Why Best Buy Is Pulling The Plug On (Most) Electric Scooters And Motorcycles

No one is buying them because of charging confusion. Is there a future for electric two-wheelers sold as personal electronics?

burned out motorcycle


We proclaimed that electric motorcycles were going mainstream after Best Buy introduced the Brammo Enertia electric commuter bike to select stores in 2009. But maybe two-wheeled EVs aren’t ready for the big time after all–Best Buy recently told BNET that it is slashing its electric motorcycle and scooter selection, shutting down broad sales in 27 markets and selling a small number scattered across 250 store locations–but only in the summer (when consumers are more likely to be riding). We asked Best Buy what happened to their EV revolution.

Spokeswoman Kelly Groehler tells us that it’s a matter of interest (and, of course, lack of sales). “We’ve seen real consumer interest in these transportation options and equally there are
some very real barriers to adoption,” she says. “In particular, [customers want to know] how am I going to
keep this thing charged?”

But just because the two-wheelers have seen lackluster sales doesn’t mean Best Buy is giving up on EVs altogether. On the contrary–the company is just switching its tactics. “We say ‘well okay, if the consumer barrier is keeping it charged, we have a great track record through the Geek Squad and home installation.” So Best Buy is instead becoming the place where you buy home charging stations for electric cars, like the Ford Focus and Mitsubishi i-Miev. The store is also installing charge spots in some of its parking lots.

Best Buy isn’t using any particular time frame to judge the success of its charging station sales, and it’s waiting to judge the results of its scaled down two-wheeled EV plan, too. “We’ll continue to run these experiments. We have no set end time we’ve identified for any of these,” explains Groehler. “We have to balance all this with so many other things in our business.”

But if the company can get people more excited about the prospect of plugging in their transportation options, things could change.


And as for those rumors that Best Buy will be selling electric cars in its stores? Unsurprisingly, that won’t be happening anytime soon.

[Image by Flickr user Bosc d’Anjou]

Reach Ariel Schwartz via Twitter or email.

Read More: Electric Motorcycles Go Mainstream: Best Buy’s Selling the Brammo

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more