E-bike consumption is now a global hit – why not in China

E-bike is a global hit - why not in China
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    The e-bike has caught fire in Europe and America.

    According to specialized statistics, from 2017 to 2021, E-bike sales in the European and North American markets increased from 2.5 million to 6.4 million units, a 156% increase in four years.

    Many well-known companies have entered the fray. International auto majors such as Tesla, Porsche and BMW have all made moves on the E-bike.

    Chinese brands such as Yadi, Nine, and JETCO have launched corresponding products. Tencent and Xiaomi are also said to be actively expanding.

    E-bike players are also starting to make their presence felt in many first-tier city parks in China. There is also more and more e-bike related content on some social media.

    But compared to foreign fires, e-bikes are still new to most Chinese consumers.

    Will the trend of e-bike riding hit China in 2023, and 2023 will be the first year of e-bike popularity in China?

    China’s e-bikes are mainly for export

    China’s e-bikes are mainly for export

    The concept of e-bikes

    E-bike, also known as electric bike, electric power bike, electric bicycle, on the basis of the traditional bicycle to increase the “three electric”, battery, motor and electric control system.

    E-bikes, both sports and entertainment, “make riding more energy-efficient.” 

    This is the fundamental difference between the e-bike and the Chinese “electric motorcycle” – it cannot be driven purely by electricity without human power.

    The concept of e-bikes

    E-bike at the European Motor Show

    In recent years, Chinese manufacturers have launched e-bikes, but mostly targeting the international market.

    2022 Technology company Nine presented the E-bike A200 and E-bike A200P at the European Micro Mobility Show, and in April of the same year Yadi launched the UFO series in China, and in July launched the E-bike at the European Motor Show.

    In April of the same year, Yadi launched the UFO series in China and the new E-bike at the European Motor Show in July.

    In addition, there are many emerging brands entering the market. 2021 Tenways (Tenfold Technology), which was just established, received investment from Tencent, High Tide and other major capitals once it was launched.

    It is rumored that it will soon set up sales headquarters in the Netherlands in Europe and set up more than 200 physical stores.

    Big Fish Smart went overseas in 2017 and became the first Chinese e-bike brand to obtain UL2849 certification (the national standard for e-bike related products in the United States) and the first to enter Costco in the United States.

    It exported 500,000 units in 2022, reaching a market share of more than 40% in the United States.

    In fact, with its complete bicycle industry chain, China has become the world’s largest e-bike manufacturing base.

    E-bike at the European Motor Show

    Data from CONEBI show that global e-bikes consumption will total about 7 million units in 2020, of which China will produce about 2 million units.

    “Last year (2021) 7.5 million E-bikes worldwide, China accounted for 3 million to 3.3 million units.” Ma Yuchi, co-founder and CEO of Big Fish Smart, said in the media.

    However, not many people ride e-bikes in China, and compared to Europe and the United States, e-bike penetration in the domestic market is extremely low.

    In 2020, for example, according to professional data, China’s e-bike sales in that year were 140,000 units and bicycle sales were 13.73 million units, with a penetration rate of 1%.

    By comparison, in 2020, Europe’s e-bike sales were 4.5 million units and total bicycle sales were 22 million units, with a penetration rate of 20%;

    Japan’s e-bike sales were 740,000 units and total bicycle sales were 1.63 million units, with a penetration rate of 45%. In 2020, the e-bike penetration in the U.S. is also low, at 2%, but has begun to grow explosively.

    Data from the U.S. Light Electric Vehicle Association, on the other hand, shows that more than 790,000 e-bikes will be imported into the U.S. in 2021, a 70.6% year-over-year increase from the 463,000 units in 2020.

    E-bikes are flashy and unrealistic currently in China

    The reasons why Chinese e-bike manufacturers pay more attention to the development of the international market can be analyzed from several aspects of policy, price, roads, and usage scenarios in comparison with the international situation.

    E-bikes are flashy and unrealistic currently in China

    At the policy level

    Europe and the United States support e-bikes and low-carbon mobility in the form of subsidies.

    On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Biden’s Rebuilding a Better Future Act, in which the government will provide subsidies of 30% of the cost of e-bikes for buyers.

    In Europe, the Netherlands introduced a “10km per day, 19€ per week transport subsidy” in 2018, which has been ongoing since then.

    2020Italy, France, Germany and other countries in Europe began to provide subsidies of about 500 euros for the purchase of e-bikes.

    By contrast, China’s support for green mobility is more in the form of encouraging public transportation and new energy vehicles.

    For example, the Urban Comprehensive Transportation System Planning Standards stipulate that the proportion of green transportation (non-private car travel, mainly subway and bus travel) in intra-city passenger transport should not be less than 75%.

    Roads differences

    Matching policy, Europe and the United States have built extensive bike lanes at the level of urban infrastructure to ease congestion.

    For example, in Boston and California, “slow streets” have emerged in many cities under the epidemic, closing some residential lanes to slow traffic such as bicycles.

    In Germany, nearly half of the 38,000 km of federal roads have been built with “bicycle lanes.”

    Roads differences

    Price

    In Europe and the United States, the mainstream price of an e-bike is about US$1200-4000, equivalent to about RMB10-30,000.

    In China, except for a small number of low-end products under 2,000 yuan, the mainstream retail price of an e-bike is basically between 3,500-8,000 yuan, which is more expensive than most “electric motorcycles.”

    Take the e-bike products of the major bicycle manufacturer Jie’ante.

    For example, the cheapest one also needs 6500 yuan. If there is a light selling point, then the price can easily break 10,000.

    Traveling scenario

    E-bikes seem to be dispensable in China. Unlike Europe, where e-bikes are used to commute to work, in China’s first and second tier cities, e-bikes have no advantage over the combination of “subway+ shared bike” for commuting to work.

    When interviewed by the media, Big Fish Smart executives said, “China has shared bikes and electric bikes.

    The market has never been enthusiastic about e-bikes, and after the new e-bike hit, sales in China gradually shrank, and export was almost the only way out for Big Fish Smart at that time.”

    And in the third and fourth tier cities, e-bikes can not only price “electric motorcycles”, and in function, it also has the advantage of transporting children.

    Traveling scenario

    Riding sports scene level

    E-bike opportunities are even greater. E-bike and cycling sport overlap in terms of consumer groups.

    According to professional data, the primary purpose of e-bike consumers in the United States is sports and fitness.

    Cycling equipment prices

    E-bike and bike expenses are also relatively close. According to professional report data, cyclists’ psychological budget for buying a car is generally concentrated in the range of $5,000 to $15,000.

    If you add cycling equipment, the budget is even higher.

    This means that cycling enthusiasts are more receptive to e-bike prices, with entry-level low-end e-bikes arriving at less than $2,000.

    The above reasons have also pushed e-bike manufacturers to target the already active international market.

    Cycling equipment prices

    With the addition of low-end products, e-bikes are not completely without opportunities in China’s travel scene. 2019 See a report on “Why are shared electric bikes “on fire” in third- and fourth-tier cities?” in 2019.

    In third- and fourth-tier cities, where the public transportation system is relatively underdeveloped, there is a certain demand for electric-assisted bikes.

    At present, Flying Pigeon and Yadi entry products can do about 2,000 yuan. In order to carry passengers, Flying Pigeon has also thoughtfully designed the back seat.

    On the other hand, several industry insiders said that the international market for low-end e-bikes has tended to be white-hot.

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