If you are living in an urban environment, you probably run into bicycles on a daily basis or perhaps even ride one. Something you might have noticed is that more and more bicycles around us are gaining extra features like electrical motor in the rear hub, smart turn signals, GPS tracking or smart bike locks integrated to them. It is quite easy to spot a bulky frame or big battery attached to a bicycle.
In 2016, 35 million electric bikes were sold worldwide, of which 33 million were sold in Asia Pacific. But, where does this huge gap come from? According to INSG insight, the average cost of an e-bike in China equals $167, while in North-America it averages at $815 and in Western Europe at $1546. As more and more players enter the market and e-bikes are gradually getting cheaper in Western countries, it is safe to say that we are going to see more of them on the streets. Another factor worth mentioning is that e-bikes became popular already in 1991 in China, when their Government made developing e-bikes an official goal. What is even more interesting, in 2013 there were more electric bikes than cars on the roads in China.
What makes e-bikes so popular?
Price - Even though e-bikes cost up to $10,000, they are seen as an investment that pays off. As gasoline prices are rising, the cost of maintaining a car is high compared to an e-bike. Plus, parking a car in the city can be burdensome. Using an electric bicycle to get from point A to B is simply a cheaper option.
Convenience - Driving around to find a parking spot or sitting in a traffic jam is generally not enjoyable, whereas rolling down (and up) the street on your cool looking e-bike definitely is. Another positive aspect of e-bikes is that you can go faster and further thanks to pedal assist without breaking a sweat, which is a huge selling point for them and makes e-bikes superior to regular bicycles.
Emissions - As the name of the bikes state - electric bikes use electric power for giving the rider a boost. This means no smoke and smells when riding it, which makes them kinder to the environment.
Smartness - As time goes by, more and more manufacturers are coming to market with smarter e-bikes. These ones have smart locking systems built in, GPS tracking, sensors for getting precise info about your rides and even turn signals to make your intentions more clear to fellow road users. All these features can make you feel more secure about your purchase. Most importantly, bike makers are getting valuable information and input about their bike usage and warranty issues.
Who is currently running and innovating the industry?
Geoby - a Chinese company that supplies generic e-bikes, which have taken over the Asian market and recently settled into American market as well.
Stromer - a Swiss company that makes robust and high quality e-bikes. Stromer bikes come with a 500W motor, connectivity that lets the owner track the bike with GPS and gets bike’s system status, and a screen in the frame to get a quick overview and lock the bike.
Flashbike - somewhat similar in looks and technological aspects to Stromer, but at a much lower price point, caught the attention of many Indiegogo supporters. The project received 700% of the initial goal.
Faraday - the Faraday team has taken a different approach by connecting the motor to the front wheel. These bikes are one of the most elegant and clean looking ones on the market.
Stigo - while not necessarily an e-bike, this small electric scooter turns heads and is innovative in the industry of foldable electric light vehicles.
This list can go on and on, but in our opinion, these six manufacturers are at the top of the industry for now.
Another company we would like highlight is CoModule. This German-Estonian startup has helped many e-bike and scooter manufacturers get their light vehicles connected and are constantly innovating the connectivity sector.
Looking at the current developments in connected light vehicles’ sector, it is safe to say that e-bikes and electric scooters are here to stay. More and more bikes are going to get “smart”, that is for sure. Us, connectivity providers, just need to make sure those bikes get connected to the internet with ease and the infrastructure behind SIM handling and controllability is fulfilling the needs of this booming segment. 1oT has a strong presence in connected light vehicles sector and is proud to offer an easy-to-deploy all-in-one solution for OEM’s, whose market is not limited by their country’s borders. If you are interested in working with us, contact us at sales[at]1oT.mobi