There are 200 million electric bicycles ridden today and most are in China. China has had annual sales of about 30 million bikes sold for several years but about 25 million are replacements for worn out bikes. Growth exists, but it has slowed greatly.
The Electric Bike Worldwide Report predicts that the electric bike industry is poised to grow to 2 billion by 2050. Eventually 84 million e-bikes could be sold each year.
China is the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles and electric vehicles, with sales of up to 80,000,000 units, accounting for 80% of global turnover.
Today some 700 Chinese companies manufacture e-bikes. According to China Bicycle Association (CBA), the top ten e-bike companies accounted for 47% of the total production in 2014. China has some 200 million e-bikes running on the road totaling CNY 100 billion (14bn euro) in value, a tenfold increase from 2005. The value of the entire upstream and downstream industry chain has reached CNY 200 billion (28bn euro).
It should be noted that the Chinese market growth of 5 million units per year is still more than double the total number of ebikes sold in Europe last year.
During the first half of 2014, the production of lithium battery equipped e-bikes reached 1.7 million units; an increase of 36% and accounted for over 50% of the total e-bike export. Improving lithium ion (Li-ion) battery technology is resulting in e-bikes that are lighter, lower in cost, and remarkably similar to traditional bicycles. Additionally, increasing urbanization and a desire to move away from cars for motorized transportation are opening up more opportunities for alternative mobility devices. E-bikes are uniquely positioned to be a primary benefactor of this trend since they are low in cost relative to cars, do not require licensing, and can take advantage of existing bicycling infrastructure.
E-bikes in China sells for about $450 versus roughly $2000 for its European counterpart.
It is predicted that eventually, eBikes will account for one of every three bikes sold in the European Union, a ratio now achieved only in the Netherlands. Until then, we predict that e-bike sales will continue growing at a rate of about 15 percent a year.
For many years, the only allowable electric bicycles in most European countries were pedelecs (active pedaling is required to engage the electric motor). The European Union has recently expanded the definition of electric bicycle to include more powerful models which may be equipped with throttles, but pedelecs with a top assisted speed of 25 kph remain the only type that do not require type approval.