Electric bike sales have surged in the United States to the point they’ve surpassed sales of electric vehicles and hybrid cars. According to the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA), electric bike imports jumped from 463,000 in 2020 to 790,0000 in 2021. That’s a 70 percent increase.
Meanwhile, Americans bought 652,000 EVs and hybrids in 2021, as reported by BloombergNEF. The US, however, trails Europe in e-bike, EV and hybrid sales. E-bike sales in Europe have been ahead of EV/hybrid sales for many years. LEVA stats show that 35 million e-bikes sell each year in Asia versus 3 million in Europe.
E-bikes are Outselling Pedal Bikes
E-bikes are also selling at a faster pace than traditional pedal bikes. One reason may be that e-bikes are much more effortless to ride. Pedaling a bike can be a workout going uphill, unlike easy-to-ride e-bikes. Other reasons why e-bikes are becoming more omnipresent in American culture include affordability, low maintenance and a fun experience.
The pandemic lockdowns have contributed to the e-bike craze, giving people a chance to enjoy outdoor activity at a low cost compared with driving a conventional gas-powered car. People who have faced lower income due to the pandemic need alternatives to accommodate tighter budgets. E-bike commuters can save hundreds of dollars per month in fuel costs compared with driving a car every day.
Another reason for the surge in e-bike sales is an increasing number of Americans are tired of paying high gas prices, which are near an all-time high in 2022. People also want to escape congested traffic with more environmentally-friendly transportation alternatives. Many professionals now favor e-bikes for commuting over public transportation because it gives the rider more control of getting from point A to B on time.
Global E-bike Sales Keep Rising
A large global player in e-bike manufacturing is Taiwan-based Giant, which sells over a half million units per year. Another large global e-bike maker is Japan-based Yamaha, which has seen sales slowdowns in recent years across all bike categories except for gravel bikes and e-bikes. Today the largest market for e-bike sales is China.
Earlier this century in the 2000s, e-bikes represented less than 1 percent of all bike sales. By 2013 only 185,000 e-bikes sold in America. In the years that followed more efficient lithium-ion batteries were introduced, which helped boost power while reducing costs.
Market researcher Deloitte projected at a 2019 tech conference that 130 million e-bikes would be sold worldwide from 2020 through 2023. The firm also predicts EVs will sell 12 million units worldwide annually by 2025 versus 40 million e-bikes per year by 2023.
Economic Advantages of E-bikes
Popular e-bikes in America typically cost from $900 to $6,000 and have a maximum speed of 25 mph. Leading brands include Trek Bikes, Pedego Electric Bikes and Rambo Bikes. Arizona e-bike manufacturer Lectric reported a 140 percent sales surge immediately after the pandemic was declared and lockdowns began in March 2020. One of the reasons for the spike was that e-bikes work well for social distancing while getting fresh air. The company’s XP e-bike reaches a speed of 28mph and is among the most affordable models on the market.
Appeal of Modern E-Bikes
Over the years e-bikes have evolved to be more powerful, yet lightweight and fuel-efficient. Furthermore, e-bikes are more eco-friendly than conventional gas=powered vehicles. E-bikes are particularly enjoyable to ride on sunny days with warm weather. In many respects e-bikes fit closely with a growing environmental and economic movement toward sustainability. Overall, electric bikes present a convenient, leaner and greener transportation alternative.