Electric bikes will be the best-selling in the next decade
 Feb 28, 2020|View:339

A new report predicts that the next decade will be defined by the battery-powered transport revolution, and electric bikes will become the best-selling electric vehicles in the next decade. For many years, e-bikes have not sold well in most countries. From 2006 to 2012, electric bicycles accounted for less than 1% of all annual bicycle sales. In 2013, only 1.8 million electric bicycles were sold throughout Europe, while customers in the United States purchased 185,000 electric bicycles.

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However, this situation is beginning to change due to improvements in lithium-ion battery technology, prices, and power, as well as the city's shift from gasoline-powered vehicles to zero-emission vehicles. Analysts now say they expect sales of electric bikes to grow at an alarming rate over the next few years.


Deloitte released its annual technical, media and telecommunications forecasts last week. Deloitte said it expects to sell 130 million electric bikes in the United States between 2020 and 2023. It also states: "By the end of next year, the number of electric bicycles on the road will easily exceed that of other electric vehicles."


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If you think that the sales of electric bicycles will reach 40 million a year by 2023, and then look at the penetration rate of electric cars, then it will become an easily accepted forecast. As of the end of 2018, there were more than 5.1 million electric vehicles. According to the International Energy Agency's Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2019, it is estimated that only 20 million electric vehicles will be sold by 2025.


The sharp increase in sales seems to herald a huge shift in the way people travel. In fact, Deloitte predicts that from 2019 to 2022, the proportion of people going to work by bike will increase by 1 percentage point. It may not seem like much on the surface, but because of the low base, the difference between the two will be amazing. Adding tens of billions of bicycle rides each year means fewer rides and lower emissions, and has spillover effects on traffic congestion and urban air quality.

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Jeff Loucks, executive director of Deloitte Technology, Media and Telecommunications Center, said that sales of electric bikes will not grow evenly across the United States. He predicts the highest adoption rates in cities. "We are seeing more and more people entering urban core areas across the United States. If some of them are not cycling, it will put a huge burden on roads and public transportation systems," Loucks said.


Deloitte is not the only organization predicting the electric bike revolution. Guidehouse (formerly Navigant) analyst Ryan Citron had previously predicted that 113 million electric bikes would be sold between 2020 and 2023. Although his number is slightly lower than Deloitte, he still foresees a surge in sales. "Yes, electric bikes are the best-selling electric vehicles on the planet!" Citron added in an email to The Verge.


Over the years, sales of electric bikes have been steadily increasing, but still account for only a small portion of the overall bicycle market in the United States. According to data from market research firm NPD Group, from 2016 to 2017, sales of electric bicycles increased by a staggering 91%, and then from 2017 to 2018, they increased by 72% to an astonishing $ 143.4 million. Since 2014, U.S. electric bike sales have grown more than eightfold.

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But NPD's Matt Powell believes that Deloitte and other companies may push up sales of electric bikes slightly. Powell said Deloitte's forecast "seems to be very high" because his company only predicts 100,000 e-bike sales in the United States in 2020. He also said that he disagrees with the view that sales of electric bikes will exceed electric cars in the next few years. NPD still acknowledges that the fastest growing segment of the bicycle market is electric bicycles.


Weak sales of electric cars in the U.S.


Nonetheless, in the United States, sales of electric vehicles are indeed weak. Although Europe has adopted aggressive policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions from new cars, the Trump administration has been working to overturn Obama-era rules aimed at improving fuel efficiency. Tesla has sold hundreds of thousands of cars, but traditional automakers have struggled to find a similar success for their first electric car. Electric bikes may become more and more popular, but certainly not for everyone. But Deloitte said that electrification can carry out more experiments in terms of overall dimensions. Bicycles can be reconfigured to carry kids, groceries and even deliver locally.

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Electric bikes have some clear advantages over electric cars-they are cheaper, easier to charge, and don't require a large investment in supporting infrastructure. Cities can make the necessary changes to encourage more people to ride bicycles-such as establishing a network of protected bicycle lanes, restricting car use in certain areas, and providing safe places to lock and store bicycles.


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