Discover the trends for the future of electric bikes

Faced with the urgent need to protect the climate and the current economic situation, the current climate is favoring the development of bicycles, and electric bikes in particular. Less polluting than a car and more attractive for everyday use than a traditional bicycle, the electric bike is gaining more and more ground in our cities. In this dynamic, the various stakeholders, including brands, associations and governments, are getting organized to support and amplify the impact of electric bikes. 

Trends N°1: The ecological impact of e-bikes on the bicycle industry will be more fully considered

Electric bicycles offer numerous environmental and societal benefits. The bike industry is currently working on solutions to overcome the last remaining barriers

Advantage 1 : Electric bikes make cities less congested 

Electric bicycles can play a major role in reducing urban congestion. As cities become increasingly congested, electrically assisted bicycles (EABs) offer an agile, flexible and fast transportation solution. With the development of infrastructure such as cycle paths and signage, more and more people are becoming interested in this mode of travel. As a result, recent years have seen a proliferation of long-term rental (LLD) offers and self-service fleets accros Europe. This approach is ideal for novice users who want to see how an electric bike can fit into their daily lives.

Electric bicycles are suitable for everyone, appealing to families, professionals and city dwellers alike, thanks to an offer tailored to each individual. This trend is helping to reduce traffic, relieve congestion and, ultimately, cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

Advantage 2 : Reducing carbon footprint with an electric bike 

One of the main reasons why electric bikes are seen as an environmentally-friendly solution is their ability to reduce carbon footprints. Thanks to the work of the European Cyclist Federation, emissions from electric bikes are well documented. In France, for example, an electrically-assisted bicycle consumes just 9g of CO2 per kilometer – 30 times less than a conventional vehicle, which emits an average of 271g of CO2 per kilometer.  

Sustainable transportation options such as electric bikes. Generative Ai.

However, to create a fully sustainable product, challenges remain for the future of the industry.

Advantage 3: Improved consideration of European bicycle production

Many bicycle brands are facing a significant shift in their production strategy: while Asia was once seen as the El Dorado for manufacturing, more and more of them are now opting to bring production back to Europe. This trend is driven by a quest for quality and local expertise, as well as environmental considerations such as reducing emissions from transporting parts to Europe.

Across Europe, industries are restructuring to integrate and industrialize the production of bike components and complete bicycles themselves. For instance, countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy are emerging as leaders in the reshoring of bicycle production. In Germany, companies like Canyon are renowned for their high-quality local manufacturing of bicycles, while the Netherlands is establishing itself as an innovation hub for electric bikes.

In 2023, Germany saw a 25% increase in investments in electric bicycle production on its soil, indicating a significant enthusiasm for reshoring. Meanwhile, the Netherlands has tripled its capacity for electric bicycle production in the past two years, with production of batteries and motors increasing by over 40%.

These initiatives are supported by European governments and policies such as anti-dumping laws aimed at protecting local industries from unfair competition, as well as various European funding initiatives to promote innovation and sustainability in the transportation sector.

This shift reflects not just an economic change but also a commitment to sustainability and quality, appealing to consumers who are mindful of environmental issues and product provenance.

Electric bicycle batteries: a challenge for the entire industry

The meteoric rise of the electric bicycle in recent years has been accompanied by an exponential increase in the number of batteries in circulation. In France, for example, there were over 3 million electric bikes in circulation in 2023, a figure that is set to double by 2025. This exponential growth poses a major recycling challenge. Although manufacturers are obliged to guarantee the recycling of their products, collection and processing facilities are struggling to keep pace. In France, for example, it is estimated that by 2023, only 80% of electric bicycle batteries had been properly recycled.

The issue is all the more crucial as used batteries, if not properly treated, can have a disastrous environmental impact. The infiltration of heavy metals contained in batteries into soils and groundwater can cause significant damage to ecosystems.

Faced with these challenges, the electric bike industry is striving to find innovative solutions. New battery designs that are easier to recycle and the use of more durable materials are among the avenues being explored. The average lifespan of an electric bike battery is around 3 to 5 years, which means that large volumes of batteries will reach end-of-life in the years to come.

New players are also emerging to offer alternative solutions. One example is the French start-up Reycle, which offers a long-term battery rental service with an integrated collection and recycling system.

Moreover, brands also have a duty to educate from a technical point of view. To attract more cyclists, they have a duty to offer optimized products for a pleasant and attractive electric-bike experience. 

