There is an increasing amount of e-bike news about cities and organizations adopting these bikes in order to improve traffic flow and reduce emissions. Around the world, demand for e-bikes is increasing as people become more concerned about the environment and the bikes become more affordable with better battery life. In some places, like the Netherlands, they’re even beginning to approach or surpass sales of traditional bicycles.
The global e-bike market is on the rise, with growth of over 8 million units expected between 2019 and 2024. Their popularity is highest in APAC, where large populations and dense cities mean that countries such as China account for over three-quarters of the global market. Demand is rising around the world, however, with Europe likely to see twice as much growth as any other region.
How do e-bikes work?
E-bikes are battery-powered bicycles that either make it easier to pedal or replace the need to pedal altogether. Bicycles with pedal-assist are called “pedelecs,” and the motor is used only when pedaling. These e-bikes feel similar to conventional bikes and have limited speed. Some e-bikes have a throttle that allows the rider to engage the motor without pedaling, and these are often more heavily regulated. Some e-bike models come with both pedal-assist and a throttle.
Suggested reading: Are E-Bikes the Future of Urban Mobility?
Global E-Bike News Updates
There is frequent debate within municipalities and higher levels of government regarding how to classify e-bikes and whether they should be allowed on the roads and in parks – since they’re powered by a motor, there are concerns about them being faster and more dangerous. However, an increasing number of cities are adopting them, with some allowing e-bike sharing systems to set up shop as well. Government organizations and businesses are also beginning to adopt e-bikes as alternatives to cars, motorcycles, and traditional bicycles. Here’s some of the latest e-bike news from around the world.
Melbourne partners with Uber for e-bike sharing
The city of Melbourne in Australia has signed an MoU with JUMP, a dockless scooter and e-bike sharing company owned by Uber. The company will run a one-year trial in the city starting in March 2020, allowing cyclists to use the Uber app to rent e-bikes. There will be about 400 e-bikes available in the city, and they will also be introduced in Yarra and Port Phillip, with the goal of offering a new alternative to personal cars. The MoU outlines where the e-bikes can be parked and maintained in order to ensure availability in key locations without getting in the way of pedestrian traffic. The city hopes this e-bike sharing program will encourage both residents and visitors to travel the city in a more affordable and sustainable manner, and reduce congestion on busy streets.
Trail trial in Auckland
Over in New Zealand, Auckland Council park rangers are also adopting e-bikes on a trial basis. Staff are using the bikes to patrol Long Bay Regional Park in order to be less reliant on gas-powered vehicles. The e-bike trial is part of the council’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and improve sustainability. So far the trial has been a success and the staff are enjoying it, and Auckland Council is investigating ways the e-bikes can be used in other parks as well.
Helbiz moves into D.C.
In US e-bike news, New York City-based Helbiz has begun offering e-bike sharing services in D.C., planning to introduce 2,000 e-bikes to the roads over the next half year. It joins JUMP as the only other company with an e-bike permit to operate within the District. The permit allows the companies to field up to 2,500 bikes and is part of the District’s dockless vehicle sharing program, which also includes e-scooter permits. In addition to the e-bikes themselves, Helbiz plans to launch an apprenticeship program, a driving safety education program, and free rides for low-income residents.
VinFast brings electric alternatives to Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are struggling with air pollution and traffic congestion, and motorcycles are part of the reason. They’re an extremely popular mode of transportation in these cities, as they’re frequently faster and cheaper than other options. In Hanoi, for example, there are more than 6 million motorcycles compared to about 700,000 cars.
Despite how heavily citizens rely on these vehicles, Hanoi’s government plans to ban motorcycles in downtown areas by 2030 in order to reduce their impact on both the environment and the city’s traffic. VinFast, a part of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, aims to take advantage of this opening, introducing its first line of e-bikes in late 2018. The company sold over 30,000 units within the last year, but the price of the e-bikes means that adoption is relatively slow, with few residents being able to afford the initial costs despite the bikes being more cost-effective in the long run. The cities will also need a greater number of charging stations and better battery life in order to encourage more consumers to pick up the eco-friendly bikes.
Suggested reading: Top 20 Electric Motor Manufacturers in the World
Japan upgrades its postal service
Early this year, Japan Post Co. began replacing its mail delivery motorcycles with Honda’s BENLY e electric bikes. Its goal is to have 200 bikes in operation by the end of March this year, and 2000 by the end of March 2021. Japan Post will be using custom versions of the bike, which will not be available to corporate customers until April. They will be used primarily in Tokyo and other cities where deliveries are made over short distances.
For more e-bike news and in-depth analysis of the industry, try Technavio’s market research report:
- CAGR of the market during the forecast period 2020-2024
- Detailed information on factors that will drive e-bike market growth during the next five years
- Precise estimation of the e-bike market size and its contribution to the parent market
- Informed predictions on upcoming trends and changes in consumer behavior
- The growth of the e-bike market industry across APAC, Europe, MEA, North America, and South America
- A thorough analysis of the market’s competitive landscape and detailed information on vendors
- Comprehensive details of factors that will challenge the growth of e-bike market vendors