I always get a chuckle when I hear someone speculate as to why Tesla should, or eventually will, make an electric motorcycle.
Sharing such a notion betrays the fact that the speaker knows nothing about these two very different business sectors. The comparison isn’t even apples to oranges…it is more like apples to blowfish, but I digress.
The truth is Tesla is never going to build an electric motorcycle, and now Elon Musk has made that absolutely clear, but his reason for not pursuing an EV two-wheeler is perhaps the most important element in this equation.
The response comes because of Musk’s experience on a street bike at the age of 17, after many years of also riding dir bikes, where he narrowly avoided getting killed by a truck. He quite simply says to the notion, “we’re not going to be doing motorcycles.”
The response surely elicited sighs of relief at Alta Motors, BMW, KTM, Zero Motorcycles, and other established brands that are looking to get into EVs, like Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Yamaha. But, for the rest of the motorcycle industry, Musk’s response should be deeply troubling.
Musk’s near-death experience is not unique, and more importantly, it is his perception that dominates the shared status quo when it comes to motorcycles, regardless of what actually happens to the motorcycle fatality rate.
It is interesting that Musk hints at motorcycle safety being his reason for Tesla not pursuing a motorcycle lineup, even though one of Tesla’s core technologies (vehicle automation) could be the silver bullet that kills motorcycle transportation.
A more “business response” would have been that if Tesla is successful, it would like come at the cost of no longer having motorcycles still on the roadway, so it is interesting that Musk – a consummate businessperson – declines to use that lens in order to show his stance on the subject.