Since the inception of Tesla, EV enthusiasts have hoped for the announcement of an all-electric motorcycle from the EV innovator. The Tesla Motorcycle has been repeatedly requested, and concept designers have rendered all kinds of possible looks for this long-awaited electric ride. But is Tesla actually considering a two-wheeled EV in 2023? What are the Tesla Motorcycle’s specs? When could we see production of a Tesla Motorcycle?
In today’s post, we’ll cover both what we know and what we speculate about the Tesla Motorcycle and its possible production. Later, we’ll go over whether or not you should wait for Tesla to put their Motorcycle into production, and which alternative budget-friendly Tesla options you could consider right now.
Model M: Tesla Motorcycle Price, Specs, and Battery Range
For full disclosure, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Elon’s personal stance on motorcycles at the beginning of this article. When answering a question from an investor in 2018, Elon did try to end speculation on whether or not Tesla would ever build an electric motorcycle:
“I actually used to ride motorcycles when I was a kid. I was into dirt biking for like 8 years or something. Then I had a road bike until I was 17 when I was almost killed by a truck so we are not going to do motorcycles.” (Tesla Shareholder Meeting, June 5th, 2018, motorcycle question starts at 1:11:38 on Tesla’s video)
While this seems like a very definitive answer to the question of whether or not Tesla will make a Motorcycle, Elon has also been known to change his mind from time to time. And while Elon may have personal reservations about the safety of motorcycles, the public’s desire for a more affordable EV solution than the lowest-priced Tesla—currently the Model 3—is still very high. We know that speculation about the Model 2’s price and release date comes from a similar need for affordability.
With that out of the way, let’s talk specs:
Tesla Motorcycle Specs: Potential Range and Performance
For Tesla’s motorcycle, affordability would probably be balanced against performance. After all, who buys a state-of-the-art electric motorcycle from a tech-savvy automaker just to get from point A to point B without some fun in between?
Assuming that Tesla does end up creating an electric motorcycle called the Model M (or calls it something else, because Tesla’s acronym S3XY CARS gets weird if you add an M), here’s what we might see for its body type, features, and battery range.
First, we would expect that the Model M would follow in the footsteps of the rest of Tesla’s lineup, with the first bike giving as much speed, comfort, and range as Tesla’s engineering department can get out of a two-wheeled vehicle package. For that reason, the Model M (at least in a first release) would likely be a sport touring design, maximizing comfort for travel without sacrificing speed and handling.
Regarding range, Tesla currently sets the minimum allowable range of their vehicles at about 300 miles. Could an electric motorcycle design reach that goal? So far, very few electric motorcycle designs have attempted a range higher than 200 miles per charge at highway speeds, with most typically falling in the 100-200 mile range bracket.
For example, the 22.5 kWh battery in the Energica Expiria (an electric motorcycle we assume would qualify as a Tesla competitor) delivers about 130 miles of range at highway speeds. While the Expiria’s battery capacity is on the larger side for an electric motorcycle, we’d expect a similar size for any potential Tesla moto, somewhere between a 20 and 25 kWh pack.
Could Tesla engineers figure out how to make an electric motorcycle with 300 miles of range on a 20-25 kWh battery pack? We’d like to think so; at that point, a Tesla Motorcycle would come close to matching the longest range even for ICE motorcycles.
As far as the Model M’s potential charging speed is concerned, Tesla’s current charging technology standards should apply to any EV they produce within the next couple of years. We’d expect to see a Tesla Model M charging time at around 30-45 minutes to full at the Supercharger and a charging time of 44 miles of range per hour on a Level 2 home charger. A trickle charge times of about 10-20 miles of range per hour would be likely, giving you somewhere between half and full range on an overnight charge.
What about 0-60 time and top speed? We can’t imagine Tesla letting the Harley-Davidson LiveWire ONE boast a faster acceleration, so the Model M would probably have a 0 – 60 mph time of less than 3 seconds. Top speed will likely be less impressive, but only because Tesla does tend to limit that factor on their vehicles. We wouldn’t anticipate the Model M doing more than 175 mph; more likely, the top speed limit would be set at a conservative 125-150 mph to protect the battery’s range.
