Riders get big incentives to buy electric motorcycles in CA

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It doesn’t look like a Harley, but it is, only faster. The LiveWire is an electric alternative for lovers of the iconic American motorcycle company.

Harley-Davidson motorcycle company

Warmer weather in the central San Joaquin Valley means its motorcycle season, and state and federal agencies are offering cash to get riders off gas-burning engines and onto green machines.

The sound of a high-powered engine seems an intrinsic part of the riding experience for most motorcyclists. But several manufacturers are now offering powerful, attractive zero-emission bikes that make the switch tempting, especially in a time of sky-high gas prices.

The incentives, outlined by the California Air Resources Board, can add up to thousands of dollars in savings, including a 10% federal tax credit up to $2,500, a clean fuel reward up to $1,500, a clean vehicle rebate up to $750, and a rebate of up to $1,000 for those living in the San Joaquin Valley.

Here are some of the electric motorcycles available in California:

HARLEY-DAVIDSON LIVE WIRE

Harley LiveWire.JPG
The LiveWire doesn’t have the famous “rumble in the tunnel” sound that made Harley famous, but it can out accelerate its gas-powered cousins, according to the company. Harley-Davidson motorcycle company

Harley-Davidson touts a 0-60 acceleration time of three seconds for the Livewire, almost twice as fast as the company’s gas-powered Road King, according to the Zeroto60Times website. The list price is $22,000, and the cruising range is up to 146 miles, with a fast-charge time of 40 minutes.

On the down side for Fresno buyers, neither Mathews Harley-Davidson, near downtown, nor Fresno Harley-Davidson, in northwest Fresno, have plans to sell the electric bike.

“The market isn’t here,” said a salesman at Fresno Harley, who would only provide his first name of Michael.

That would make the closest dealer in either San Jose or Sacramento.

ENERGICA EGO

Energica Ego.JPG
The Italian-made Energica Ego, is built in Modena, Italy not far from the home of Ferrari. Energicamotorusa

With a price of about $25,000, the Energica Ego boasts an acceleration of 0-60 in 2.6 seconds and a city-highway combined range of 261 miles. The Italian motorcycle maker claims the battery can be topped up to 80% in 40 minutes. The manufacturer brags that with a top speed of 150 mph, it is the fastest road bike on the market. Information: Energica Dealer and Service Center.

ZERO MOTORCYCLES

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The Zero FX offers the lowest out-the-door price of the three manufacturers in this comparison, along with more off-road potential.

With a list price of about $10,000, the Zero FX touts a top speed of 85 mph. The Scotts Valley-based manufacturer said it can be fast-charged in about an hour, at a claimed cost of about 40 cents. It comes with off-road tires and suspension. Dealer: Monterey Peninsula Motorsports.

LIVING WITH AN ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE

The Clovis Police Department reports that it is one of the largest police forces in California to use electric motorcycles. While the agency also uses gas-powered BMWs for most duties, the electric bikes come in handy for special events such as the Clovis Rodeo.

Motorcycle officer A.J. Ferguson said the Zero motorcycles are nifty vehicles for patrolling near bike lanes and other off-road destinations because of their light weight. On hot days, it’s a definite advantage to not experience the heat put out by the BMWs.

The downside is the limited range. Ferguson said it amounts to about 80 miles before a recharge is needed. If the Zero is used for traffic enforcement, rapid acceleration puts an extra drain on the battery. If the motorcycle is charged at a 110 home wall plug, a recharge will take several hours.

Another downfall for electric bikes, he noted, is service. With no dealer in the central San Joaquin Valley, Ferguson said the next best option is an automotive electrical shop. He said the dealer recommended Electric Lab.

This story was originally published April 12, 2022 5:00 AM.

A native of Colorado, Jim Guy studied political science, Latin American politics and Spanish literature at Fresno State University, and advanced Spanish grammar in Cuernavaca, Mexico.