With the Tour de France in full swing, it’s possible to marvel at the power and endurance of professional riders. For normal humans, the ability to ride a bicycle 50km in an hour is almost beyond comprehension. However, the potential to ride at half that speed, more or less effortlessly, across an urban landscape otherwise snarled with motorised traffic, is within reach of anyone that can use an e-bike.
E-bikes have long been a common fixture in Chinese cities. They’re now becoming prevalent in many other countries around the world. Europe has seen a surge of interest in e-bikes. Their diversity in design and innovation in usability, has also surged. My father is now 88 and had given-up cycling due to the hills in his neighbourhood that he was no longer able to ride up. He discovered e-bikes and is now able to continue riding to his local village to buy his newspaper and other provisions.
Looking ahead, increasing urbanisation and a desire to move away from cars for motorised transportation are opening opportunities for these alternative types of vehicles. Low Speed Electric Vehicles (LSEVs), particularly e-bikes and e-scooters, are uniquely positioned to be a primary benefactor of this trend. They are low in cost relative to cars, require minimum or no licensing and are a sustainable means of transportation, able to leverage existing and future mainstream EV charging infrastructures.
Urbanisation is one of the core, global megatrends that is and will continue to shape many aspects of society, policy and technology. 55% of the world’s population, or 4.2 billion people, now live in cities. In 1950 it was 30% and the proportion is expected to reach almost 70% by 2050. Already today North America, Latin America, Europe and Oceania have reached or exceeded that level.
As cities grow people need to move around to find work. The total number of vehicles on the roads therefore continues to increase. Traffic congestion results in lower mobility and increased transport and pollution costs. Such a situation creates favourable conditions for new urban transport solutions, including LSEVs. A German federal environment agency study revealed that LSEVs such as e-bikes are faster than cars for distances of up to 10 km (6.2 miles) in urban environments.
Counterpoint Research has just published a new report that looks in detail at the LSEV market, with a particular focus on e-bikes. It highlights the impact of technological developments on core electrical components such as electric motors and batteries and outlines how innovation in the integration of display/control units with advanced drive systems as well as external devices such as smartphones is enhancing the riding experience and transforming e-bikes and other LSEVs into truly connected vehicles.
The e-bikes market is likely to grow steadily over the next several years and is expected to be worth over US$30 billion by 2025. For more information on the report please contact us.