Is There A Market for Electric Motorcycle Conversion Kits?

By Bill Moore

Posted: 13 Dec 2009

One of the most affordable ways to electric vehicle ownership is to start with a conversion where the IC engine and its associated sub-systems like gas tanks and exhaust systems are scrapped and replaced with clean electric components. Every year, hundreds of enterprising individuals will take on the challenge of converting small cars, trucks, even motorcycles to run on electric motors. This is a grassroots phenomenon EV World has reported on for many years now.

One of those individuals is EV World's own technical editor, Mike Brace, who converted a 1982 Yamaha Turbo that he bought on eBay for about $700. Equipped with AGM lead-acid batteries, he uses it to commute to and from work. You can read about his project on Instructables.com.

For better than a year now Mike and I have been talking about building me an electric motorcycle -- a project in which my wife has taken a very dim view. She's much more supportive of the notion of seeing my S10 converted to electric drive, but budget considerations have put that project on hold for now.

Then McCraw Hill sent me a review copy of Carl Vogel's Build Your Own Motorcycle, part of their Green Guru Guides, complements of Seth Leitman, the series editor. It got me to thinking more seriously about this fairly affordable route to EV ownership, working with Mike to put together an easy to assemble kit for serious hobbyists.

Towards this end, I am conducting the reader survey below to assess the market potential of offering an EV World-Approved motorcycle conversion kit. We have a general idea of what we think the kit would look like and we're "spitballing" a number around $6,500 for both 72V and 96V versions, with the 72V being a bit less money. This pricing includes lithium-ion batteries and BMS. If you opt to acquire your own batteries, especially lead acid AGM's, then the price of the kit would be less. The buyer would need to provide their own bike, of course, but a quick check of Craig's list here in my area turned up at least three suitable machines for sale between $500-1,200.

If you think this idea has merit, I encourage you take a minute and complete the survey form below to help us better understand the market. If you don't want to complete the survey, but want to share your thoughts, use the reader comment form below.

Thanks for your support and interest.

1. I am most interested in one of the following:
OEM Manufactured Electric Motorcycle
Complete Electric Motorcycle Kit
Sourcing My Own Electric Motorcycle Parts
2. I would use the converted electric motorcycle most for one of the following:
Recreation
Commuting
Local Errands
3. I would ride the electric motorcycle
Year Round
Seasonally
4. Preferred voltage:
48V
72V
96V
5. Preferred battery type
Lead Acid
NiMH
Lithium Ion
6. Preferred driving range at 45 mph:
20 miles
40 miles
60 miles
7. Preferred top speed: (driving faster shortens range).
45 mph
55 mph
65 mph
8. How many man-hours should it take to assemble kit?
25 hr
50 hr
75 hr
100 hr
9. I would acquire my motorcycle frame from:
Already own motorcycle
Salvage suitable frame locally
Order custom frame from EV World
10. I would be interested in purchasing a reasonably priced kit from EV World.
Yes
No

If yes, enter your email if you'd like to be notified if and when a kit should be offered.

    

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