There is no denying that many of us are feeling the pinch right now. With living costs rising, the price of fuel fluctuating and belts being tightened, it’s little wonder many are considering downsizing or making the transition to electric power.
Fortunately, the Scooter market continues to thrive with a wide range of nippy, frugal and easy to ride urban runabouts giving you plenty of choice.
Better still, 2023 is set to see the burgeoning EV motorcycle market enjoy an influx of new models keen to catch the eye of those willing to invest soon in a greener future on two wheels.
Much has changed since Harley-Davidson stunned the motorcycle industry by bringing its ambitious LiveWire to market in 2019.
Indeed, it has been a rocky few years for the pricey LiveWire - now known as the ONE - in a sparse market, but with LiveWire having since been spun-off into a brand in its own right, it is now readying its second all-electric effort; the LiveWire Del Mar.
A smaller, more affordable, flat-track inspired roadster aimed directly at the ‘young, hip and trendy’ demographic, the LiveWire Del Mar has designs on being the Apple iPhone of motorcycles.
Prices and a launch date for the UK are yet to be confirmed, but the Del Mar is designed to fulfil a convenient urban brief. So while its 110-mile range and 80bhp is modest, it is lighter and more fun than the average two-wheeler with batteries included.
Having built a solid reputation on the back of its Ego sportsbike and Eva naked, Energica takes electric motorcycles further than ever before - literally - with its ambitious Energica Experia sports tourer, boasting upwards of 260 miles in range.
It’s not cheap at £27,790 so you’ll need to do the maths to ensure it works out beneficial in terms of running costs, but if you have a green conscience and travel long distances, the Experia with its handsome styling, solid build quality and surprisingly keen dynamics makes a convincing argument for itself as a sports tourer, electric or not.
As Energica heads for the highway, fellow all-electric motorcycle pioneers Zero have ventured into the hills with the first proper full-size electric ADV model.
Packing a 17.3kWh battery boasting the equivalent of 102bhp (75kW), the Zero DSR/X is more adept in the rough stuff than you might expect, with us here at BikeSocial even going as far as to describe it as ‘breathtaking’ in our review late last year.
The DSR/X - with its linear torque - can also hustle on the smooth stuff too, but at £24,150, it does demand a lofty price for its size, coming in a fair chunk more than the more powerful, premium and versatile Ducati Multistrada V4 and Triumph Tiger 1200.
Of all the mainstream motorcycle manufacturers, it is Kawasaki that has emerged as the firm putting its best foot forward in the shift towards electric.
While it is still envisaging alternative fuel solutions for the future beyond simply electric, its inaugural EV will be a small-capacity equivalent naked similar to the Z125 urban runaround.
Simply referred to as the Kawasaki Z EV, it retains similar Sugomi styling cues as its ICE-equipped brother and should generate a similar amount of power without spitting out any harmful emissions.
Kawasaki hasn’t revealed too many details about the Z EV but its teeny 3kWh battery is set to stick to the A1 licence limit by generating around 15bhp.
Having stolen a march on rivals in the electric scooter market with the Super Soco CPx - now biting at the heels of Honda and Yamaha at the upper end of the sales charts - parent company Vmoto is now seeking to establish a similar foothold in the more conventional motorcycle class.
While the firm currently does offer motorcycle-like moped machines, it has moved up a class to join the equivalent 125cc ranks with the curiously-named Vmoto Stash, so-called because it has space for a helmet to ‘stash’ away under the seat, like a scooter.
Indeed, the Stash has plenty of scooter DNA in its design, which Vmoto hopes will attract current scooter riders when they upgrade to more powerful machinery. Due to go on sale in the next few weeks, the Stash is powered by a 15kWh battery unit, should be light enough to nip in and out of gaps and should - like the rest of its range - be well-priced.
The long-awaited (and belated) launch of the Damon HyperSport should go ahead at some stage in 2023, giving the top-end sportsbike class its first genuine electric-powered contender to rival the likes of the Yamaha R1 and BMW S 1000 RR.
The ambitious product of a Canadian company that originally set out to partner with mainstream manufacturers to integrate its 360-degree radar safety system, Damon instead went on to develop its own motorcycle with the device fitted instead. The result is the Damon HyperSport, the first premium sportsbike to hit 200bhp from electric power.
While the decision to make it an EV came later, the HyperSport boasts some enticing performance figures with the top of the range HS and Premier trims utilising a 200bhp, 20kWh battery to hit 200mph and 0-60 in less than three seconds, all while managing a range of 200 miles. A more affordable 11kWh version comes with 100bhp too.
