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Slide from Bosch US E-Bike Market Trends
Slide from Bosch US E-Bike Market Trends

Future Bodes Well For E-Bikes in America

There are so many e-bikes in China, some cities there have started to ban them from major thoroughfares, meanwhile their numbers are growing steadily in Europe. Can the USA be far behind? Bosch decided to find out by surveying last Fall nearly 900 respondents. Here's some of what they learned.

It's clear from the numbers that electric-assist bicycles are experiencing steady, year-over-year growth in Europe, now including some of the traditionally smaller markets: Belgium, France, the UK. That growth got the attention of Bosch, one of the world's premier manufacturers of everything from auto parts to kitchen dishwashers. They stepped into the e-bike market several years ago by introducing a 250W mid-motor that integrates the electric motor into the bike's pedal crank. I had the opportunity to test and demonstrate it two summers ago in a Haibike loaned to me by Currie Technologies, now a part of the Accell Group.

The US market, with its dominate car culture, has been slower to respond, but based on a survey Bosch commissioned in 2015, that appears to be changing. In a presentation entitled 'US eBike Market Trends, the German industrial giant discovered some interesting data about who's buying electric assist bicycles in America, why and how they are using them. I have reproduced a trio of salient slides from their presentation. You can view the entire slide deck in PDF format at the link.

Who's Buying Electric Bicycles in America?

Overwhelmingly, it's Boomers, the graying population that after millennials is the largest age cohort in the country.

Bosch report: Boomer eBike Buyers

Why Are They Buying eBikes?

The leading reason: replace some car trips. That ought to keep carmakers up at night, which may also account for why the likes of Ford, GM and BMW have already or are planning to move into the market themselves. Also up there as why they buy eBikes is so they can ride with less effort, increase their level of physical activity and fitness, and because they live and/or work in hilly areas.

Bosch report: Boomers replacing cartrips.

How Often Do They Ride Their eBikes?

And here's the real surprise: eBike owners ride them far more frequently than conventional bikes, averaging 3.5 day per week! That finding surprised everyone.

Bosch report: Ride eBikes more than 3 times a week

From the perspective of Quikbyke, this is very exciting information. It indicates that we are on the right track in terms of our main market - Baby Boomers ages 50+. Now we just need to see if our rental business-in-a-box model is the right one. We hope to start finding out June 1 here in Omaha in time for the start of the 2016 NCAA Men's College World Series.

Posted By: Bill Moore [30-Apr-2016]

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