Electric motocross will be the first large scale public adoption of electric powered vehicles...
There has been a lot of fuss about the electric hybrid cars lately and a little fuss about electric motorcycles. With rising fuel prices, electric transport is starting to look more appealing but I think its in the leisure industry we'll see it hit first.
The trouble with commuting and general take up of electric (or electric hybrid) vehicles is that there is a lot of 'inertia' (will I be stranded? why pay more? I don't want to look like a geek...). Without the take up, the costs don't come down either so we're left waiting for fuel costs to rise sufficiently to make electric transport so appealing it can no longer be ignored.
The advantage of the leisure industry is that there are no such issues. Instead, electric power offers the instant appeal of low maintenance and silence. The downsides are acceptance (it has yet to gain trust) and understandable nervousness about running out of battery power.
As electric motocross bikes become genuinely competitive we will see the acceptance issue fade very quickly and with replacement battery power packs, the battery power running out becomes less of an issue.
A particular niche that is ripe for filling is 'kids dirt bikes' - serious dirt power that kids in the 5-12 age range can use. These bikes are generally used in the yard and parents are often keen to restrict kids activity on them to reasonable periods so the battery life can become an advantage rather than a handicap.
Here in SE Queensland, trail riding and dirt bikes are hugely popular because we have the climate and the space... but the space is getting more and more restricted, more because of the noise and pollution than for any other reasons.
Electric dirt bikes don't just compete directly with fuel engined machines (they are lighter and have better performance characteristics for the majority of riders) but they offer a real advantage in that landowners and local residents wont even know they are there, let alone want to complain!
In the next few years, wiith the fuel prices here, the logical ease of setting up a 'swap & go' style service at fuel stations for power packs, I can see electric commuter bikes becoming very popular. Mind you, the number of batteries that would need to be held at the 'swap & go' centers could be prohibitive so we're still in need of a breakthrough in battery technology to see these things really take off!
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