Trend N°2: New electric bike segments booming

The e-bike industry is diversifying with the development of new segments to cater to a wider range of users and applications.

The cargo bike, the bike that replaces the second car

Cargo bikes are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility and usefulness. They are designed to carry heavier loads, making them ideal for families, delivery services and urban logistics. The rugged construction and improved engine performance of cargo bikes enable them to carry heavy weights while retaining their stability and ease of use. Brands are investing in this segment to meet the growing demand for sustainable urban transport solutions.

Several brands are producing innovative e-bike models to suit the flexible daily lives of city dwellers.

For example, Rennes-based Galian has designed the world’s firs cargotail in the world. This family-friendly bike can carry up to 2 adults and 2 children at the same time.

Mountain bikes: electrification for enhanced performance

Electric mountain bikes (E-MTBs) are seeing significant growth as they provide the thrill of off-road cycling with the added benefit of electric assistance. E-MTBs are designed for rugged terrain and challenging trails, making them a favorite among adventure enthusiasts and outdoor sports lovers. Advances in battery technology and motor performance have made these bikes more capable and reliable, attracting a broader audience to mountain biking.

From entry-level to top-of-the-range: bikes to suit every budget

The e-bike market is expanding to include a wide range of models from high-end to entry-level options. More brands are investing in different market segments to reach a diverse audience. High-end models feature advanced technology, superior materials, and enhanced performance, appealing to enthusiasts and professional riders. Meanwhile, entry-level models are becoming more accessible and affordable, making e-bikes an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers. This strategy allows brands to cater to all demographics and promote widespread adoption of electric bikes.

Trend N°3: there are more technological advances in the future for the e-bike industry

Driven by this dynamic and desire to do better, industry players are innovating to make their products ever more attractive and safe.   

After theft, safety is the second biggest barrier to cycling. Whether in the design of on-board technology or in accessories and functionalities, the market is seeing the emergence of more and more solutions for a safer e-bike experience. 

On-board innovations for a safer experience: a duty for manufacturers

The connected bike

To remove the safety barrier for consumers, electric bike brands are equipping their bikes with solutions that address these concerns. One of these is the connected bike.   

By integrating a connected object into the electric bike, it transforms it into a smart bike. A bike capable of receiving and sending data. Using a mobile application, the brand supports cyclists in protecting and maintaining their electric bikes: real-time geolocation, alarms and notifications in the event of suspicious movements, maintenance tips, reminders, etc.   

Accompanying the cyclist through these stages is not only an element of reassurance, but also a relational tool that enables the brand to make itself visible and present to its consumers. 

C-V2X a promising techology

Other technologies, such as C-V2X (Communication Vehicle-to-Everything), currently under development, offer the potential to enhance cyclist safety through 5G deployment. This developing technology promises to make cyclists visible to other road users.

Bicycle accessories: innovations to optimize rider safety 

In addition to these brand efforts, other players are seeking to innovate and offer complementary solutions. As a result, we’re seeing the emergence of connected objects such as dossards to indicate the direction of rotation, or inflatable helmets whose aim is to democratize the wearing of bicycle helmets, while offering safe, lightweight solutions. 

A bright future for the e-bike industry!  

With 738,454 units sold by 2022, the ebike segment is only just beginning to evolve. With the components crisis behind them, industry players must now face up to the economic climate, which is driving cyclists to consume less and increasing brand production costs. In this economically tense context, brands need more than ever to develop a telltale story, and to differentiate themselves from the competition, because even though consumption is slowing down, cyclists are still interested. 

So, in a highly competitive market, it’s even more important for brands to differentiate themselves by offering the best cycling experience. Crucial to cyclists, an optimal cycling experience not only provides satisfaction, but also builds brand loyalty.   

For this, connectivity is a relevant option, as it not only removes the disincentives to bike use, but also adds an extra dimension through connected services.   

At Velco, we support brands in their connectivity projects with our solutions. Our SaaS software suites enable us to offer each industry player the right solution for their needs. 

Velco Rider: electric bike brand offering connectivity to your cyclists 

With Velco Rider, our white-label application, brands can offer connected services to cyclists and get noticed by them. By supporting them in the maintenance and safety of their bikes, while enhancing their experience in a fun way, the brand can build cyclist loyalty and turn them into potential ambassadors.