What electric motorbikes can you actually buy in New Zealand?

What electric motorbikes can you actually buy in New Zealand?

Read Time:7 Minute, 14 Second

Electric two-wheelers should really be given more attention as potential solutions to ditching cars, particularly for those living and working in more urban areas. But is it worth it?

To put it bluntly, yes, it is. The biggest hurdle is, understandably, the buy-in price, but consider the fact that charging an electric bike or scooter at home will barely add $20 to your monthly power bill, and you don’t need to bother with servicing fees beyond new brakes and tires.

You’re looking at saving quite a lot of money in the long run, especially if you can nab a cheap electric scooter or something second hand. Granted, the second hand market is slim pickings at the moment, but it will only get better.

There aren't many full-size electric motorbikes in New Zealand at the moment, but hopefully that will change.

Supplied/Stuff

There aren’t many full-size electric motorbikes in New Zealand at the moment, but hopefully that will change.

An anecdote – a few years ago, my wife picked up an electric scooter, the equivalent of a 50cc petrol. It didn’t require a motorbike license to ride and couldn’t go above 50kph without a steep hill and a tailwind, and it had a range of around 60km. That’s about the same as most PHEV cars, and the instant torque meant beating everything off the line at a traffic light.

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You could take the battery out as well (a feature most e-scooters and motorbikes have) and charge it using a standard wall outlet, meaning you could juice it up anywhere you might charge a laptop. Because the battery was relatively small, it didn’t take three working days to charge from the wall either. A full charge only took a couple of hours.

While electric bikes like the Ubco 2x2 are available, they aren't included in this list because they technically fall into the scooter/moped category.

Nile Jewelry/Stuff

While electric bikes like the Ubco 2×2 are available, they aren’t included in this list because they technically fall into the scooter/moped category.

It was a great little thing, and we only sold it because we lived too far away for my wife to comfortably get to and from where she needed to go.

But we agreed both that if we lived closer to the city, it would still be in the garage. Not paying for fuel or worrying about it not starting one cold morning was great, and that instant dollop of torque is brilliant for vulnerable scooters to get out of harms way.

All that said, that big hurdle I mentioned earlier doesn’t get easier to stomach by thinking about the future. You’ve still got to part with a few thousand dollars at the point of sale, often more than $10,000 if you’re looking at something new and more powerful than a 50cc, or equivalent of. And that sucks.

So, maybe we turn to the Government? The recent emissions plan mentioned e-bikes, but it was only in passing with no concrete changes detailed. Electric motorbike users and would-be users don’t even get that.

SUPPLIED

Meet Harley-Davidson’s first all-electric motorbike – the Livewire.

Considering even the most superbikes emit about as much CO2 as a mid-range hatchback, let alone the tourers and learner-approved machines people actually buy, it is odd that bikes are seemingly exempt from all talk of reducing emissions.

Which is a bummer, because figuring out a way to discount electric two-wheelers could open up a whole new method of transportation for those wanting to easily reduce their carbon footprint and cut down on time spent in traffic.

WHAT IS AVAILABLE?

The market for new electric motorbikes in New Zealand is still pretty slim, but we’ve had a look around to see what’s available for people who want a proper bike, not a scooter. Here’s what we found.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire/LiveWire One

Easily the most expensive electric motorbike in New Zealand, the LiveWire is also probably the most well-known.

Supplied

Easily the most expensive electric motorbike in New Zealand, the LiveWire is also probably the most well-known.

The LiveWire is the most expensive electric bike in the country, but it’s almost certainly the one you’ll know best. Harley spent years tweaking the bike to find the balance between range and power, and as a result the LiveWire boasts the biggest range here… with the biggest battery, to be fair. It lost the HD bar-and-shield in late 2021, becoming the LiveWire One and the first model from the new LiveWire sub-brand.

  • Price: $53,995 to $54,360
  • Claimed range: 235km
  • Battery capacity: 15.5Wh
  • Battery warranty: 5 years/unlimited km
  • Power/torque: 78kW/116Nm
  • Weight: 251kg
  • Learner approved: No

Super Soco TC Max

Super Soco looks to offer some quality equipment for decent prices.

Supplied

Super Soco looks to offer some quality equipment for decent prices.

The Super Soco TC Max is the only larger-than-scooter sized bike available from the brand in New Zealand, with the less powerful (and, hopefully, less expensive) TC still on its way. Super Soco is Chinese, but has the backing of Ducati, which partnered up for the CUX SE Ducati electric scooter. MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo is an ambassador as well, which shows there’s a certain degree of quality here.

