We're living in exciting times. In the next year we'll see electric cars hit the market in the form of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev to name just three.

While we wax lyrical about the multitude of vehicles set to reach the market there are very few available on the sort of money most folks consider spending on a car.

In fact, right now we can't think of a single highway-capable car coming to market in the next twelve months which costs under $30,000. Those cars under that price are generally low-speed Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, or NEVs for short.

Unless you live in a closed community or rarely drive more than a few miles from your home the chances are an NEV just won't cut the mustard.

If you're keen to go green, but can't possibly afford the price of a brand new electric car don't despair. We may have a solution for you: motorbikes.

Electric motorbikes used to be the butt of many a joke. Cheap Chinese imports only capable of 40 mph and heavy lead acid battery packs killed the electric motorbike for many years.

But in the past few years electric motorbikes have come of age. With a racing series behind them based around the iconic Isle of Mann TT race on a small island in the Irish Sea, electric motorbikes are fun, fast and funky.

Nothing says that more than Brammo's latest creation, the Brammo Empulse -  a ‘naked' sports bike capable of 100 mph top speed and up to 100 miles per charge, depending on which model you choose.

Much like electric cars, which at the moment are more expensive than their gasoline counterparts, the same is true of electric motorbikes. The Empulse is no exception.

However, with a starting price of $9,995 for the Empulse 6.0 - a 60 miles per charge model, it is well under the price of any electric car on the market today.

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So, do we think many will be tempted by the lure of two wheels?  With highway capable motorbikes and maxi-scooters like the 2010 Vectrix VX-1 available at a similar price from several manufactures, the cost of going electric could be a lot less than you thought.

As it's much cheaper than an electric car, the chances are you may be able to afford to keep your existing transport for the days when you need more room than a motorbike can give.

Best of all, an electric motorbike could be the ideal commuter vehicle. They're easier to park, require only a domestic 110V outlet to charge, can lane share where state laws allow, beat the traffic queues, and may even get you to work quicker than a car.

The Brammo Enertia

The Brammo Enertia

They are also incredible fun and surprisingly stable. Electric scooters and maxi scooters offer the ease of a step-through frame, while full-blooded electric motorbikes give you something to feel between your legs, even if it's not throbbing like an engine.

Of course, there's some serious downsides. Aside from the obvious safety concerns raised by sitting on, not in your vehicle, some states require riders to have a motorbike license in order to ride anything more than an electric bicycle.

Add to that the cost of a good quality set of motorbike trousers, jacket, boots, gloves and helmet and you may be several hundred dollars lighter in the pocket before you even ride your electric motorbike.

Then there's bad weather. Motorbikes aren't fun when it's raining, windy, too hot or too cold. Riding in snow and ice is practically suicidal.

But if you really don't need the daily use of a five-door electric hatchback and just want something electric to get to and from work, an electric motorbike could be for you.