I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: electric bicycles are rapidly reshaping the way people get around all over the world. This trend is most evident in Asia and Europe, as more and more people choose to leave their cars in their garages most of the week, and instead commute around town aboard their e-bikes. Indeed, I rode to the cafe in which I’m writing this article as we speak, and I only ever take my car out on longer trips or when I take my family with me.
While electric bicycle adoption is indeed most widespread in Europe and Asia, the growth of the segment can’t be ignored in the US market, even if for now, it mostly encompasses recreational vehicles and for-sport applications. A report by Business Insider which was echoed by the Office Of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy highlights the growth of the segment in the US market. According to the report, there were 325,000 e-bikes sold in the US in 2018. 2019 saw this drop to 287,000 units, however, when the global pandemic hit, it proved to be a massive boom for the e-bike industry.
Fast forward to 2022, and there were 1.1 million electric bicycles sold in the US, marking an almost 400-percent increase as those sold in 2019. If we look at this from a monetary perspective, 2019 raked in about $240 million in e-bike sales, while 2022 returned a whopping $885.5 million. Yes, the e-bike industry is fast approaching the one billion-dollar mark. In fact, we previously reported that the global e-bike industry could soon amount to $120 billion by 2030. Given the rapid growth of the segment, not just in the US, but the rest of the world, the industry could hit this milestone sooner than expected.
It’s also worth noting however, that while electric bicycle sales have skyrocketed in recent years, this wasn’t without its tradeoff. The non-electric bike market took a hit, with sales slumping by 16 percent in 2022. This is a clear indication that some cyclists are ditching leg-powered machines in favor of electrically assisted ones, and quite frankly, it’s easy to understand why this is the case. As it would turn out, slapping an electric motor onto a bike opens up all sorts of possibilities when it comes to its configuration, and so we’re seeing all sorts of cargo bikes, powerful off-road bikes, and even family e-bikes hit the market.
So, what does the future hold for e-bike adoption in the US? Well, there are currently some pretty attractive incentives for folks who buy an electric car, but the same incentives are hardly present for those looking to commute by bike. This could all be about to change, as the same report by Business Insider highlights that a group of congresspeople reintroduced the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act earlier in 2023.
Under the proposal, consumers could enjoy up to a 30-percent discount (up to $1,500 USD) on the purchase of a new e-bike. The law aims not only to make e-bikes more accessible, but also to encourage local governments to invest in bike-friendly infrastructure.