VANCOUVER — Electric motorcycles, electric cars and other electric-powered vehicles are on the rise in Vancouver, where they’re selling like hotcakes in a booming city that’s struggling to build a strong middle class.
The Motorcycle and Electric Vehicle Market Report released Wednesday by the Canadian Association of Motorcycle Dealers showed the number of electric motorcycle sales increased 13% in the first quarter, more than any other major market.
Sales for electric bikes jumped by 35% in Canada’s second-biggest city, while sales of electric motorcycles increased 15% in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s motorcycle and electric vehicle sales were up by about 50% from the same period last year.
In Vancouver, electric motorcycles accounted for nearly three-quarters of all new motorcycle sales, according to the report.
Electric mopeds made up nearly a quarter of all sales, while electric bicycles and electric scooters were used by just over 1% of the city’s population.
Motorcycle dealerships in the city are being flooded with demand for electric vehicles as more and more customers are turning to them to get around in cities with slow traffic and little access to public transportation.
A key driver of the boom in electric bikes and electric motorcycles is Vancouver’s burgeoning bike-share program, which launched in September.
More than 1,500 electric bikes have been registered in Vancouver this year, up from about 600 last year, according the city.
Last year, Vancouver police reported a surge in bike thefts and collisions, which prompted the city to install barriers around bicycle lanes and increase enforcement.
But bike theft remains a concern in the central city, as more people are looking for the convenience of using a bike for short trips or riding in the street.
It’s unclear whether the bike theft trend will continue to climb as Vancouver moves toward a fully electric future.
“I don’t know if we’ll see any increase in bike theft over the next year or two, but there will be an increase in the number,” said Matt Boulton, director of the Bike Theft and Bike Safety Unit of Vancouver police.
Boulton said police will continue patrolling bike lanes and adding bike racks to increase awareness of the new rules.
As for electric scooter sales, Boulston said it’s not a big deal for most people in Vancouver because most people don’t own one of these bikes.
Electric scooters are more popular in Vancouver than the newer bikes and are now available in larger sizes for less than $300.
Boulson said electric scooters are popular because they can go faster than the older bikes, which are generally slower than the new electric scoops.
For people who do own electric scotches, Bouson said it can be an option, but most people won’t ride one if they don’t want to spend more than $100 for a new scooter.
At the same time, Boudreau said he does believe electric scots will continue growing in the next few years, with the demand for more scooters on Vancouver streets increasing.
Even with the booming electric bike market, Bodreau said the city has some work to do to build an electric vehicle system.
I’m concerned that the cost of electricity in Vancouver is going to be too high for electric-vehicle owners, and they’ll end up renting electric bikes,” Boudrier said.
This is not the first time Boudreaux has talked about the city trying to create an electric car system in Vancouver that would be affordable and accessible to the city at the same price that electric bikes are available.
He said the province is spending $250 million to create the Electric Vehicle System in the Greater Vancouver Area, which will include electric bikes, electric scoots and electric bikes with electric scopes.
According to the Vancouver City Council, the project would have electric scoped scooters available for $1,000, and electric moped scooters for $500.
City council members have also proposed a plan to build 100 electric bikes by 2021, with a goal of 100 electric scopys by 2023.
Councilman Gregor Robertson said the plan is to give a “complete, affordable electric vehicle” to everyone, and he is not concerned about the cost.
Robertson said he is working with the province on a new, fully electric electric vehicle, and is looking forward to hearing from the province about how they plan to create that system.