In this post we explore the state of the budding US electric moto (eMoto) industry, the factors that have driven the relatively modest adoption curve, and how we can collaborate to bring the next stage of US eMoto growth to life to reach its full potential.
It's no secret that electric motorcycle sales have not taken off like gangbusters, as 2022 data from the powersports industry shows only 2% market share, compared with 4-wheel EVs at 8% and eBikes at greater than 25% of new sales. And while there have been significant notable efforts in the space, from the likes of Alta, Zero and Livewire, riders are simply not choosing to adopt at a mass scale.
Or are they? Expanding the filter to include the likes of Surron and other light eMotos, the view becomes more positive. With more than 50k light eMotos sold over the last couple of years, we're witnessing the fastest increase in powered two wheel adoption in recent history. Take a step further and open the aperture to include throttle operated eBikes and we now have hundreds of thousands of new sales.
The opportunity space clearly lies in figuring out how to bridge those two realities. Accordingly, Dust has distilled our value prop down to being able to clearly answer:
“What makes eMoto special and how might we utilize the inherent benefits of electric to enhance the dirt biking experience and drive growth in the sport?"
Let's break that down by looking at challenges and opportunities:
eMoto Industry Challenges
- The energy density of gas vs battery tech - driving weight and range limits.
- Learning curve of new controls and ride characteristics.
- Disconnect from the core industry.
- Motorbike industry intimidation factor to bring new users into the fold.
- Inability to match performance of gas bikes at a price point.
- Reliable durable power to endure shock, vibration, dust, and water.
- Unique power-to-weight experience for seasoned riders.
- Intuitive and approachable riding experience for newbies.
- American brand with strong connection to the American customer.
- Riding opportunities closer to urban environments.
- Digital for customization, learning, tuning, and community.
- Time savings in maintenance, prep and mastery.
- Reliability and durability to maximize the smiles per mile.
Dust naturally benefits from observing the forerunners of the space including; Alta, Zero, Cake, Surron and Stark. We've gathered these key learnings over the past 5 years:
- Building a product and brand channeling the timeless passion of the American moto industry is obvious, given the depth of knowledge and evolving perspective of electric.
- Electric shouldn't necessarily replace the gas bikes you know and love. The physics involved result in challenging tradeoffs at the top level of performance. Electric does have the opportunity to evolve the sport and bring new, awesome riding opportunities to the table through lightweight and high-torque designs.
- Embracing Surron riders and pulling them into the US moto fold can jumpstart the growth of the industry. Never before have so many new 'throttle-capable' riders been created so quickly, but the performance of these bikes tap out pretty quickly. We need to give this cohort an upgrade path and an open door into the tight-knit moto scene.
- Appealing to the crossover athlete to accelerate adoption. Especially mountain biking (MTB) where the riding experience is most similar to operation of an eMoto. From speed and flow, to technique and training, eMoto enhances the positive aspects of MTB. Crossover brands with one foot in moto and one in MTB already exist like Fox Racing, Troy Lee Designs and Fast House.
- Creating a community where riders, events, and brands all help build the stoke together. Creating the right eMoto bike means colleagues can join the journey by starting their own companies that in turn support growth to create an eMoto flywheel. From developing tracks to organizing events, to parts manufacturers, creating tour companies, and everything in between.
In conclusion, DUST thinks the secret sauce for mainstreaming eMoto in the US is to develop a performance oriented product that enhances the core moto experience without driving towards replacement; create a community where riders, events, and brands all help build the stoke together; squash the new rider learning curve with quiet, low maintenance, and tunable power; appeal to crossover athletes; leverage digital for customization, learning, tuning, and community; give Surron riders an upgrade path; and finally, build an iconic American brand with strong connection to the American customer.
DUST believes riding a dirt bike is a uniquely freeing experience that too many folks miss out on. Electric can bring this experience to more riders than ever before, while enhancing the aspects we love for those already participating.
We’d love to hear your feedback on the DUST thesis - please feel free to email us - <Colin or Neil or Jarett> @dustmoto.com .
Nuggets from the DUST team, friends, and colleagues this week:
- Rickie Fowler, a noted MX racer growing up, has placed top 5 in the US Open Championship, sporting custom Troy Lee Designs shoes. This result is a noted return to the leaderboard for the much-loved SoCal hero. (here)
- Our colleagues from Micromobility Industries recently wrapped their Europe event June 8-9 in Amsterdam for 1,500 attendees (here). Highlights included event founder Horace Dediu outlining the scale of micromobility electrification worth $180B today doubling by 2030 to $440B based on McKinsey analysis (here).
- Our colleagues at Beta USA have rebranded an Apollo RFN to diversify their US offering. The Explorer eMoto is manufactured in China for adult riders of all ages and experience levels. Quiet, simple, and easy to ride. 30% smaller vs a normal dirt bike to be less intimidating and fun for trails, camping, hunting, and ranching. 3 speeds casual, medium, and for a quick 10-second burst 'Rocket' mode (here).
- The UK’s latest electric indoor motocross track opened in Cumbria recently. The Cumbria Moto Park (here), housed poultry before the shed was transformed into a large indoor dirt track for eMoto (here). Pathfinders for CMP included Hyper Trax Scotland (here), and eTrax Northern Ireland (here).
Please share this newsletter with anyone who is passionate about 2-wheel culture, motorsports, or technology. It's with this engaged community that we will build the best product and brand possible!
See you all next week when the dust settles again! Peace out.