Petrol bikes to be off sale by 2035


The plans are part of the Government’s ‘net zero’ ambitions, which saw them announce recently that the sale of new internal combustion engine cars will be banned from 2030.

Small capacity, sub-125cc, motorcycles and scooters look likely to also be off sale in eight years’ time, but it is the 2035 withdrawal of petrol powered bikes which will cause the most consternation among traditional bikers.

Britain’s Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has expressed its disappointment in the accelerated timescale in the race to switch to alternative fuel, stating that motorcycles account for just 0.5% of UK domestic transport emissions and asking that the government gives the industry more time to adapt, and for technology to catch up with the specific needs of motorcyclists. 

For small capacity motorcycles, electrification is already very usable for many commuters and courier riders – who complete short journeys at slow speeds – but riders of high powered motorbikes still appear to be unconvinced by the merits, or otherwise, of going electric.

Commenting, Tony Campbell, Chief Executive of the MCIA, said: “We recognise our environmental contribution will increase as other transport modes phase out and so support the decision to phase out L1 vehicles (mopeds) by 2030. However, we do not support the decision to include L3e-A1 (low to high performance motorcycles), which even with an ICE powertrain are significantly more environmentally efficient than some electric cars.

“The Government has not considered the complexities of the L-category sector (motorcycles) in terms of what is and isn’t feasible when it comes to phasing out the other key segments of the market.

“We put forward a compelling case in our ‘Journey to a Brighter Destination’ document for the continued support of large capacity leisure motorcycling and why it needs to be treated as such in the consultation. Its minimal emissions, low mileage, important contributions to the economy, sport, tourism and mental health benefits are all reasons why a fairer, progressive and more bespoke approach is needed to phase out new non zero emission motorcycles.

“The MCIA and its members will be continuing to push the case for why large capacity motorcycles need more time to phase out and are looking forward to fully engaging with the consultation process to ensure the best outcome for industry.”

A number of larger electric motorcycles are available, most notably from EV specialists Energica and Zero, but sales remain relatively sluggish as motorcyclists have been slow to adopt the new technology. Despite some good reviews, these machines remain expensive to buy, while motorcyclists have generally been sceptical and vocal about the issues of range and recharge times for machines when used for leisure purposes.