  • Price: $7990 to $8290
  • Claimed range: 110km
  • Battery capacity: 3.2kWh
  • Battery warranty: Unknown
  • Power/torque: 5kW/180Nm (peak)
  • Weight: Unknown
  • Learner approved: Unspecified

Evoke Urban S

The Urban S combines modern styling with high torque and high range.

Supplied

The Urban S combines modern styling with high torque and high range.

Evoke’s Urban S is a naked-style bike that targets 400cc levels of performance with electric internals. That means a healthy amount of torque, balanced with a sub-10kWh battery using proprietary technology offering around 200km of range.

  • Price: $16,250
  • Claimed range: 200km
  • Battery capacity: 9.05kWh
  • Battery warranty: 200,000km
  • Power/torque: 19kW/116Nm (peak)
  • Weight: 179kg
  • Learner approved: Yes

Evoke Urban Classic

Meanwhile, the Urban Classic takes the guts of the S and adds an arguably nicer front end design.

Supplied

Meanwhile, the Urban Classic takes the guts of the S and adds an arguably nicer front end design.

The Urban Classic takes the same guts as the Urban S and wraps them in retro styling. The angular headlight from the S is replaced by a circular one, and bar-end mirrors are added as well. You still get the same range and output, but the arguably better looks ask a $500 premium.

  • Price: $16,750
  • Claimed range: 200km
  • Battery capacity: 9.05kWh
  • Battery warranty: 200,000km
  • Power/torque: 19kW/116Nm (peak)
  • Weight: 179kg
  • Learner approved: Yes

Cake Kalk

The Kalk is primarily a trail bike, but you can have it fitted with the required bits for road use as well.

Nile Jewelry/Stuff

The Kalk is primarily a trail bike, but you can have it fitted with the required bits for road use as well.

Swedish bikemaker Cake’s performance option is the Kalk, which sacrifices range for a low weight and a huge amount of rear-wheel torque, thanks to a massive rear sprocket. The Kalk is a trail bike, so top speed is limited to around 90kph, and range is pretty low compared to other options here, but the whole package only weighs 83kg, which is pretty incredible. It goes like hell too, and you can get an even bigger sprocket for even more thrust.

  • Price: $16,600 to $20,538 (formerly GST)
  • Claimed range: 83km (mixed city)
  • Battery capacity: 2.6kWh
  • Battery warranty: Unknown
  • Power/torque: 10kW/252Nm (wheel torque)
  • Weight: 83kg
  • Learner approved: Unspecified

Cake Osa+

The Osa can be fitted with a bunch of official accessories.

Nile Jewelry/Stuff

The Osa can be fitted with a bunch of official accessories.

Meanwhile, the Osa+ is essentially the uncorked Osa commuter. It resembles a scooter but has a metal bar through the middle, which can be used to attach a range of modifications, like an extra seat, basket, or side-mounted surfboard cradle. You can also get the Osa in Lite trim, which ups the range to 92km of city riding, but reduces speed to 50kph.

  • Price: $14,898 (formerly GST)
  • Claimed range: 84km (mixed city)
  • Battery capacity: 2.6kWh
  • Battery warranty: Unknown
  • Power/torque: 10kW/151Nm (wheel torque)
  • Weight: 89kg
  • Learner approved: Unspecified

On Ron Storm Bee (MX/Enduro)

Somehow, Sur Ron has figured out how to make more than 500Nm of rear-wheel torque work on a motorbike.

Supplied

Somehow, Sur Ron has figured out how to make more than 500Nm of rear-wheel torque work on a motorbike.

The Sur Ron Storm Bee is another off-road-oriented machine, available here in MX and Enduro trims. It’s difficult to figure out the exact differences, but both can be had with LED lights, indicators and mirrors for road-going legality. Weight is a fair bit higher than the Kalk, but the Chinese brand has smashed it on the torque front, boasting 520Nm at the rear wheel. Some significant traction control will be necessary to prevent the rear from lighting up whenever you so much as breathe on the throttle…

  • Price: $15,999
  • Claimed range: 105km at 50km/h
  • Battery capacity: 4.6kWh
  • Battery warranty: Unknown
  • Power/torque: 22.5kW/520Nm (max output power/rear wheel torque)
  • Weight: 129kg
  • Learner approved: Yes (although NZTA specifies a 10kW version)

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