The sales of gas-powered scooters and motorcycles in Europe declined by 6.1% in the first quarter of 2018, with small-displacement two-wheelers taking the biggest hit. Customers bought 40.2% fewer small commuters in Q1 2018, and France, arguably the biggest market for these machines, recorded a drop of no less than 41.5% in registrations.
Other European countries famed for their appetency for mopeds and small-displacement scooters, such as Holland, Italy, Belgium and Spain also recorded double-digit decline in sales.
It appears that electric scooters, mopeds, bicycles and motorcycles are the cause for the drop across Europe, as sales for EVs soared a whopping 51.2%. Still referring to France, that market also recorded the biggest increase in sales of electric motorcycles. The French riders bought 228% more electric motorcycles compared to last year, helping the overall European market grow by 118.5% in this segment.
The sub-50cc scooter market decline can also be attributed to the increasing performance and availability of electric bicycles, coupled with decreasing prices. Europeans are well-known for the fact that they choose two-wheeled commuting over driving their cars in the urban clutter. However, while riding a gas-powered scooter requires licensing, insurance, regular technical inspections and even parking permits, pedelecs do not.
Even more, the recent electric bicycles seem to be nearly as capable as sub-50cc mopeds in terms of speed and even range, while also allowing their riders to access zones that are restricted to other types of two-wheelers, making commuting, shopping and even leisure more rewarding and efficient.
With legendary scooter manufacturers such as Vespa showing their first electric machine last autumn, it’s easy to figure out that the tracks are laid for the large-scale advent of EVs in the two-wheeled world. State incentives upon purchase of electric two-wheelers and tax exempts are also causing more customers to go for EVs than for gas-powered small scooters.
Still heavily outnumbered by internal combustion engine machines, electric two-wheelers are catching up faster and faster, with electric bicycles estimated to sell around 2 million units in 2018 in 2018. For measure, in Germany alone, more than 720,000 units were sold last year.
Any guesstimates as to when the sales of electric motorcycles will rival the gas-powered machines, anyone?