Sales of electric motorcycles and scooters will peak in 2023

Sales of electric motorcycles and scooters will peak in 2023
Sales decline for electric scooters in the first ten months of 2023
Declining sales for electric scooters in the first ten months of 2023 (source: ANCMA)

Sales of electric motorcycles and scooters in Italy will show a sharp decline in 2023. The growth trend of recent years seems to have reached a stopping point and not even the incentives seem to have an effect.

Sales of electric motorcycles and scooters in Italy in 2023 are in free fall. Judging from ten months' data, Italians are still buying electric motorbikes and scooters but less than sector operators expected. This phenomenon is also evident in other countries, such as Spain and Holland, which have recorded double-digit percentage reductions as in Italy.
Italians purchased 11.083 electric vehicles in the first ten months of the year, with a decrease of 21% compared to the same period of the previous year. The figure is even more serious if compared with the internal combustion vehicle sector which in the same ten months grew by almost 17%, exceeding 300.000 units registered in ten months between January and October.

The new Kawasali Ninja 7 Hybrid
The new Kawasali Ninja 7 Hybrid

The ANCMA (National Association of Motorcycles and Accessories) reiterated that: “It appears increasingly urgent to unfreeze the resources advanced from the 2022 campaign, equal to 5,6 million euros, which would allow the market to reach the end of the year. We therefore renew the appeal to the Government to support a market already naturally oriented towards community objectives of environmental sustainability".
Although eco-incentives helped the growth of the electric two-wheeled sector in 2022, those provided in 2023 do not appear to have had the same effect. In 2023, 35 million euros were made available but around half were absorbed by electric quadricycles and the remaining funds were not sufficient to support the sector.
Electric mopeds represent the sector from which the greatest growth was expected. At the end of 2022 there were those who predicted that electric mopeds would overtake thermal ones by 2023, while the 2023 data tell us that the former represent only 20% of the total mopeds sold. What are the causes of this stop?

Yamaha NEO's 2023 electric scooter in AQUA version
The Yamaha NEO's 2023 electric scooter in the AQUA version (photo: Yamaha)

Some speculate a lack of supply, with supply problems and deliveries lasting several months. However, this assumption does not find much foundation.
Beyond possible contingent causes, difficult to hypothesize on a market as large as the European one, the research seems to focus more on system reasons. Those who were inclined to buy an electric two-wheeler have already had the opportunity to buy it in the last two years, taking advantage of government incentives and discounts from dealers. Now that the pioneers already own an electric moped, different tools are needed to reach users who are more skeptical or less informed about electric mobility.
For this, the electric sales network needs to find different forms. The multi-brand dealership that sells thermal and electric motor vehicles doesn't work for the latter. The business model of these realities is heavily based on after-sales and maintenance services linked to traditional vehicles. An electric vehicle doesn't need as frequent maintenance as a thermal one, which makes it unattractive for a dealership that sells both products.

Sales of electric mopeds in the first six months of 2023 vs 2022
Registrations of electric mopeds in the first six months of 2023 vs 2022 (source ACEM)

If we move to observe the marketing model of two-wheeled electric vehicles, it is evident that at the moment it is very weak: it does not promote a new idea in which the user can identify with, but replicates that of traditional vehicles. How should a potential customer see themselves on an electric scooter? What does an electric two-wheeler represent in your eyes? Resorting to the current influencer who already promotes a myriad of products and who creates yet another post in which he is sitting on an electric scooter seems too weak an answer.
The advertising of electric vehicles is in fact often limited to social channels, most of the time it reaches those who already know about electric vehicles, resulting in little effectiveness in expanding the market.
Finally, the presence of a myriad of brands in the electric two-wheeler sector is not an advantage, on the contrary. This is accompanied by the lack of traditional brands, an element that does not help to perceive the value of the electric vehicle. The absence of the historic two-wheeler brands, understandably the least inclined to move away from the thermal business model, leaves potential customers perplexed who see a lower value of the electric vehicle in this absence. And here the ability to give an answer to the question becomes fundamental: what should a two-wheeled electric vehicle represent in the eyes of the customer? The number of electric vehicles we will see in cities in the coming years will depend on the ability to formulate an answer to this question.

The Kawasaki Ninja e-1
The Kawasaki Ninja e-1 (Photo: Kawasaki)

If we move to observe the marketing model of two-wheeled electric vehicles, it is evident that at the moment it is very weak: it does not promote a new idea in which the user can identify with, but replicates that of traditional vehicles. How should a potential customer see themselves on an electric scooter? What does an electric two-wheeler represent in your eyes? Resorting to the current influencer who already promotes a myriad of products and who creates yet another post in which he is sitting on an electric scooter seems too weak an answer.
The advertising of electric vehicles is in fact often limited to social channels, most of the time it reaches those who already know about electric vehicles, resulting in little effectiveness in expanding the market.
Finally, the presence of a myriad of brands in the electric two-wheeler sector is not an advantage, on the contrary. This is accompanied by the lack of traditional brands, an element that does not help to perceive the value of the electric vehicle. The absence of the historic two-wheeler brands, understandably the least inclined to move away from the thermal business model, leaves potential customers perplexed who see a lower value of the electric vehicle in this absence. And here the ability to give an answer to the question becomes fundamental: what should a two-wheeled electric vehicle represent in the eyes of the customer? The number of electric vehicles we will see in cities in the coming years will depend on the ability to formulate an answer to this question.

Sales of electric motorcycles and scooters in Italy - I semester 2023 vs 2022
Sales of electric motorcycles and scooters in Italy in the first half of 2023 compared with 2022

Source: ANCMA

To be updated on MotoE World Cup, subscribe to Epaddock's Whatsapp broadcast and receive all our news on your mobile phone in real time: find out how here.