A Half-Billion Dollars For Electric Motorcycles

This electric step-through from Gesits is exactly what the Indonesian government wants to see more of. Online retailers sell these for prices far lower than what you'd expect to pay for a new Japanese motorcycle in Canada. Credit: E-scooter.co

Here in Canada, motorcycles are toys for most riders (not all—we know some of you CMGers are commuting year-round on two wheels, and we salute you!).

But in other parts of the world, motorcycles literally move society. Sounds great, but what happens when the government cracks down on gasoline engines? Even fuel-sipping machines like the little 110s and 125s that move Southeast Asia around will be caught up in the internal combustion bans that appear to be just around the corner in almost every part of the world.

The response in the country of Indonesia is: Pump a half a billion dollars into the economy, to subsidize the purchase of hundreds of thousands of electric motorcycles.

This week, Indonesia’s federal finance minister announced the government would put 7 trillion rupiah towards electric motorcycle subsidies. That converts to roughly $625M CAD, an almost staggering number when you consider it.

Now, granted, Indonesia has a population that is much larger than Canada (around 275 million). But consider the scope of this plan: Reuters’ write-up on this subsidy says the government intends to promote the purchase of 800,000 electric motorcycles over the next 21 months (the subsidy is supposed to run through 2024). The Indonesian government also wants to fund the conversion of 200,000 motorcycles from internal combustion to electric power. All this in a country that currently has 32,000 electric motorcycles on the road, which seems like a massive number already, by Canadian standards.

Of course, the new bikes won’t all be high-powered machines, or even similar to the basic commuters that Canadians start their riding careers with. They will be similar to the machines that you see pressed into food delivery duty in our major cities—the bike in this article’s title image is typical of what to expect. But still, that’s a lot of bikes, especially when you consider Indonesia’s leaders want the machines to be built domestically—the program is intended to stimulate the country’s EV economy.


  1. “… the conversion of 200,000 motorcycles from internal combustion to electric power.”
    Sounds like a business opportunity for someone here in Canada. Set up a company that would pick up used bikes and convert them to electric for resale. Start with just a couple of models, 125-250cc range, and as the business grew expand.

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