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SEMA eNews, Vol. 11, No. 42 - Oct 16, 2008
HYBRID MOTORCYCLES MAY HIT MARKET AS SOON AS 2010

Honda has announced plans to develop and build gasoline-electric hybrid motorcycles for market launch within the next two years. In September, Honda and Yamaha set launch dates for electric motorcycles (according to Reuters, Yamaha will launch in 2010, with Honda following a year later), fueling a competition to reign in new customers and set new standards for mobility. Each company hopes to provide the capability to reach 60 miles per charge by adopting advanced lithium-ion batteries to accomplish their claims.

In a similarly bold move, Honda has plans for a gasoline-electric hybrid range. While hybrid technology is not revolutionary, the use of their complex systems has been a restricting factor in their implementation in motorcycles. Companies such as Zero Motors and Vectrix have market-ready all-electric products available now, but the pairing of electrical components and an internal combustion engine has made packaging cumbersome, especially for niche brands.

The inclusion of major manufacturers is big news. Honda, like many OEMs, has aimed to globalize its product lines by sharing platforms, technologies and factories. Wired magazine reports that these proposed hybrid motorcycles could incorporate components from the upcoming Honda Insight car and its hybrid powertrain. The ability to mass-produce these items helps to overcome the investment hurdles faced by start-up brands and bring new engineering concepts into mainstream markets.

The Motorcycle Industry Council reports motorcycle use has increased in 2008. While unit sales for the industry peaked in 2006 after a consecutive 14-year run of growth, 2007 sales reached 1,105,000, slightly down from 1,190,000 the previous year. Figures for 2008 could be higher. The council does note that sales of used motorcycles and highway miles are on the rise. Weekend leisure driving has extended into weekday commuting as motorists shift their driving habits to fuel-efficient means.

SEMA is in the process of gathering detailed vehicle information on all booth and feature vehicles at the 2008 SEMA Show to obtain a complete inventory of all the vehicles showcased.

Motorcycle representation at the SEMA Show has increased over the past two years, jumping from 50 in 2006 to 67 in 2007. If you are exhibiting a vehicle within your booth at the 2008 SEMA Show and have not had a chance to provide information to SEMA about your booth vehicle(s), please take a moment to fill out our booth-vehicle form by clicking this link: www.SEMAShow.com/boothvehicles.

We are beginning to receive submissions of information and pictures of motorcycles for the 2008 SEMA Show. Here is an example.


2008 Yamaha YZF-R1 by Tanury Industries.

For more original SEMA Market Research, visit www.sema.org/research.

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