- By Jasmine Stole Weiss
Quiet E-bikes land on Guam
Imagine cruising past a gas station sign, seeing the price per gallon has risen another 15 cents, and not feeling frustrated or full of rage.
That’s a scenario the Sun Energy Motors team hopes to create for Guam customers.
Sun Energy Motors sells electric motorcycles. It may be a new venture for Guam but the rest of the world has seen explosive growth in electric vehicles including motorcycles, scooters and cars, according to Walter Ulloa, general manager.
“Gas price increases seem to be non-stop,” Ulloa said. “I think people are really looking for alternatives and we hope to be an option for them when they consider alternatives for their transportation.”
The company recently opened its doors along Marine Corps Drive in Tamuning, where it will soon have a showroom full of Evoke Electric Motorcycles.
James McIntyre, sales manager, said customers can expect to shell out about $13,500 for an electric motorcycle.
“There may be a slight premium for these electric bikes, but in the end, are you going to the gas station, putting in $5 a gallon, if not $5.50 a gallon?” Ulloa said.
As for upkeep, it doesn’t take much. Riders will occasionally need new brake pads and fresh tires, McIntyre said. The batteries have a lifespan of about 125,000 miles.
The motorcycle can be plugged into any 110 or 220 standard outlets to be charged and one charge lasts about 124 miles. The top speed is about 81 miles per hour.
Electric motorcycles are quiet so they don’t produce sound pollution, McIntyre said.
“Riding here on Guam is spectacular, especially going south,” McIntyre, an avid motorcycle rider, said. “It’s beautiful.”
He added that the bikes will be able to withstand Guam’s hot and humid environment although electric bike riders will still have to contend with the island’s pothole-ridden roads, just like any other motorist.
“The only thing is the rainy season. Anyway, you don’t ride in the rain on Guam,” McIntyre said with a laugh.
Other bikers on the island have had mixed reactions to the electric motorcycle, McIntyre said. Some have written off the electric bikes and vowed never to ride one.
“I mean, I was the same way and then I rode this thing and it’s fun,” McIntyre said. “You can actually hear what’s going on around you. It’s plenty fast enough for Guam.”
There’s been a national push toward electric vehicles. In September, Ford announced it would invest $11.4 billion in electric vehicles. In June, General Motors said it was upping investments into electric and autonomous vehicle investments to $35 billion. The General Motors CEO said the company is targeting annual global electronic vehicle sales of more than 1 million by 2025. In September, Mercedes-Benz celebrated the launch of its first line of electric vehicles and plans to be all-electric by the end of the decade.
On Guam, the Guam Regional Transit Authority received $9.5 million for electric buses, electric cars, charging stations and to develop a vehicle electrification plan. The electric buses haven’t arrived.
“EVs are the future,” Ulloa said. “We’re hoping that with the opening of our dealership it’ll be a start for other companies to bring in and provide more electric vehicles here on the island.”
Sun Energy Motors is looking to attract first-time riders, young adults who are environmentally conscious but also want to travel in style to invest in an Evoke bike.
“New riders can really appreciate not just the power of the bike, but also the smoothness and the gentleness that electric motorcycles can provide for people who are just learning how to ride motorcycles,” Ulloa said.
The electric motorcycles are good for first-timers, Ulloa said. There’s no need to learn to shift gears with these bikes. To show just how beginner-friendly the bikes are, the company plans on offering free riding lessons to the public.
A grand opening is anticipated for December, in time for people to get the environmentally-conscious biker in their life an Evoke Motorcycle.
Residents can find the Sun Energy Motors showroom along South Marine Corps Drive in Tamuning, beside National Office Supply.