Finally, would a Tesla Model M motorcycle come with some version of Autopilot? Honestly, probably not. Motorcycles take quite a lot of human input, which is why many riders are drawn to motorcycles in the first place. To make a truly autonomous motorcycle, Tesla would have to sacrifice economy for safety, space for on-board electronics, and an additional loss of range from the extra equipment. These are all things that can be much more easily done inside a four-wheeled vehicle. But a scaled-down version of Tesla’s software that only provides riders with information and imaging could be beneficial.
With all of these specs in mind, let’s move on to Model M pricing:
How Much Would a Tesla Motorcycle Cost?
A potential Model M would enter what’s becoming a somewhat saturated market for electric motorcycles, so it probably wouldn’t fall into the range of least expensive (like the $5,000-$6,000 SONDORS Metacycle or the less than $3,000 CSC City Slicker). Likely, a Tesla Model M would go into competition with the likes of the Harley Davidson LiveWire ONE, which has an MSRP of $22,799.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Arc Vector, which does reach specs much closer to what we would optimistically hope for on a Tesla Model M, costs as much as a new Model S (the Vector has an MSRP of around $120,000).
A more reasonable competitor comparison for price and features might be the Energica Experia. With an MSRP of 23,750 and the judicious option to buy a 5-year battery warranty for just over $1000, the Experia falls in the higher middle range of prices for electric motorcycles. With Experia prices as a baseline, a potential Tesla Model Model M motorcycle price would probably land closer to $25,000 or higher with the range and performance features we’ve already discussed.
To help with affordability, would a Tesla Model M electric motorcycle be eligible for the Clean Vehicle Credit? While it would potentially meet pricing and sourcing criteria and might arguably meet the “Other Vehicles” clause in the legislation, commentators on the new laws say that electric motorcycles have been left out. We hope to see them included in future amendments to the legislation (2023 and beyond), but as of 2022, the Federal Credit for electric motorcycles has expired.
If Tesla does decide to pursue the electric motorcycle market, how soon could the Model M be produced? Let’s take a look at a possible timeline:
Tesla Motorcycle Release Date: Possible Motorcycle Production Timeline
We’ll be honest, with Tesla still working on production of the Cybertruck and Semi and striving with the rest of the auto industry to overcome production delays due to global shortages, we don’t see how they would make space for a new motorcycle line any time in 2022, 2023, or 2024. Even if Elon suddenly changed his mind about electric motorcycles, it isn’t likely that one would hit the production line until 2025 or later.
If the Tesla Motorcycle ever does get the green light, though, Tesla has proven that they can and will pivot quickly when necessary. With the manufacturing experience that Tesla has earned through over a decade of producing EVs on a large scale, creating an electric motorcycle line wouldn’t be too difficult a task for them to tackle head-on. If the decision were made in the next year or two, it would be unsurprising to see Tesla Motorcycles rolling off the assembly line by 2025.
Is Waiting for the Tesla Electric Motorcycle Worth It?
Waiting for Tesla to come out with a product which Elon himself has refused to consider and that would need a fresh production line of its own does not seem like a wise choice at this time. However, we do think it’s worth keeping an eye out for.
In the meantime, it would probably be helpful for you to do a quick self-assessment to determine what it is you actually need from a Tesla motorcycle. Is it the reduced energy usage for a commute? Are you looking for a low-cost EV solution? A fun way to spend your weekends? Or are you a Tesla fan and avid motorcycle enthusiast who just wants your favorite mode of transportation to have Tesla’s touch to it?
If greener energy usage, lower costs, and Tesla technology are the reasons you are seeking out a Tesla Model M motorcycle, we’d love for you to stop and consider a used Model 3 or a used, older generation of the Model S. While they don’t offer the solo freedom of the open road that a Tesla Motorcycle would, you can enjoy them at prices we might expect to see in the new electric motorcycle market, but with better range (and all-season use). Then, if Tesla does change its tune on electric motorcycles and you get an opportunity to buy a Model M—or Model Z, Tesla Moto, whatever they might decide to name it—you’ll already have a vehicle to trade.
If you are set on finding an electric motorcycle in the next year or so, check out some of the brands we mentioned earlier (such as SONDORS, Energica, and the LiveWire lineup).
Finally, while you won’t see a used Tesla Motorcycle for sale in our listings anytime soon, you can find a used Tesla Model 3 or a used Tesla Model S ready to go right now. Check out our used Tesla listings today to find your next ride!