Across China: Electric off-road motorcycles offer green choice for bikers
CHONGQING, May 13 (Xinhua) -- The days of loud motorcycles leaving trails of fumes in their wake are coming to an end, thanks to innovative and eco-friendly alternatives to oil-guzzling engines. This is now also true for off-road motorcycles under the Chinese electric motorcycle brand name, SUR-RON.
SUR-RON's manufacturer, Chongqing Qiulong Technology Co., Ltd, is located in Dadukou District, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Chongqing is a major production base for oil-powered motorcycles and automobiles in China.
There was no electric off-road motorcycle in China before the company made its first foray into the niche market, said Feng Xingwei, executive deputy general manager of Chongqing Qiulong Technology Co., Ltd. Common electric motorcycles cannot travel cross-country as off-road motorcycles can.
"We want to develop electric off-road motorcycles that can run agilely, quietly and conveniently," Feng said.
As China has announced ambitious targets of peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060, the company is riding high on the country's green transition.
China, the world's largest carbon emitter, has become the largest user of renewable energy over the years, with its carbon intensity slashed significantly. Chongqing, as a former industrial base for heavy industries and oil-fueled motorcycles, can provide the company with production advantages and an abundant talent pool.
The country also boasts the world's most sizable inventory of new energy vehicles (NEVs), accounting for 55 percent of global NEV sales. China ranked first globally in terms of NEV sales for a seventh consecutive year in 2021, despite economic uncertainties and supply-chain pressures, official data shows.
The enormous growth potential in the world's largest auto market is pushing SUR-RON's manufacturer Qiulong to board the fast train of green development in the electric vehicle industry.
Qiulong saw its output value soar to 440 million yuan (about 65.5 million U.S. dollars) in 2021, up from 4.72 million yuan when the company was established in 2016, nearly a hundredfold increase over just five years.
Approximately 80 percent of SUR-RON motorcycles are sold overseas in over 50 countries, mainly developed countries like the United States and European nations. In the first three months of 2022, 7,000 SUR-RON motorcycles worth an approximate total of 114 million yuan were manufactured, up 190 percent year on year in terms of total value, according to Feng.
In 2021, Qiulong exported over 1,000 "Light Bee" vehicles under the SUE-RON brand to Japan, which was a rare occurrence in the industry. "We all know that Japan has a dominating position in the global motorcycle industry. It usually attracts foreign buyers, but few Chinese motorcycles can win the hearts of Japanese consumers," Feng said.
Last year, Japan even held its first SUR-RON Cup for the brand's most enthusiastic riders.
At global motorcycle exhibitions, SUR-RON products easily attract audiences for their trendy design. Their excellent performance has also meant the eco-friendly motorcycles are frequently used in large competitions abroad, Feng said.
The company's burgeoning business echoes China's NEV boom in the global market over the years. Last year, China's NEV exports posted a strong performance, with 310,000 units exported.
"We are turning a hobby into a cause," the Qiulong company profile reads. All three founders of the brand are motorcycle enthusiasts themselves.
Previously, Chinese motorcycles needed to be sold at low prices and their profit margins had to be slashed to win market shares overseas. But each vehicle made by Qiulong can be sold for over 10,000 yuan and rake in thousands of yuan in profit.
"Our products have high added value. And we aim to increase the profit margin of motorcycles made in China," Feng said.
Qiulong is also developing other NEV products, not just motorcycles. "We keep an open mind concerning all kinds of NEV products," Feng said.