Electric Motorcycles & Motor-Bicycles on Havana’s Streets

HAVANA TIMES – For some years now, it has become increasingly common to see electric motorcycles and motorbikes in the urban landscape of Havana and, to a lesser extent, in other cities across the country. These vehicles currently cost between 1,200 and 3,000 USD, depending on their characteristics, and can be purchased from individuals who import them from Panama, the United States, Mexico, and other countries in the region, or from state-owned establishments, although at higher prices than those offered by private sellers.

As is logical with those prices, which are astronomical for the average Cuban worker, only those who have relatives abroad willing to gift them an electric motorcycle, owners of private businesses, or employees who earn enough money per month to afford the luxury of owning their own transportation, or children of wealthy state or private company executives can acquire them. I have several university students who come to class on their motorcycles, and it’s ironic that I, as their professor, have to ride a bicycle because my income doesn’t allow me to afford a motorcycle.

The reality is that in a city with a public transportation system that is increasingly on the verge of collapse, where fuel for cars, buses, and any other means of transportation is very difficult to obtain, and sometimes has to be purchased at prices higher than the established rates, more and more people are trying to acquire one of these vehicles to solve, at least partially, one of the biggest problems we Havana residents face.

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5 thoughts on “Electric Motorcycles & Motor-Bicycles on Havana’s Streets

  • Great. I also had an electric scooter in Havana some time ago. But it was stolen because of Cuban law that does NOT allowe foreign OWNERSHIP of property

  • If more electric vehicles start to be used I wonder what will happen to the infrastructure of the electric grid, where failures are a daily occurrence. If 30% of the population were to get electric vehicles, there would be new peaks in electricity consumption. Cuba needs better management in general.

  • CUBA needs more power generation by wind and solar and natural gas from the ground in Cuba. Electric bikes and cargo trikes could be made or at least put together in free economic zones. They are much better for Cuba than in the winter months in Canada or Russia. Anyone who has a boyfriend or a girlfriend in Cuba as a foreign person can and should expect the current economic crisis in Cuba to be a possible reason for the relationship. The Canadian gov has a warning about this and Cuba is one of the countries on the list. 90% of the people in Cuba are good like most other parts of the world. When some groups from certain countries send things to Cuba we expect nothing in return.

  • Many of these drivers have no licence and some even drive with wife and kids with no helmets! Mind boggling and the streets are filled with more gas fumes as the numbers increase! Further to this battery operated motorcycles require new batteries within a short time costly 850-900 USS dollars.
    As the article clarifies, these expensive electric and gas driven vehicles are expensive thus adding to the neo- capitalist society which in term reveals the increasing two class system evolving: a further gap between the poor and hungry and those who somehow are being allowed three or more businesses that employ Cubans at poverty wages. These further exploitation increases the desperation of struggling Cuban dealing with hyper inflation at a level that is causing more poverty as wages have not increased accordingly and, yes, crime at all levels including government officials has increased. For instance eggs. The price used to be 30 eggs for 24 pesos while now it hovets at 3000: almost a months salary for most Cubans.
    Clearly the government is fueling a society desperate to escape the economic incarceration at hand by leaving.
    Further to this, the government is manipulating the law to take back and sieze houses from people who have exited Cuba. Always a new twist by the ruling class to exploit the population. Clearly the government officials are padding their pockets with new financial regulations favoring those in government or their friends and family.
    What will eventually evolve? Businesses will keep rising the prices so high that their profits will either find a ceiling because Cubas can not afford: no point investing in a business that is surrounded by poor clients. It is a financial civil war with a flash point that will instill desperation further filling more jails as Cubans do anything to survive. The streets are more dangerous and the demand for American currency at an all time high as the CUP or Cuban peso is worthless anywhere except Cuba! It’s a sad comedy but the inhuman conditions of schools, deteriorating buildings falling down and a country that has lost control of it’s sugar, rice, egg production and chicken industries thus defining the ignorance of the ruling party to maintain all the manufacturing plants and industries.
    So, yes more motorcycles are just another fad and metaphor to smooth over a catastrophe that sees no solution for decades regardless of the government spin doctors.
    The brain drain is continuing as the intelligent people continue the exodus and that includes educators as well. The education system has corroded along with thousands of rustic buildings and industrial plants.
    Recognizing the situation honestly with the public who already know the truth would be a constructive start but as we all know honesty is a lonely word in Cuba. Just an opinion so judge for yourself but 1+1=2

  • Hi. Great article. I live in Canada and I can’t even afford this.
    No wonder people get depressed when the country hardly has food. Fuel. Electricity. Never mind these people showing off what they got. But someone worked hard for that. I have heard stories about this. An elderly lady bought one for her lover. ( younger)Then he asked for another one. She didn’t ask why and got another one. Then she found out he was still married. Her husband ( in Canada)eventually figured out something was wrong and cut some of her money off. Then her lover stopped with her as well. She also figured it out. But not all cases are like this. There are honest people . I have friends in Mota in Mazanillo and they never ask for expensive things like this.
    They ask for money for food or recharge their phone.
    Valerie Love

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