While electric bicycles are highly popular in many rapidly growing economies – particularly China, which accounts for some 92% of e-bike sales in the world today, they have yet to catch on in a significant way in North America. Only around 89,000 e-bikes will be sold this year in the U.S. for example, compared to 252,000 in Germany, a country with less than one-third the population of the U.S. According to a recent report from Pike Research, that will begin to change over the next several years. E-bike sales in the U.S. will more than triple in the next six years, the report forecasts, reaching 265,000 in 2018. Worldwide global sales of e-bikes will surpass 47 million vehicles in 2018, generating nearly $12 billion in revenue in that year.
“Although the e-bicycle will remain a niche product in the U.S. the market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 20%,” said senior research analyst Dave Hurst. “That means it will continue to trail significant Western European markets, but increases in bicycle infrastructure in growing urban centers and the rise in popularity of alternative means of transport will make e-bikes a viable choice for thousands of new users.”
In North America traditional bicycle dealers have been uninterested in carrying e-bicycles because the customers are not typical bicycle buyers. Some of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers, including Giant, Trek and Schwinn, currently offer e-bicycles, but these vehicles also remain relatively unsupported in the U.S. market.