Christopher Hodder's view on the benefits to motorcycling of battery electric
FIM CAP Members
Some commentators are critical of battery electric – even as an interim solution – for cleaner urban mobility.
In terms of air pollution, battery electric does indeed, “shift the problem elsewhere”, but as air pollution is (a) highly local and (b) dependent on the type of generation, this means that if you have hydroelectric or wind to source electricity the issue is almost non-existent.
Coal energy generation is not so clean but can be done far from urban centres where most of the world’s population now live.
In terms of battery technology, there are questions to be asked about the source of some of the rare earth metals that are used. The difference between the internal combustion engine and battery electric is that those rare earth metals can be recovered as part of the vehicle end-of-life process much more easily than burnt hydrocarbons. Hydrogen fuel cell also uses many rare earth metals as does virtually every industry using batteries these days, so denying their use to battery electric vehicles won’t really benefit anyone.
The international market is tiny. -The exception is Norway where government subsidies and a strong economy has attracted people buying new cars. Demand in Norway now exceeds supply when it comes to electric cars. No other country has matched this.
With electric solving many of the issues facing urban centres across the planet, regulation is driving technology towards a zero emissions future and battery electric is the nearest option we currently have.
In the United Kingdom today, several multi party panels of members of parliament have called for a new Clean Air Act (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43405684) that would bring the ban on the retail of petrol and diesel cars sooner than the government’s plan to do so in 2040. Change is coming and it is coming quickly. Toyota is already phasing out diesel this year in some markets (https://www.driving.co.uk/news/toyota-stop-selling-new-diesel-cars-britain-year/).
Motorcycling needs more companies to enter this market. If there are no electric products in the next few years, motorcycling will contract as more people are forced by local governments to either walk, cycle or use public transport.