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Marchel Bulthuis: ‘The future of motorcycling is electric’

Picture: Peter Musch

More and more motorcycle manufacturers are building bikes that use ‘alternative fuels’ and electric motorcycles could be the future if we want to keep riding without using fossil fuels and without polluting our environment.

To find out more about electric motorcycles, FEMA talked to Marchel Bulthuis, a Dutch importer of a number of different brands of electric motorcycles.

Why would I want to buy an electric motorcycle?

Marchel’s answer is very clear: “Well, it’s fun to be honest! A lot of torque, instant torque is always available, they are just fun to ride.”

That’s it? Just fun?

Marchel gets exited: “The future is electric! No doubt about it. We are at the brink of a lot of new developments in electric riding. We definitely need electric vehicles out of environmental awareness. But there is no law that says you can’t have fun and that’s why we will see a lot more electric bikes very soon.”

FEMA's Dolf Willigers (left) talking to Marchel Bulthuis.
FEMA’s Dolf Willigers (left) talking to Marchel Bulthuis.

Is an electric motorcycle practical in daily use? And how about the range?

“Yes, it’s very practical in daily use, you can use your electric bike every day. The big benefit is of course that you always start with a fully charged battery.” Marchel continues: “I get a lot of questions about the range of electric bikes, but I think range is overrated. The range of an Energica Ego for example, is 200 kilometres in eco modus, but I can do 1,000 kilometres if I want to. You need to think differently; when you’re riding, you are going to get a coffee or lunch, or anything. At that moment you will charge the battery, using the public infrastructure or fast charging along the highway. If you do it like that, you don’t have to worry about the range.”

How about the cost of riding an electric motorcycle for commuting, riding to work?

“The initial cost of an electric motorcycle is a bit higher than the cost of a ‘common’ motorcycle. The differences start after you purchased the bike. If I charge an Energica Ego at home for example, it costs me about €2 to €2,50 to fully charge it, and I can then ride it for more than 200 kilometres. And that is just about the charging costs. If you look at maintenance, it’s not very expensive either. The bike has hardly any moving parts, because it doesn’t have an internal combustion engine. It’s a lot less complicated and practically maintenance free. That’s why it’s cheaper to own one than a ‘normal’ bike.”

There is an electric bike for almost any kind of motorcyclist.
There is an electric bike for almost any kind of motorcyclist.

Are politicians doing enough to promote zero emission vehicles?

“Governments and businesses need to invest more in the infrastructure for electric vehicles,” says Marchel. “If you can charge anywhere, also at work, you can travel anywhere you want. But we need more public charging locations, at shops, at restaurants, et cetera. In the past we built petrol stations, now we need to build charging stations for electric vehicles.” Marchel is very clear: “My message to politicians would be: think about incentives for the consumer. There are a lot of incentives in places for businesses, but the consumer needs to benefit as well. Do something to make it easier for people to adopt electric riding and make it financially attractive. Lower the VAT on vehicles for example.”

Finally, what is your message to motorcyclists?

Marchel is very clear: “Go try it!”

Written by Dolf Willigers & Wim Taal
Photography: Wim Taal

To find out more about Marchel and his business, visit

An example of a website that shows charging stations:

Here are some manufacturers of electric bikes:
Alta_Logo_Hi_Rez_Gold Alta Motors website
brutus Brutus Electric Motorcycle website
logo-energica Energica website
Johammer_Logo_100 Johammer website
lightning-motors-logo-main Lightning Motorcycles website
victory-logo Victory Motorcycles website
VOLTA_LOGO_blanco3 Volta Motorbikes website
Zero-Motorcycles-Logo Zero Motorcycles website