Electric bicycles (E-Bikes) are bicycles that have a small electric motor and rechargeable batteries to assist the power provided by the rider. Electric bicycles are to witness a significant growth over the forecast period owing to new technology developments and the increasing affordability and availability of product offerings.
Innovative technologies emerging in the e-bikes market is expected to drive the market growth over the forecast period. For example, throttle-control, pedal-assist models, all-in-one retrofit kits and wheels, and electric cargo bicycles. The use of these bicycles in police patrol and various other security industries has contributed to a growing market with strong potential. These bicycles emit a lot less carbon than a car would. A study from Transportation Alternatives found that if 10% of New York City commuters biked to work just once a week instead of driving or taking public transit, they could cut back on 120 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year that is equal to the amount of CO2 released by 25,000 New York homes per year. These bicycles can take individuals to longer distances with less effort in a shorter period of time. The combination of motor with batteries gives the freedom to ride for 90 km or two to five hours in a single charge.
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These e-bikes help one to climb steep hills with little efforts. Electric bicycles help in pedal assistance that does not stop an individual’s exercise and allows them to go on work without sweating. A throttle on some e-bikes provide extra boost. These bikes use nickel metal hydride or lithium ion batteries. Innovative technologies introduced by some companies are to boost the market growth over the forecast period. For example, OHM electric power bikes have an intelligent mobility system that links an LCD command console with the motor and battery which allows setting riding preferences, view one’s speed, distance travelled and battery charge levels. Also, it gives a feature of regenerative braking that produces extra battery life by regenerating the battery when applying brakes.
However, these bikes run for 15-40 km on a single charge and take hours to recharge which to hamper the growth of the market. It is difficult to pedal uphill manually when the battery dies. These bikes are comparatively heavy than the regular bikes. Also, laws regarding their use and different licensing requirements in different countries pose a threat to market growth. For example, they are banned in Shezhen, China but allowed in Beijing. In Europe and North America, electric bicycles are prohibited in bicycle lanes and any bicycle paths specifically marked for “non-motorized vehicles only”.
The market can be segmented on the basis of product type, battery type and end-use segments. E-bikes are used being used by policeman for patrol, the office people to reach early at work due to traffic, the pizza delivery boy, the speed sicker, mountain climber, senior citizen, students and rare car drivers. E-bikes use batteries of different chemistries, the most common being lead-acid, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium ion (Li-ion), to store power to supplement the power provided by the rider. In the lowest cost versions of e-bikes the battery employed is typically a sealed VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) battery. In more expensive e-bikes, the battery may be a nickel metal hydride or lithium ion battery. The types of electric bicycles available in the market are electric foldable bikes, hybrid electric bikes, electric city bikes, electric mountain bikes, electric road bikes, electric recumbents, electric tandems, electric choppers, electric tricycles, electric unicycles and electric mopeds.
China dominates the electric bicycle market in terms of revenue currently. Western Europe and North America are beginning to increase their market share of electric bicycles as they have largely been treated as a novel type of sporting equipment rather than a vehicle for transportation.
Key players in this market are Bem Ltd., Hero Eco Limited, Indiegogo, Inc., Aerobic Cruiser, riel Rider Ebikes, Electron Wheel, Darfon Innovation Corp., Xiaomi-mi, Benelli, Haibike, Derby Cycle Werke GmbH and Electra Bicycle Company.
In June 2016, Xiaomi-mi launched folding electric cycle as part of their differentiation strategy.
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