.
here’s little for proud motorbike lovers to tinker with.
Even with government grants they're 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’.
How do I charge an electric motorbike?
This varies between models, but you can charge most electric motorcycles via a wall socket. Usually this takes up to 8 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, and might come at a cost.
Check out our EV charging point map or ZapMap for an up to date list of UK electric charging points.
Does the government offer electric motorbike grants?
Despite the government scrapping grants for buyers of electric cars, it still 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 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.
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.