Will an electric motorcycle save me money?

First of all... it's not really about the money

I have a Type 601 electric motorcycle and a traditional petrol Honda CB125R. I absolutely love my Honda but it has been sitting in my garage untouched since I got my electric motorcycle. I don't ride it because of the very low cost of ownership but because of the thrill of riding. It's the closest thing to flying and invokes feelings of freedom and it is a natural high. It gives me my mojo back. That said, I know money always matters in the end so let's compare costs and see how things measure up.

Honda CB125R

I'll compare the Type 601 to the Honda CB125R since it's in the same motorcycle class and its price is roughly the same, the Honda costing 120 000 Kč exw and the the Type 601 a little more at 139 000 Kč exw.

Let's start off with the running costs. Last year I rode 10440km, mainly commuting into Prague.

In the Czech Republic, regular unleaded petrol costs 36 Kč/litre. The Honda uses 2.1 l/100km, giving a fuel cost for the year of 7 900 Kč. That's pretty cheap.

In comparison, electric costs 3.60 Kč/kWh. The Type 601 uses 4kWh/100km, giving a fuel cost for the year of 1 500 Kč. OMG, that's really, really cheap! In fact, it's 50% cheaper than buying a yearly pass for Prague's public transport.

Next, let's think about maintenance. The big things like brakes and tyres are the same for both, but there's lots of things that combustion engines need, like oil, coolant, spark plugs etc. that aren't needed for an electric. Honda has a service plan for 3-years that adds 3 500 Kč per year for these.

Finally, insurance, which isn't a big cost for either motorbike. The basic insurance of the Honda is 900 Kč and the Type 601 is a ridiculous 400 Kč a year in the Czech Republic.

Taking these things together, annual running costs for the Honda are 12 300 Kč and for the Type 601 are 1 900 Kč. A saving of 10 400 Kč per year.

Over the course of 5-years of ownership, an electric Type 601 motorbike will save you 52 000 Kč*

*End of story? Electrics win hands down? No, not quite. We didn't talk about value depreciation. It's the biggest cost of all but is often overlooked because it's not easy to judge.

Looking at the Honda, it has a big problem because it will be excluded from no-emission zones in the near future. It may even be unsellable in 5 years time. On the other hand, the Type 601 also has a problem because it's battery slowly degrades and will need replacing after 5-10 years. Overall, the likelihood is that the Honda's depreciation will be far higher than the replacement battery cost, and the cost saving may be even higher in the end.

Thanks to Clay Bearman for the idea. Original post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRw4HFjQlK0

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Ian Former

Consultant at Devs motorbikes, media junkie, sports fan. I spend a bit of my time thinking about what we'll do when the oil runs out.

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