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Electric conversion of motorcycle: from ICE to electric

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Since April 2020, Europe has authorized by decree the possibility of converting ICE motorcycle models into electric motorcycles, under the name “motorcycle retrofit”. This electrical transformation of a motorcycle via conversion kits is part of a strict legislative framework, requiring the safety of users. However, this legislation opens the way to a new approach to electric motorcycles with the possibility of freeing ourselves from current proposals in terms of electric two-wheeled vehicles which are not always very attractive.

Well beyond BMWs, the interest of motorcycle retrofit


If the cessation of thermal engines seems inexorable in the medium or long term, with the motorcycle retrofit, the possibility of benefiting from the best of both worlds now arises. For example, it is now possible to offer an electric conversion kit for the BMW R series, classic motorcycles with a unique spirit and design. Retrofit motorcycle models approved in line with new environmental constraints, particularly in terms of circulation in cities with Low Emission Zones (ZFE).

Electric conversion kit: what constraints for two wheels?

The decree of April 4, 2020 regarding motorcycle electric conversion sets certain conditions for the transition from thermal combustion to electric propulsion, the main ones of which are as follows:

  • The two-wheeler must have been registered in France for at least 3 years

  • The motorcycle retrofit kit must maintain identical performance in terms of power to that of the old thermal engine.

  • The weight of the future motorcycle with its retrofit kit must not exceed 20% of its original weight.

  • The distribution of the original masses between the two axles must not exceed 10%.

  • The electrical conversion kit used must have CE certification.

  • The retrofitted motorcycle must obtain a validated certification after various tests to obtain its new registration document.

Motorcycle retrofit: what advantages for owners of classic BMWs?

We can distinguish two types of advantages when switching from a thermal engine to electric propulsion via a motorcycle conversion kit. The first are associated with electric vehicles themselves and the second are part of an even more civic approach. Here are the advantages of the electric two-wheeler Vs the advantages of a motorcycle converted via a retrofit kit:

The electric two-wheeler

Real savingss on a daily basis

Due to the energy crisis, fuel prices weigh heavily on the budget of a thermal motorcycle. Even if electricity with the Ukrainian crisis is less cheap than before, the consumption costs of an electric motorcycle compared to a thermal motorcycle, with equivalent mileage, are almost 50% less!


A “cleaner” engine

Very low polluting, the electric propulsion of motorcycles does not emit any carbon dioxide. They thus contribute to the reduction of atmospheric pollution but also to the reduction of unpleasant odors due to the absence of exhaust pipes and their emissions.


The absence of noise pollution

Considered one of the evils of the century, the noise caused by various thermal vehicles is, according to the WHO, the cause of numerous physical and psychological disorders within the world population. With electric motorcycles, the noise reduction is around 90% for both the rider and the surrounding populations.


Easy maintenance

Much simpler in terms of technology, electric motors require little maintenance. Their design results in the absence of a belt, clutch, air and oil filter, lubrication and other costly operations at the garage. Savings in addition to fuel.


Easier circulation

For several months, many cities have been revealing their action plans to fight pollution and global warming and Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are one of them. These spaces will be limited to only “clean” vehicles including electric two-wheelers, an additional reason to favor this means of transport under penalty of being refused access or receiving substantial fines. Many municipalities also accompany this measure with a restrictive parking policy where only electric motorcycles will benefit from free parking or significant price reductions.


Charging autonomy

Major advantage of the electric motorcycle, the possibility of refueling at home, at work or at a station. If the range of electric motorcycles is more limited than a thermal motorcycle (around 100 to 200 km depending on the motors and the type of batteries), use only in urban areas does not cause any problems.


The motorcycle converted to electric via a retrofit kit

All the advantages of an original BMW electric motorcycle thanks to the retrofit conversion kit

Logically, a conversion kit grants all the advantages of an electric motorcycle to a retrofit motorcycle. Fuel savings, easier and lower maintenance, absence of noise and pollution, free movement and simplified recharging are all immediate real benefits.


Extra style

Let’s admit it from the outset, the current proposals in terms of electric motorcycle models are not all attractive and few brands maintain a “Classic” style. The motorcycle retrofit makes it possible to maintain the line and style of iconic motorcycles like the R series from BMW while giving them electric propulsion. The possibility of a real second life for machines with a glorious past and to which, very often, their owners are attached.

Recycling a classic two-wheeler Vs. Purchasing a new vehicle: an ecological approach

The motorcycle retrofit offers the immense advantage of being part of an ecological approach. Why buy a new BMW electric motorcycle when a conversion kit will give a new lease of life to a classic motorcycle, while retaining its assertive style. A unique opportunity for enthusiasts of iconic motorcycle models to bridge two worlds: that of style and that of reasonableness in terms of ecological footprint.

The electric conversion kit, the holy grail of “classic bikers”?

​ No offense to some, the end of thermal engines is in sight whether for cars or two-wheelers. If the proposals of recent manufacturers of electric motorcycles are not particularly attractive, the motorcycle retrofit offers a significant alternative in the search for a compromise which satisfies motorcycle purists and riders concerned about environmental issues. Making a BMW R Series an electric vehicle via a conversion kit is now possible, while respecting the general line and style of the motorcycle. A solution that fits with the times and favors recycling, one of the major keys to thoughtful consumption.

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