E-mobility by two wheels
The future is in many ways electric, as electricity is a much more suitable fuel for a sustainable society. The plans for e-mobility are taking shape all over the globe, but in China the innovation and development are in some aspect far ahead of everyone else. Today, when you visit a major Chinese city, the sheer amount of electric bikes might surprise you. Statistics tell the story; China is the largest market for e-bikes since 2000. Sales have since then really taken off, from about 300,000 in year 2000 to almost 33 million units in 2016 (while for the rest of the world the number in 2016 was 4 million). And rising.
China is today world dominant in the production of e-bikes, the European Union (EU) has already started complaining over the fact that Chinese companies (with financial support from the government) are dumping e-bikes in Europe.
A new segment
There are a few certain reasons why e-bike sales are on a steady rise. First, there are countries that subsidise the purchase of privately owned e-bikes. In Sweden for example, buyers get a 25 percent discount in 2018, funded by the government. By this summer almost half of the budget (in all approx €35M) has already been used. In total the government says the money is enough for a total of 70.000 e-bikes, including mopeds and smaller motorcycles. And that is for Sweden alone, with a 10M population.
Secondly, the concept of e-bikes seems to open a new transport segment, somewhere between ordinary bicycles and cars. Many people that buy e-bikes actually do so to get rid of the need for a smaller city car.
Thirdly, e-bikes allow many more than the average biker to access them. This means people that are older, physically challenged or the like today can use bikes instead of cars and public transportation.
Last mile delivery
But the e-bike and the e-scooters and e-motorcycles are also a great vehicle commercially, for what is called last mile delivery. Today several postal companies are far beyond plans of implementing e-scooters in their operations. As of August 2014, DHL Deutsche Post had over 6,000 power-assisted bikes in service, a number steadily on the rise. Deutsche Post is now also the owner of the company StreetScooter, making electric delivery trucks as well as e-bikes, with a yearly production of 2000+.
Economy and ecology
E-bikes and e-scooters are today a product well suited for lean production and logistics. They can quite easily be built in big numbers, as they don’t have as many critical parts as an electric car. This also means that smaller adjustments and tweaks are easy to implement in your production.
Today, when battery capacity and power output of electric engines constantly are being improved, the only way is up. It is the industry’s belief that last mile delivery in just a very few years will be dominated by electric vehicles, both bikes/scooters and cars. And the e-bikes will be here first. Well, they are already.
Pedelec is the official word for a “pedal assisted bike”, today most often referring to a bike with an electric help-engine, mounted either in a wheel hub or by the pedals.
E-bike. Either a pedelec or a bicycle in part or fully powered by an electric engine.