It may not exactly be motorcycle-riding weather in some parts of the United States right now, but that doesn't mean you can't think about what you might want to buy in the spring. So, I'll point you to Pike Research's latest ranking of 12 leading manufacturers of electric motorcycles and scooters, "Pike Pulse Report: Electric Motorcycles and Scooters."
It's not a big market, mind you, except in the Asia Pacific region, where there were an estimated 17 million two-wheeled electric vehicles delivered during 2011. The shipments for the rest of the world were probably only 30,000 last year, Pike Research figures.
The report makes note of the fact that most of the companies in this sector are still only on their first and second generation technologies, which makes for a lot of uncertainty as to things such as reliability over time, and staying power. There are 12 criteria consider in the report that contribute to the ranking: vision, to-to-market strategy, partnerships, product and production strategy, technology, geographic reach, market share, quality and reliability, product features, pricing and staying power.
The highest-scoring company in the Pike Research ranking was Zero Motorcycles, which gets props for delivering on a well-defined strategic vision. Zero is a company that understands that choppers aren't the only design style that matters, and it is experimenting with both street and off-road models.
The other company that Pike Research is pretty high on is Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle, which is focusing on e-scooters.
Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle has been very successful in China, although more recently has started exporting products to North America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. One reason this company is interesting to watch, Pike Research suggests, is because a public offering planned for 2012 will help it double production.
Other companies considered in the report are Brammo, Current Motor Co., Honda, KTM and New Vectrix. (The Web site for the last company isn't working right now, which gives me pause, but Pike Research considers them in the report, so I'll give them a mention, too.)