The United States could Be the land of the automobile, with its network-oriented cities, wide roads and highways stretching into the horizon. But cities that weren’t built for cars have narrow, winding, and possibly cobbled streets without many parking opportunities, and you’ll find that mopeds and small-engine motorcycles of all kinds are much more common in these cities than cars. They are inexpensive to operate, easy to maintain, and relatively simple to learn to drive. Most of the time it is not about leisure, but about transport and business.
Back when I lived in London, the motorbike was my main mode of transport. I traveled around Hanoi on a moped. Bangkok, Fez, Paris, Rome: they are full of mopeds and motorbikes. But what will happen to this mode of transportation as we move away from internal combustion engines and toward electrification?
I spoke to motorcycle legend Erik Buell to get his take on what the future holds. A motorcycle racing champion, engineer and founder of the Buell Motorcycle Company, Buell is helping the Fuell Company imagine the future, including the recently launched $10,695 Fuell Fllow.
Above: Erik Buell talks about the Fuell Flow.
The future of mopeds and motorcycles is electric, says Buell. In fact, he believes mopeds and motorcycles play an even more important role in transportation in general.
“A group of city mayors from all over Europe are standing up and saying they’re going to ban internal combustion in their cities,” Buell says, highlighting what’s driving the change. “It won’t happen next year, but it will happen soon.”
Indeed, in Paris, home to at least half a million mopeds and motorcycles, daily parking fees are now imposed on two-wheeled vehicles equipped with an engine. But not the electric ones. So when it comes to electrifying motorcycles, light-duty mid-size or moped-sized vehicles are the obvious place to start for Buell.
But this is not only due to the large number of people who use them daily and their vital importance to the functioning of entire cities.