Here in 2023, it’s easy to look back on the past few years and note how eventful they've been. Take, for example, the evolution of Pierer Mobility Group head Stefan Pierer’s stance on electric bikes. Back in late 2020, we had our first glimpse at renders of a Husqvarna e-Pilen and e-01 electric scooter. At the time, the firm expected to roll out the scooter in 2021, with the commuter electric motorcycle to come later in 2022.
With hindsight, we of course know that neither of those electric models have been released yet. Although sales across the motorcycle category largely soared—Pierer Mobility’s among them—for a while, supply chain issues were nothing to sneeze at. While we don’t know what conversations went on behind closed doors, it’s not difficult to surmise that Pierer evidently decided against trying to break into a whole new segment just then.
Fast-forward to July, 2022, and both KTM and Bajaj (the Indian auto- and moto-maker with which Pierer has had a manufacturing relationship since 2007) were keen to discuss their shared electric future. In addition to near-term electric commuter bike developments, Bajaj Auto Executive Director Rakesh Sharma was even talking about “platforms for high-end electric motorcycles” in development. While we couldn’t say for sure what those future bikes would look like, the electrons were clearly already flowing in a positive direction.
Now that it’s March, 2023, though, it seems that Stefan Pierer’s opinions have shifted. While electric commuter bikes like the e-Pilen concept are still on the docket, he told Motorrad that he doesn’t see the firm developing anything above 11-kilowatt, 48-volt commuter bikes, in terms of power. In fact, he even characterized the idea of larger, high-powered electric motorcycles, at least for the moment, as “nonsense.”
Instead, Pierer is betting heavily on the development of so-called e-fuels to power future motorcycles, and is keenly behind Germany and Italy’s recent rebellion against the European Union’s call to abolish new internal combustion engine sales by 2035.
For those unfamiliar, ‘e-fuels’ refers not to anything electrical, but instead to synthetic, non-fossil fuels with significantly lower emissions. To be clear, in March, 2023, these perfect fuel alternatives do not exist yet (and maybe not ever), but are currently still in development. It’s worth noting that the electric vehicle ecosystem and its impacts on emissions within the supply and transport chains are also not perfect at our current point in time.
In any case, Pierer also told Motorrad about future plans to only produce the big V2 bikes at Mattighofen, with the inline engines, 790, and 890-series production to entirely move to production by its partner, CFMOTO—including production of the Husqvarna Norden 901. Around 2025 or so, a smaller version of the current LC8C engine, in the 650 to 690cc range, will be made by Bajaj exclusively for the Indian market. Bajaj will also continue to be responsible for production of KTM’s small-displacement ranges.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that plans can (and do) change over time—so it’s entirely possible that things will look differently by 2025. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on how it all plays out, regardless.