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Revving into the Future: The Motorcycle Industry’s Green Dilemma

In a world where green is the new black, the motorcycle industry finds itself navigating a tricky terrain. With political leaders and influential minds chanting the eco-warrior anthem, the industry stands at a crossroads, torn between electric dreams, e-fuels, and the enigmatic allure of hydrogen power. It’s a green revolution on two wheels, and the ride ahead is as unpredictable as a hairpin turn.

A Symphony of Solutions: As brands pour millions into the eco-pot, the motorcycle industry is orchestrating a symphony of solutions. Some swear allegiance to the silent hum of electric power, while others, like rebels in a green rebellion, champion e-fuels. Then there’s the avant-garde group flirting with the hydrogen-powered allure. It’s a cacophony of choices, each with its perks and pitfalls – packaging, cost, infrastructure, and the eternal quest for efficient energy storage.

Legislative Labyrinth: Governments worldwide play puppet masters, each pulling strings with different stipulations and timeframes. The UK, ever the trendsetter, proposes a 2030 phase-out of certain petrol motorcycles. It’s a legislative labyrinth where rules vary, leaving the industry scratching its helmet-clad head.

Insights from the Helm: In an attempt to untangle the global web of green ambitions, MCN sat down with Geoff Liersch, Head of Bosch’s Two-Wheeler and Powersports unit, at the Eicma show in Milan. Bosch, a German powerhouse of motorcycle innovation, has a legacy dating back to the creation of the first ABS system in 1988. Today, they dance on the technological tightrope, exploring everything from electronic safety systems to the mystical realms of hydrogen.

Hydrogen Hurdles: While hydrogen may seem like the knight in shining armor, Liersch raises a skeptical eyebrow. Kawasaki may be betting on hydrogen bikes, but the practicality of stuffing a hydrogen tank on a motorcycle is, well, a bit deflating. Yet, hope flickers in the form of partial hydrogen injection – a compromise that may, or may not, woo the legislators.

Electric Dreams and Realities: Electricity, the poster child of the green revolution, isn’t without its critics. Liersch challenges the narrow focus on tailpipe emissions, urging a broader perspective from well to wheel. The production process itself, he argues, should be scrutinized, reminding us that electricity doesn’t magically appear; it has a creation cost.

The Global Conundrum: A headache for manufacturers emerges – what if governments pick different favorites? Liersch foresees a scenario where limited resources and budgets force manufacturers to cater to a singular solution. Imagine building a bike for the European market, only to be told it must be electric, leaving the rest of the world in combustion engine purgatory.

Marine Musings: Liersch takes us on a detour to the high seas, contemplating the impact on marine engines. The lack of electricity in the oceanic wilderness demands alternative technologies, and the question arises – can these innovations ripple back to high-end motorcycles?

The Standardization Struggle: As the industry hurtles towards electrification, a cry for standardization echoes in the corridors. Gasoline, a simple universal language, has a hole and goes bang. Electrification, however, speaks in volts, plugs, and a cacophony of systems. The challenge is immense, and Liersch calls for a global standard, a unified language for bikes to roam freely across borders.

Conclusion: The motorcycle industry, like a rebellious rider on a winding road, faces the twists and turns of a green revolution. Electric dreams, hydrogen hopes, and the quest for a standardized language – the journey ahead promises to be a wild ride, where the only certainty is change. Buckle up, fellow riders; the green revolution is in high gear!

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