6 Predictions For The E-Bike Industry in 2022
This year will be the fastest year in e-bike evolution, we will see the creation of the “E-Moto” category
- Custom Kit And Accessory Brands
With the increase in e-bike adoption for leisure purposes there has been rapid growth in sub-communities “modding” their bikes for more practical uses and to personalise them to their individual tastes. This is not new to the biking industry as a whole but it’s becoming more apparent in the marketing of the manufactures of e-bikes. Similar to the custom motorcycle industry, where some major manufactures promote customisation on their platforms to appeal to a wider range of communities. We saw Super 73 harbour a custom scene by encouraging home made add-ons, panniers, baskets and bigger headlights. These home made add-ons are now being manufactured by small businesses and sold through their own branded websites like Blaise Electric for example. As more varied e-bike options come to market we will see further demand and increase in custom accessory brands to become mainstream products.
2. Bigger Battery Packs
As e-bikes are becoming more powerful and heavier merging into the “E-Moto” space we’re going to see bigger battery packs, much bigger. Current standard batteries offered are usually 48V 14 Ah but we’re noticing consumers, especially delivery riders buying extra battery packs for longer rides. I think we’ll see 48V 20 Ah become the standard in most e-bikes this year.
Companies are moving towards 21700 lithium-ion format cells a lot more than they used to which allows them to cram in more capacity without as many cells. Batteries are also fairly cheap even with current supply chain issues that have increased the price, so it’s not a major expense for e-bike companies who are buying cells in bulk.
3. All Purpose E-Bikes
We’re going to see more “all purpose” e-bikes. Bikes that offer cargo space, passenger seats, utility attachments and off-road capabilities. 5 years ago e-bikes were a niche product bought by someone who wanted just a cargo bike or just a road bike or an electric mountain bike but now they’re becoming so common that people are using them for everything they do. This has prompted the bike manufactures to rethink their product range and merge multiple models into one. So we’re going to see a lot of these categories blend together and we’re no longer left with these very specific one-use e-bikes.
4. Big VC Investments and Funding into E-Bikes
Where there’s demand there’s money, and there’s big demand. We’re already starting to see big investment firms jump on the e-bike trend. We saw it with Australian e-bike brand Zoomo, who raised $12M to bolster it’s ‘e-bikes for business model’ announcing new customer partnerships and board appointments. Then about a year ago California based Super 73, the brand that helped popularised the retro, mini-bike style e-bike received $20M from multiple investors led by equity firm Volition Capital. Others like Vanmoof and Rad Power Bikes have also raised considerable funding for their operations. This sort of high profile interest is only going to grow more exponentially and provide “shed built” brands with serious manufacturing capabilities.
So how is this going to affect you and I? It’s hard to say but a lot of these companies are going to use these investments to build up their product line and expand their services internationally, so you’ll now be able to get your hands on that foreign e-bike more locally and more affordable.
5. Dying Out of Smaller Brands
This usually happens with any new segment where brands get left out of the funding pool and end up dying out as they can’t keep up. This year we’ve seen a lot of new import brands pop up, these “no-name” copy e-bikes that were largely imitations of these larger brands. The magic cycle for example that was basically a Himalaya, then the Cruz 79 which is undeniably a copy of the Super 73. However, it’s still so early in the development of these bikes that there’s very little patents on the designs which allows new start-ups to copy popular models and get a slice of the pie. So there’s going to be quite a few this year I think we’ll see die out that don’t quite have the staying power.
6. Improved Customer Service
This may sound like a strange prediction but customer service became a huge battleground in 2021. Not only were so many more people interested in buying e-bikes, but there were so many problems with shipping and supply chain issues that customers were getting really frustrated and angry trying to get in touch with these companies to figure out where their bikes were, when they were arriving and what was in stock etc. Because of this, a lot of e-bike companies were slipping and loosing trust with huge complaints stacked against them and consequently hurting their reputation. Furthermore the brands that have been known for good service are now standing out even more developing apps for direct chat and troubleshooting. So I think we’re definitely going to see big investments from companies in their own customer service development to improve customer experience and really set themselves apart from the rest of the e-bike industry.
Now of course there’s going to be a lot more development in other sectors in the industry but I thought i’d highlight these main points now and see how they compare in 2023. I’ll park this here..