According to statistics from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA), e-bikes are the unsung heroes of the EV revolution both in the US and globally. To put things into context, e-bikes were the best-selling electric vehicles in the United States, with 2021 sales greatly exceeding those of electric cars.
Share of zero-emission vehicle sales by segment: Economic Transition Scenario and Net Zero Scenarios
The chart above clearly shows that EV sales are growing as a result of regulatory backing, advancements in battery technology and cost, increased charging infrastructure construction, and more appealing models from automakers. Most importantly, electrification is also expanding to new areas of road transport, paving the way for massive developments in the future.
According to BNEF, Americans will purchase around 652,000 electric vehicles in 2021, including battery electric models and plug-in hybrids—a figure that is more than quadruple the 296,000 plug-in vehicle sales in 2020.
According to the research, the United States imported about 790,000 electric bikes in 2021, up from around 463,000 in 2020—ending a second straight year in which e-bikes surpassed electric vehicles.
As BNEF pointed out, this falls short of both Europe’s yearly e-bike total of 1 million and Asia’s massive 35 million. However, since nearly all e-bikes sold in the United States are imported, totals incorporating imports and imported components are a guessing game.
E-bikes have the potential to help replace cars with a mode of transportation that contributes less to congestion and has a lower carbon footprint, both in use and in production. Data shows that most Americans drive less than 30 miles a day. With current average e-bikes range being about 30-50 miles, e-bikes can become a viable substitute to short local trips.
The broader appeal towards American that e-bikes have over electric cars has not gone unnoticed by the big OEMs. Many manufacturers, including GM, Ford, Audi, and Porsche have launched e-bikes in recent years, but none have sold in substantial numbers in the United States. Even Tesla and SpaceX has an e-bike that is used exclusively within its Hawthorne campus. Also according to recent rumors, Rivian looking into building a commercially available e-bike with is 100% on-brand with their outdoorsy adventurer image.
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