Why should I go electric? Internal combustion engines (ICEs) are Rube-Goldberg machines consisting of many different systems with hundreds of moving parts. It is no wonder that in the more than 100 years of their existence they still only retain an average efficiency of 18-20%. ICEs generally do not reach peak torque until a few thousand RPMs and the narrow power-bands have created a need for complex transmissions to deliver the power at varying speeds. Conversely, electric motors are able to deliver peak torque at zero RPM and have such wide power band that a transmission only adds unneeded complexity and weight. Electric drivetrains are so simple, practically maintenance free and have very few moving parts so that you can spend more time driving them and less time and money maintaining them and repairing them.
If power is generated from coal, what makes an electric vehicle 'greener' than my gas vehicle? The simple answer is, it is much easier and more efficient to control the emissions of a couple of smoke stacks of a coal-fired power plant as compared with the hundreds of thousands of tailpipes driving around LA. Although gasoline is slightly more efficient than coal power, only 40% of Los Angeles' power is generated from coal with the remainder coming from nuclear and renewable sources. Additionally, this does not account for the emission generated in sourcing our petroleum, nearly 75% of which comes from overseas. Furthermore, Los Angeles has committed to coal-free power by 2020 with 40% coming from renewable sources.
But my motorcycle already gets 50mpg. Isn't the pollution less as compared with my SUV? Not necessarily. Although motorcycles are much more fuel efficient, they lack that advanced emissions control systems that larger vehicles are able to implement. Motorcycles only account for 1% of miles traveled in California yet they account for 10% of passenger vehicles' smog-forming emissions.