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BMF member refused A licence test on electric bike

Motorcyclists are being refused the opportunity to take their full A licence test on an electric motorcycle.

The DVSA list of approved machines does not include any for the A licence. Several electric machines have the official stamp of approval for the A1 and A2 tests, but not the unlimited A test.

“I can’t understand why I’m unable to take my test on an electric,” says BMF member Ryan Duffy, who has already passed his CBT on an electric motorcycle and wishes to upgrade to a full licence. “I have no desire to ride a petrol bike,” he adds. “I know that if I did I would only be eligible to ride an automatic bike, but that doesn’t bother me, because I only want to ride electric.”

The DVSA criteria for A-class test machines specifies power of at least 50Kw and weight of at least 175kg. Several electric motorcycles meet both of these criteria, notably the Zero SR/F and SR/S, the Harley-Davidson Livewire and the Italian-made Energica. However, while petrol motorcycles are measured on peak power, electrics are measured on their continuous power rating, which is a lower figure – on that loophole, none of these bikes qualify, despite their real-world performance being similar to that of a 750cc petrol machine.

“All motorcycles used for test have to ride, perform and behave in the same way as most vehicles typically in that category,” says Mark Winn, Chief Driving examiner at the DVSA. “The electric motorcycles in the Energica range and Zero SR/F and SR/S models are classed as A2 vehicles due to the amount of useable power they produce and can sustain over a 30 minute period. If they were to produce more continuous power they could be used for the full category A test. The development of electric vehicles is something that DVSA has monitored and is keen to see grow. As such, we’ve made sure electric motorcycles can be used for the motorcycle test, providing they meet the same rules all vehicles in that category have to comply with.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top photograph courtesy of Energica