Electric bicycles already make up the largest growth sector in the bicycle market (and in some places, the only growth sector in the bicycle market).
Now new figures indicate that the rapid growth in e-bikes could see them eventually outsell cars in Europe.
Electric bicycles have already been rising in popularity for years.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated their spread as commuters search for economic and efficient alternatives to public transportation and socially distant escapes from lockdowns.
Many European e-bike companies such as VanMoof saw double- or triple-digit growth in 2020.
Nearly 1 million electric bicycles were sold in Germany alone during the first half of 2019. That was roughly equal to the country’s entire 2018 e-bike sales, and it included several months that saw reduced spending during the early days of the pandemic.
Now experts are weighing in with projections for the growth of the European e-bike market over the next few years.
The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) expects the size of the European e-bike market to grow to around 7 million units by 2025.
Other experts have even loftier predictions, projecting around 10 million e-bike sales per year by 2025, according to Bike Europe.
To put that in perspective, car registrations in Europe in 2019 totaled around 15.5 million. But car sales are increasing at a much slower rate. In 2018, new registrations numbered 15.1 million.
Many European countries are seeing yearly e-bike growth in the 30% to 40% range, compared to the low single-digit growth of car sales. That means e-bike sales could easily overtake car sales later this decade in Europe.
This is exactly how it should be.
Roads aren’t getting any larger, but urban populations are growing every day. There simply isn’t any more room for more cars in our cities. A large shift toward smaller single-occupant vehicles is the best solution to crowded roads, not to mention the incredible environmental benefits we stand to reap.
Obviously Europe is years ahead of North America in this respect. Blame it on culture, blame it on a stark difference in cycling infrastructure. Blame it on whatever you’d like. But at the end of the day, Europe is leading by example when it comes to embracing the many benefits of electric bicycles as primary or secondary vehicles.
It’s about time we followed their lead in the US.
While it seems to be harder for Americans to accept the reality that electric bicycles can serve as fully functional commuter vehicles for many people, perhaps a new wave of affordable electric motorcycles could help.
With companies like SONDORS planning to roll out affordable electric motorcycles capable of both urban and highway riding, maybe the US can find its way toward embracing a mix of smaller, more efficient single-occupant EVs.
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