Could Asia Become the Centre of Electric Motorbike Revolution?

Food and Beverages | Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Asia accounts for more than half of all global motorbike sales. In some countries, it is uncommon for a family to not own one. Sales of electric motorbikes in Asia could increase by three to four times their existing level by the end of this decade.

FREMONT, CA: The term electric vehicle across the globe instantly summons up images of a Tesla or another similar car. But across Asia, the competition for EV dominance is being waged on motorbikes. Asia accounts for more than half of all global motorbike sales, and in some countries, it is uncommon for a family to not own one.

It is not uncommon to see laboriously laden motorbikes across Asia. Take Thailand, the country with the highest per-person use of motorcycles. 87% of families there own at least one motorbike. These are generally the scooter variant, whereby the rider drives with his or her feet directly in front. Thailand is closely followed by Vietnam (86%), Indonesia (85%), and Malaysia (83%). The figures then plunge to 60% and 47% respectively, in giant markets like China and India. The extensive majority of Asia's motorbikes presently run on petrol, but transport specialists say that a significant switch to electric versions is now picking pace.

Asia is currently witnessing an enormous scope for development in sales of electric motorbikes since personal disposable incomes, especially outside China, in markets like India and Southeast Asia, still remain low on average, which makes cars unaffordable. Particularly at a time like this, when foodstuffs and fuel inflation are heightened. That adds to the immediate cost of owning a petrol vehicle.  Sales of electric motorbikes in Asia could increase by three to four times their existing level by the end of this decade, with international demand increasing by the same amount. Meanwhile, one report forecasted that global sales of electric motorcycles will double from USD 15.73bn in 2020 to USD 30.52bn in 2030. While some firms in the transport sector are dreaming big, others have had some high-profile issues. Indian firm Ola Electric made headlines after one of its electric motorbikes caught fire. Two other Indian electric motorbike firms have also registered fires since the end of last year.

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