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E-Bikes Offer New Revenue Opportunities for the Automotive Industry

Ryan Citron
Mar 02, 2020

Bicycle

While sales of traditional bicycles have remained flat in most major world markets for the past several years, electric bicycles (e-bikes) are achieving unprecedented growth across North America, Europe, and pockets of Asia Pacific. Navigant Research, a Guidehouse company, expects nearly 200 million e-bikes to be sold over the next 5 years and roughly 450 million to sell from 2020 to 2030. 

The Automotive Industry Is Taking Notice of E-Bike Market Growth

Global automotive and motorcycle manufacturers and suppliers are noticing the strong growth of the global e-bike market and are deploying e-bike products to compete in the growing market. Primary examples include:

  • General Motors (GM): In early 2019, GM announced its new product line of ARĪV e-bikes. Two models, the Meld (compact e-bike) and the Merge (folding e-bike), are currently offered in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. 
  • Ford Motor Company: The company partnered with e-bike specialist Pedego to develop and distribute the $3,695 Ford Super Cruiser. The high end e-bike has a 48 V battery and a 500 W motor.
  • Peugeot: The French automaker offers an extensive line of e-bikes, with more than 15 models available, including folding, road, trekking, mountain, and city e-bikes.
  • Volkswagen: The company offers a three-wheel cargo e-bike as a last-mile logistics solution. The e-bike has a range of as far as 100 km (62 miles) and has a maximum payload of 210 kg (463 lbs).
  • Jeep: In February 2020, Jeep unveiled its off-road e-mountain bike in a Super Bowl advertisement. The e-bike has a powerful 750 W motor and 64 km (40 miles) range per charge. It is expected to be available in June 2020. 
  • Ducati Motor Holding: The Italian high performance motorcycle maker partnered with e-bike manufacturer Thok to develop three premium e-bikes: the MIG-RR (Enduro e-mountain bike), MIG-S (mountain and trekking), and e-Scrambler (urban). The MIG-RR began sales in Europe in 2018 and is expected to be offered in the US in spring 2020.
  • Harley-Davidson: The US motorcycle giant introduced its first three e-bike prototypes at the EICMA 2019 Motorcycle Show in Milan. The e-bikes are expected to be sold in 2020 at Harley-Davidson dealers, ranging in price from $2,500 to $5,000.

Additionally, major automotive suppliers such as Robert Bosch and Continental AG have been accelerating and capitalizing on the e-bike market for a number of years by offering high performance and specialty designed e-bike motors, batteries, digital displays, and other components. 

New Revenue Needed in Era of Slowing Car Sales

With automotive sales slowing in most major world markets, a number of automakers are recognizing the need to diversify their revenue streams. High population density is causing unprecedented levels of automotive traffic congestion and a lack of available parking in many city centers around the world. This reality is driving citizens toward alternatives to traditional vehicle ownership. E-bikes are emerging as a primary benefactor of these trends because they are low cost, avoid traffic, require no licensing or insurance, fit into existing bike lane infrastructure, and are easy to park. 

E-bikes are undoubtedly the future of the bicycle industry, particularly in Europe where traditional bicycle sales are already being substantially usurped by e-bikes. In Belgium and the Netherlands, for example, Navigant Research expects e-bikes to surpass 50% market share of the bicycle market in 2020. Bicycle manufacturers, and increasingly automakers, that fail to offer comprehensive and competitive e-bike product lines risk losing the potential to generate substantial new business. 

For more detailed data and analysis on the global e-bike industry, look for Navigant Research’s upcoming Market Data: Electric Bicycles report.