I ran across a company called Evoke Motorcycles recently, which is a Chinese electric motorcycle company. Evoke claims to be “Asia’s First Electric Motorcycle Company.” While this might be a lofty claim, and it’s always hard to tell what company’s are vaporware, the guy behind the company has an interesting background.
Nathan Siy, the founder of Evoke, runs tours of Beijing on electric scooters with his company Beijing Electric Bike Tours for those that want to explore the city with a guide. The tours get good reviews on TripAdvisor and the concept is smart. The cost to run electric scooters is low as they don’t require much maintenance and charging costs are minimal I imagine in Beijing. (At least I assume electric production and therefore rates are low.) More importantly they don’t produce much noise and are easy to ride which is a plus for talking to people while riding around Beijing and explaining landmarks and attractions. (Again, this is what I assume.) Scooters can also go where cars can’t and there are lots of electric scooters around Beijing.
The experience Siy has gained from running tours and fixing the electric scooters he’s translated that knowledge into starting Evoke Motorcycles it seems.
Urban S100 – Electric Motorcycle
Currently the company only has one model that hasn’t gone on sale, the Urban S100. Here are some specs;
- Top Speed – 74 mph
- 10 kw Direct Drive – Hub Motor
- 150cc gas engine equivalent
- Battery – Lithium Cobalt
- Estimated Range – 93 miles City, 55 miles highway
- Regenerative Braking
- Charge Time – 8 Hours
- Starting Price – $6,500
The Urban S 100 looks like a fairly well put together motorcycle. Of courses it’s hard to tell from pictures. From what I can tell the bikes are retrofitted with an electric motor, battery, and motor controller. Still the expertise and manufacturing capabilities are already there. China’s electric scooter industry accounts for the majority of sales around the world, and builds millions of electric mopeds a year, so it makes sense to build electric motorcycles in China. Unsure where I remember hearing this but there were 9+ million electric scooters sold in China last year.
On the website there is a “In the Works” page. They have a model called the Kruzer which will be a cruiser motorcycle. In addition they have a second model the SuperSport V2, which will be a larger and more powerful sportbike compared to the Urban S100. There are no specifications given for the Kruzer of SupserSport V2, price range, or estimated dates of availability.
Siy is a Chinese Canadian (there is a large Chinese population in Canada), so this begs the question, will he import these to North America? Currently the Evoke Motorcycles website has no information about it and it doesn’t even look like you can purchase an Urban S100. There would be a lot of regulatory hurdles in terms of safety standards they would have to meet for the motorcycles to be licensed for US roads though.
If Evoke was able to import electric motorcycles and sell slightly more powerful models it would likely be an attractive option for American and Canadian buyers. Even with import duties and shipping costs they could be sold for less than what is available right now. Zero Motorcycles, arguably the leader in the market right now, has said the most common complaint they hear is their motorcycles are too expensive. The base price for the Zero S is $13,345 and that does not include any taxes, shipping fees, or registration fees. If you want extra mileage range expect to shell out $2,500 for the PowerTank and $600 for the quick charger. You might be able to find a good Zero S, Zero SR, or Zero DS that someone wants to sell used but the savings are not that great. The market is small so electric motorcycles hold their value as far as I can tell. That’s why having an attractive lower cost new bike option would be ideal.
Electric Motorcycle Club’s Take
I haven’t come across any other company like Evoke Motorcycles. Although, there could certainly be other companies like Evoke that are building electric motorcycles in China. That would be logical. I don’t speak or read Chinese. That means I’m not doing searches in Chinese for “electric motorcycles” or “电动摩托车” according to Google Translate. That’s electric motorcycles in Simplified Chinese if it was not clear. 🙂
I hope Evoke is successful and it sounds like Nathan Siy has the expertise and background to build these bikes. However, it’s always hard getting a vehicle company started and operational and I’m not sure if they’ve even sold too many of these yet.
UPDATE – After a little more digging I learned that Evoke Motorcycles evolved out of another company called ElectroForce Motors. Same idea as Evoke, build inexpensive but quality electric motorcycles. ElectroForce is defunct due to a difference of opinion among management I was told but this actually a good thing. According to this article in the South China Morning Post the development and research sounds like it was far along with ElectroForce and they had lined up distributors in other countries.
For more information – http://www.evokemotorcycles.com/