Electric bikes – or e-bikes – are growing in popularity. They’re becoming a more common sight on our roads and a growing number of people are cottoning onto the benefits of having a bit of help when they’re cycling.
The number of e-bikes on our roads is expected to grow substantially over the coming three years, according to predictions from Deloitte.
It is expecting 130 million e-bikes to be sold globally between 2020 and 2023, which is more than six times the number of electric vehicles expected to be purchased in the same period. That just goes to show how important e-bikes could be for helping people switch to low or zero-emission forms of transport.
What’s more, the organisation is expecting the number of people who commute to work by bike to increase by one per cent between 2020 and 2023. That may not sound like a lot, but it will add up to billions of journeys being made by bike instead of car in that period.
In the UK, where petrol and diesel prices perpetually seem to be rising, it’s easy to see why people would want to change up their morning commute to not only do their bit for the planet but also to save some money.
Paul Lee, global head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, told Business Weekly that there are a number of reasons why e-bikes are experiencing a surge in popularity.
Among them is the improved technology being used by manufacturers to boost the power of these bikes and improve the performance and life of their lithium-ion batteries.
He also predicted that the way people perceive cycling is changing and this too will lead to more people choosing two wheels over four.
“Over the next 12 months, cycling should shift from being a competitive hobby enjoyed by active individuals to a simple way for a wide range of people to get from place to place. This will play a significant role in easing congestion, while improving air quality and public health,” Mr Lee asserted.
Earlier in 2019, the Guardian suggested that e-bikes could soon be more widely used by people as an alternative to cars for commuting, thanks to some much needed clarity about the government’s Cycle to Work scheme.
Under the scheme, employees can get bikes, tax free, from their employers. It’s a salary sacrifice scheme designed to help people buy a bike. They are given year-long loan initially, which many choose to extend for a number of years until they are able to ‘buy’ the bike for a nominal sum.
The loan is capped at £1,000 and this has often been taken to mean that the value of the bike, and any accessories, needs to be within this price range. However, the minister for cycling Michael Ellis revealed that the £1,000 cap has been misunderstood.
Any bike shops or employers who are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) can include bikes worth more than £1,000 in their cycle to work schemes. This now means a greater number of people could gain access to e-bikes, which typically come in over the £1,000 cap.
The newspaper also explained why e-bikes are such a great option, especially for commuters. Aside from the fact that you’re able to avoid the traffic jams you experience in a car, e-bikes also have an advantage over traditional bikes.
E-bikes make longer commutes easier, the article explained, noting that you can pedal further in normal clothes without getting sweaty and that you’ll have a boost when you’re pedalling uphill.
For anyone who isn’t overly fit, they’re a great way to start to build up your fitness and can also be a good option for people who have physical health problems – and particularly knee issues.
The Guardian also cited a survey by Evans, which found that commuters could save an average of £7,791 over the course of five years by switching to an e-bike for their daily commute rather than driving or using public transport.
One of the barriers to e-bike use is the high cost of buying one initially, but there are alternatives to this too. We offer an electric bike subscription service, whereby you lease your e-bike for a fixed monthly fee.
That means you don’t have to find thousands upfront to buy an e-bike, or worry about the maintenance of the bicycle or the cost of replacing its battery when it comes to the end of its life. Much like if you lease a car, it also means that you can upgrade your e-bike to a newer model if you want to.