Will it live up to the hype? Time will tell…
The sharper, more lavishly equipped Yamaha XMAX 300 strengthens the Japanese marque’s enduringly popular scooter line-up to keep the pressure on the Honda Forza in the sales charts.
An edgier silhouette gives the XMAX a more muscular appearance, while some eye-catching details include an X-shaped pattern on the nose cone, with a similar treatment to the rear, while it comes with Yamaha’s new 4.2’ TFT dash display too.
With prices starting at £6,200 for the standard trim, the more generously equipped Yamaha XMAX 300 Tech MAX adds plusher upholstery and aluminium footplates and high-mounted LED front flashers.
Suzuki gives the venerable Burgman scooter a refresh in 125 trim to help it face up to stiff competition from Honda, Yamaha and the new generation electric offerings from Super Soco and NIU.
While the design itself remains fairly unchanged, the Burgman 125EX now comes with stop-start technology, LED lighting and Smartphone connectivity, while the 124cc engine zips along briskly with 8.6bhp on tap
The 2023 Suzuki Address 125 has navigated its way into showrooms to join the Burgman and the Avenis in the firm’s three-strong scooter line-up.
More classically styled than its counterparts, Suzuki has spruced up the Address’ ageing design with some chrome-effect detailing at the rear and on the front headlight, while it comes with the firm’s new SEP (Suzuki Eco Performance) engine.
The cheapest scooter in the Suzuki range, prices for the Suzuki Address start at £2,499.
Like Kawasaki, Yamaha has big ambitions for its electric future, with the Yamaha E01 scooter set to be its opening gambit in Europe. Already on sale in Japan, it isn’t known exactly when the E01 will reach UK shores but it mirrors the big-selling NMAX in terms of size, performance and ease of use.
Dominated by its broad, socket-shrouded front-end, the E01 maintains its shape by hiding the 4.9kWh battery under the floor, keeping the centre of gravity low to ensure nimble handling still.
With a 60 mile range, the E01 is currently available on a lease programme in Japan at a price that works out around £140 a month.
Husqvarna have been beavering away behind the scenes on its inaugural electric models, the first of which - the Husqvarna E-Pilen - will join the Kawasaki Z EV by entering the small capacity segment.
Previewed first in 2020, a near-production ready model has been revealed looking similar to the concept version presented a year earlier, the 125cc-equivalent model blending some funky design touches amid those unmistakable Huskie traits.
A sister version from parent company KTM - set to be known as the KTM E-Duke - is also due, both being equipped with an 8kWh battery generating around 14bhp, enabling a range of around 70 miles.
Kawasaki isn’t abandoning fossil fuels just yet as it returns to the idea of combining them with an electric motor with this HEV Hybrid sportsbike.
Currently undergoing development but looking very close to reaching a production-ready form during the EICMA show in November 2022, while Hybrid motorcycles haven’t been popular in the past, Kawasaki is banking on it finding favour with its zero emissions at lower speeds - allowing it to enter emissions-free city centre zones - before kicking into a more conventional sportsbike above 30mph for out-of-town riding.
Using some clever packaging that hides the extra components well, the Kawasaki HEV Hybrid is around the size and has the performance of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Sales could begin by the end of the year.
Can-Am returns to the motorcycle arena after more than 40 years away with a bold new all-electric effort to rival Harley’s LiveWire brand.
Revived by Canadian owners Bombardier, the firm has already presented two concept models - the Can-Am Origin and Can-Am Pulse.
The dual-sport Origin draws on Can-Am’s dirt bike heritage and certainly makes a mark, even if it does appear suspiciously similar to the Husqvarna Norden 901.
The smaller Can-Am Pulse, meanwhile, is a more conventional roadster aimed at the LiveWire Del Mar aimed at urban commuters.
Can-Am hasn’t revealed any performance details as yet, but says it plans to be back on the road by 2025.
Not all future scooters have to be electric, as the wacky Italjet Dragster gets some extra ‘jet’ with a more powerful 500cc variant.
Presented in concept form at EICMA in 2022, the Dragster 500GP remains impossible to miss with its distinctive trellis frame, exposed mechanicals and sharp detailing.
While the hub-centre forward suspension has been dropped in favour of a more conventional set-up, the Dragster 500GP should ride as quick as it looks… especially with Ducati MotoGP runner-up Andrea Dovizioso helping with development.