The Future of E-Bikes is on a Move!

Mark DiPietro
Staff Writer

Most would agree that owning and driving a car in an urban setting is impractical. With so many people in such a small area, the size, as well as capabilities of a car from a large-scale logistics standpoint, are extremely inefficient for city dwellers. Realistically, most city travel is about 15-20 miles of travel round-trip per day. And with the added difficulties of COVID-19, public transportation has decreased sharply in popularity and practicality. This is one of the reasons why people have been searching for other solutions to city travel.

This is where the bicycle market comes into play. Bicycles, an invention thought up in the 1800s, suffered one of the worst occurrences of supply deficiency in the summer of 2020. Prices of bikes were soaring extraordinarily high, more than they have in at least a decade. The feelings of cabin fever from lockdown, mixed with the dangers of spreading, reopened many to the possibility of using bicycles for transportation. Obviously, a traditional bicycle has its limitations. However, so many of the aspects of traditional bicycles are remedied by the emerging market of E-Bikes, or bikes that have an electric motor to assist or completely replace pedaling. These bikes, though seemingly a little gimmicky, represent some of the most impressive strides in engineering in recent years.

Almost every significant statistic of these machines in the past few years has risen. Even the cheapest, most simplistic E-bike can travel about 20-30 miles on a single charge to sell, and mid-level units can travel for about 60-70 miles. The range also depends on the amount of pedaling the rider does and how much elevation there is, so physically fit riders can extend the life of a charge. Additionally, the weight of an E-Bike has improved dramatically as motors have gotten smaller and more efficient. The is average down to around 40-70 pounds, depending on size and sophistication. The convenience of having a means of transportation that you can dismount from, pick up, and bring into an apartment cannot be overstated. In terms of speed, it tops out at about 20-28 mph. This may not seem too impressive, but keep in mind that an E-Bike is something that you do not need licensing or insurance to operate.

E-Bikes are much more convenient for an owner to fold and carry into an office or apartment for storage. (Courtesy of BikeFolded)

Last year, 3.7 million E-bikes were sold. However, analysts predict that the number could hit 10 million units per year by 2024 and 17 million by 2030. Right now, the market for these bikes is bordering European countries. In these countries, cities with very narrow roads are common, making E-bikes useful. An example of the usefulness of this new technology is the Croatian mail system, which replaced most of their automobiles in cities in favor of E-Bikes.

Overall, the most promising thing about this industry is it is potential. It is clear that though great strides have been made, there is still so much room for improvement on all sides of the business model from design to marketing. If these E-Bikes do continue to be integrated in Europe and begin incorporation in Asian and American markets, look out for the takeoff of a massive industry for many years to come.


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