2018 saw an unprecedented upsurge in electric bikes (e-bikes) sales throughout Europe, including the Isle of Man, according to Mark Horsthuis, Founder of local cycling hub, Cycle 360.
The news comes from studying the latest market data on e-bikes, which points to Europe’s biggest market, Germany, reporting an increase in sales of e-bikes of a staggering 36%. Now, one in every four bikes sold in Germany is an electric bike with the German Industry Association (ZIV) predicting soon it will be one in every three bikes.
Mark Horsthuis, Cycle 360 commented: ‘Export volumes in Germany increased by 51% last year with ZIV alone, attributing to the innovative character of German e-bikes with their fully integrated batteries, appealing designs and the use of high-quality materials’
‘It is not surprising that exports of German electric bikes are so strong as we sell electric bikes by Cube – the biggest bike manufacturer in Germany – and after personally visiting the factory there, I was impressed by the quality of the manufacturing process and the quality of engineering, as well as the technical research that goes into the new materials for e-bikes.’
‘Electric bikes sales have also rapidly increased in other European countries, and the Isle of Man with only the UK lagging behind slightly with a less than 1.8% increase in e-bike imports between 2017 and 2018.
‘With our strong cycling and health culture, the Isle of Man is well ahead of the UK with regards to electric bikes – at Cycle 360, every other bike sale is an e-bike as our hilly Island makes electric bikes particularly attractive.’
Interestingly, Shimano STEPS conducted a recent European e-bike study looking at people’s willingness to commute to work by e-bike interviewing over 12,000 people across ten markets. The research found that 24% of European commuters would consider switching to an e-bike.
The main reasons for considering commuting by e-bike were to, keep fit (34%), to protect the environment (30%), and to save money (30%). However, people were also put off by the idea of commuting by e-bike because of bad weather (37%), the cost of an e-bike (34%) and arriving to work sweaty (25%).
Quite noteworthy is that the UK population are the least likely to choose an e-bike to commute to work, with only 11% willing to consider making the switch. The possibility of bad weather (43%) and arriving to work sweaty (35%) were the main reasons for the UK public to resist the switch.
Mark said: ‘We know that there is already a strong cycling culture in specific countries, where those who’ve made the switch to an e-bike have found that bad weather is rarely a problem and sweat is a thing of the past when you let the electric assistance take the strain!
‘It’s really encouraging to see that across all markets, people are willing to switch to an e-bike to keep fit and protect the environment.’
‘On the Isle of Man, we have yet to see a major shift to commuting to work by electric bike but it is coming with the excellent initiative by Isle of Man Government with Active Travel, which will create clear cycle routes to work.
‘The Cycle-to-Work Scheme is also encouraging as many employees consider cycling for the first time, and for many, cycling by electric bike will be quicker, less expensive and certainly healthier.
Photo caption: A partnership between Zurich International and local cycling hub, Cycle 360 saw ten branded electric bikes (e-bikes) delivered to Zurich House in May 2018. Pictured left to right, (above) Mark Horsthuis and Zurich International employee, (below) Mark Horsthuis and Peter Huber, CEO Zurich International.