Sales of electric bicycles in North America will grow by more than 50% in 2013 to more than 158,000 bikes. The world electric bicycle market will grow by 10% to more than 33.6 million units during that year. Almost of the global electric bikes will be in China.
The worldwide market for e-bicycles is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% between 2012 and 2018, resulting in global sales of more than 47 million vehicles in 2018. China is anticipated to account for 42 million of these e-bicycles that year, giving it 89% of the total world market. The e-bicycle market is anticipated to generate $6.9 billion in worldwide revenue in 2012, growing to $11.9 billion in 2018. If the 10% forecast for 2013 electric bike growth holds then the world e-bike total could be on track to 51 million in 2018.
In 2013, several battery manufacturers including AllCell Technologies, Balqon, and Saft are stepping up with 48-volt lead-acid and Li-ion offerings for increasingly power-hungry vehicles with Stop-Start systems. Higher voltage (42V) batteries were tried—and failed—more than a decade ago, when the cost of DC-to-DC converters was prohibitive. Since then, the cost has come down and reliability of converters has improved.
Higher power batteries will last longer and allow the hotel load systems, such as heating and cooling, to continue to operate when the engine is off without causing the all-too-familiar phenomenon of the headlights dimming due to insufficient power. These higher power batteries are also being introduced in electric bicycles, which should enable battery manufacturers to reduce manufacturing costs by producing in greater volumes.
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