Hello and welcome to your daily Charge Smart blog! Today, we will be taking a look at what could be the top selling EV this decade.
Above: And it's not the Nissan Leaf
Let's start off with what an e-bike actually is. They are a traditional bicycle fitted with an electric motor and a battery. It recharges as you pedal the bike and when you want a bit of a breather, you can just switch over to battery power and let the bike do the pedalling for a little bit. An electric bicycle in simple terms.
Back to the topic! Let’s be honest, EVs are expensive. Used Nissan Leafs or leaves?! Are starting to become affordable but if you want a brand new pure EV, then you’re looking at shelling out something in the realm of $55,000 for, you guessed it, a brand-new Nissan Leaf. Want a Tesla instead, that’ll set you back about $70,000 at least(prices in NZD). You get where I’m going with this. It’s weird when you think about it, but e-bikes have been around since 2006 but until 2012, they represented a very tiny proportion of all bicycle sales across the globe. 1% to be accurate.
However, we are currently seeing the shift happening right before our eyes. Improvements to battery tech, electric motors and lowering the price along with the added factor of cities trying to make their residents less dependent on ICE cars means that e-bike sales are set to skyrocket over the next few years. Deloitte published its annual tech predictions late last year and they expect that there will be at least 130 million e-bikes sold across the globe between 2020 and 2023. They also predict that there will be more e-bikes on the road than electric cars by the end of this year! That sounds like a rather bold forecast but at the start of 2019, there were 5.1 million EVs on roads and it’s forecasted that there will be another 12 million added to that tally by the end of 2025. Even if you halve Deloitte’s prediction about e-bike sales, they will still outsell electric cars by a sizable margin over the next few years. The biggest reason for that is down to their affordability.
However, are people really going to consider exposing themselves to the elements as they cycle to work each day? The Dutch already use their bicycles in rain or shine but for the rest of the world, cycling is a more leisurely activity. Only to be turned to on perfect days, especially if you’re planning to commute to work on one. If you think I’m just assuming that then listen to the stats, in the US and Canada, only 1% of the workforce use bicycles for their daily commute to work. Deloitte also predict that e-bike sales will climb above 40 million units per year by 2023, that’s an ambitious prediction!
Above: Can e bikes seriously be considered an alternative to electric cars
They’ve also said that for larger countries like the United States, e-bike sales will be far more in cities where commuting is over shorter distances compared to the countryside where distances are generally much larger. And Deloitte aren’t the only ones who are predicting this huge surge in EV sales, Guidehouse consulting also predict that there will be 113 million e-bikes sold between now and 2023 and they also agree that e-bikes will become the best selling EVs on the planet by the end of this year. After all, U.S e-bike sales have grown by 8 times since 2014. One can only imagine what that figure is like for more cycle friendly countries like our own.
However, some groups are a little bit skeptical about Deloitte’s huge predictions. The NPD Group who do a lot of market research think Deloitte are overselling the uptake of e-bikes. They also disagree that e-bikes will outsell EVs but still believe that electric vehicles will be the fastest growing market. While those predictions may work for the U.S, Europe is probably going to reflect those of Deloitte’s. The ever-tightening emission regulations over there are causing people to ditch ICE cars in favour of the electric stuff. That also includes e-bikes.
People have taken to e-bikes quickly because of the fact that the battery and electric motor mean that you can cover much larger distances at faster speeds without needing athlete sized muscles. They are much more affordable than cars and because you do the charging as you’re riding the bike, you don’t need to plug them into any sort of charger when it’s time to hope off the seat.
Above: They still have a few issues
Though they have a few major drawbacks as compared to cars. Firstly, there’s the practicality. There’s nowhere to store your travel coffee cup on your morning commute, we’re looking at you Aucklanders. That also means that dropping kids to the daycare on your way to work or picking up bread and milk on the way back home becomes just that little bit harder. Then there’s the other factor that a lot of cities haven’t been designed with protected bike lanes or bicycle carparks so as far as we can see, they will still remain a leisurely option for those cycling enthusiasts rather than a serious EV option to consider. Auckland at least should do better than other major cities of the world because there are a lot of usable bike lanes already along with places to stop and lock up your bike by the side of the road.