How many appliances do you own? Let’s see, refrigerator, washer, dryer, TV and maybe a few things like a blender and a toaster. These are things you buy to use, but when not in use, they’re turned off until needed. Do you ever spend an evening working on your refrigerator to modify it, customize it or tune it for more performance? How about your TV? Put a turbo on your washer lately? Are you a clothes dryer enthusiast? Is it your hobby or passion? How do you get more performance out of an appliance? It’s pretty simple, you buy another one.
If you buy an electric motorcycle, you could probably add it to the list of appliances you own because there won’t be a lot for you to do other than ride it, charge it back up and ride it again. What will you be able to do with it? What will the manufacturer allow you to do with it without voiding the warranty? Since the whole thing works as a unit, a high current battery pack, an electric motor, a motor controller and all running some proprietary software that will probably be upgraded now and then over the internet, what else could you do? If spending some quality garage time working on your bike is something you enjoy, you may want to hold onto that internal combustion ride because the new world of electrics might not have a place for you. You could build your own, of course, but what we’re concerned with here is the factory built model.
Rebuilding an electric car gives insight into electric motorcycles
Rich Benoit, a guy up in Massachusetts, bought a salvage Tesla and thought he could rebuild it, a nice way to get an expensive electric car for less money. As you might expect, he ran into a few problems beyond his initial lack of know how. He found out Tesla wants their cars repaired in authorized repair centers and won’t sell parts to the guy who just wants to work on his own car. Rich set up a great YouTube channel, Rich Rebuilds, that documents his long journey. The story is quite interesting. Is this how the world of electric motorcycle repair will be handled?
Whether it’s repairing an electric motorcycle that’s not working right or modifying one just because you want to, the real question is will you be able to? There’s going to be a learning curve while you get up to speed on how an electric motorcycle works, but once you have that handled, will you be able to do anything with it? Will you have to take the route followed by Rich Benoit, buying a salvaged bike for parts and going from there?
Will you buy it if you can’t work on it?
For some of you, the hands off, never touch it, just ride and park it concept is a dream come true. For you, an electric motorcycle is what you need, an appliance, but there’s a sizable number of motorcycle enthusiasts who aren’t just riders, they swap parts, modify and customize and for them an electric will be a challenge. It may not fit into their hands on world at all, in which case, motorcycles may cease to be the hobby or passion they’ve been.
How are electric motorcycle companies going to handle this?
It will be interesting to see how the various companies handle the guy who wants to work on his own bike when it’s an electric. Will they sell parts to anyone who wants them? How will warranties be affected? These are pretty important questions and I haven’t heard much discussion on the subject. Before you put your money down, you might want to decide if being able to work on your own bike is important to you and then ask a few questions to see what you can do.
No user serviceable parts inside. For motorcycles, this is going to be quite a change and I’m curious how it’s going to turn out. What do you think?