“One bike in two will be an eBike in ten years’ time”

Claus Fleischer forecasts rapid growth

  • Sales: 50 per cent eBikes in core markets ten years from now
  • Nearly every kind of bicycle will be available “electrified”
  • Challenges and solutions for safe and connected eBiking

“The eBike market is developing fast and furiously. We consider it to be realistic that in ten years’ time one bicycle in two newly sold in European core markets will be an eBike,” forecasts Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems. At present, nearly five per cent of the around 73 million bicycles in Germany are eBikes, but their share is rising steadily. Market analysis by Bosch eBike Systems outlines the status quo of this modern means of getting around and takes a look at the future.

The eBike market: an overview

For 2017 the German Bicycle Industry Association (ZIV) forecasts national sales totalling 680,000 eBikes. That is a year-on-year increase of about 12 per cent. eBike sales across Europe totalled 1,667,000 in 2016, according to the industry association CONEBI. That was an increase of more than 22 per cent on 2015.

A representative study of the eBike market by Bosch, with 5,421 respondents in six European countries in June and July 2017, revealed that 10 per cent of the participants already own a pedelec and 16 per cent are looking into buying one in the year ahead. Their focus is on eCity bikes (29 per cent), followed by eTrekking bikes (11 per cent), eUrban bikes (9 per cent) and eMountain bikes (8 per cent). 35 per cent of those interested said they had yet to decide on the kind of bike they had in mind.

When it comes to buying an eBike the cycle dealer is the first port of call for 74 per cent. One in four is considering buying online and 22 per cent are looking to buy from a sports retailer.

Versatility is the eBike’s major advantage

The range of eBikes on the market remains wide and varied. A 2016 survey by the online platform identified 2,556 different eBike models made by 80 manufacturers, with eCity and eTrekking bikes continuing to account for the lion’s share.

eBikes benefit from their versatility. For every other prospective eBiker who was interviewed for the Bosch study, using a pedelec as a means of getting around in their leisure time was a key factor, with excursions and cycle tours (40 per cent) next on the list. The opportunity to keep fit and healthy (38 per cent) came third.

Design integration becomes standard

eBikes are a part of lifestyle. They express an attitude and make a statement. Function and design are expected to harmonise. Design integration plays an increasingly important role. Models now exist that are hard to distinguish optically from a conventional bike and this trend is evident across all model groups. “In the future integrated concepts will be the benchmark. With the integrable battery Bosch combines practical benefit and high-quality bike design,” Fleischer says.

The eBike as an urban companion

In Germany about 20 million people commute by bicycle. Every second German commuter travels less than ten kilometres to work. Over distances of this kind the pedelec is the fastest means of urban transport. More than half of the Germans already appreciate the benefits and see “bikes with an electric tail wind” as a good alternative to the automobile. The findings of the Bosch eBike market study reinforce this approach. One prospective eBiker in three feels it is important to commute by eBike.

Battery-powered cargo bikes are gaining ground in the commercial and private transport sector. They enable deliveries to be made by means of eco-friendly, space-saving concepts.

Politics promotes cycling, partly by increasing its federal budget funding to EUR 200 million a year with a view to increasing cycling’s share of transport from 12 to 15 per cent by 2020.

Sporty eBikes in the overtaking lane

eMountain bikes are the fastest-growing eBike market segment. In 2016 the share of eMTBs in eBike sales was around 15 per cent. These sporting eBikes contribute toward making the target groups even younger. “Already every third system we sell is a powerful Performance Line CX. Its drive is specially conceived for sporting use. We are convinced that eMountain bikes are the shape of things to come. In the long term eMTBs will outperform conventional mountain bikes in the sales stakes,” Fleischer says.

Greater safety in urban traffic

The benefits of eBike use are plain to see, so what is stopping people from cycling?

Nearly half of the respondents to a study commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) said they did not feel safe when cycling in road traffic. To improve road safety for the eBiker and his environment Bosch has developed an anti-lock braking system (ABS) for eBikes. The eBike ABS can prevent locking of the front wheel and limit lift-off of the rear wheel. In this way the braking distance can be shortened and the risk of overturning and a fall reduced. According to a current BMVI-funded study by Kaiserslautern University of Technology one in two respondents see ABS as a good idea for pedelecs. So ABS heads the wish list of driver assistance systems for pedelecs.

In addition to high-quality products other factors are key to increasing the feeling of safety. “Reliable technology, adequate infrastructure and responsible behaviour by all road users are the triad for safe mobility in the future,” Fleischer says.

Policy demands underscore this. According to a BMVI study the interviewees want more cycle lanes and tracks (63 per cent), secure cycle parking facilities (55 per cent) and separation of cyclists from pedestrians (55 per cent).

The connected bike is increasingly becoming a reality

The connected eBiker has a crucial role to play in tomorrow’s mobility. Bosch has set standards with the all-in-one Nyon on-board computer, connecting the offline and the online world smartly. The takeover of the start-up COBI provides Bosch eBike Systems with an opportunity to extend its product portfolio meaningfully. COBI’s smartphone-based solutions for controlling bicycles and eBikes are seen as an optimal add-on to fulfil customers’ wishes in the best possible way.

The forecasts for digitisation in the mobility sector are highly promising. Between 2017 and 2022 the global market for connected mobility is expected to grow by about 25 per cent per year.

Contact for press enquiries:

Robert Bosch GmbH

Dennis Christmann

Manager Public Relations Bosch eBike Systems

Tel.: +49 (0)7121 35-184 91

About Bosch eBike Systems

A new generation of bikes is taking town and country by storm and is already a part of everyday life. eBikes are a modern means of transport for modern people: people in a hurry and people who prefer to take it easy, the fit and the comfort lovers, commuters and pleasure cyclists and, of course, young and old. The tailwind of technology-leading eBikes made by what are already more than 70 leading brands in Europe is powered by components that Bosch is developing to perfection. The Bosch portfolio ranges from the highly efficient drive unit (motor and gearbox) and high-quality batteries to a smart on-board and cycle computer that can be used intuitively. Perfect coordination of components holds the key to typical Bosch performance in terms of both comfort and efficiency.
Like other Bosch products, the eBike systems benefit from the Bosch Group’s technology and production know-how. From conception and engineering to manufacturing, marketing and after-sales service, Bosch eBike Systems constantly set new standards for the eBike industry. The Bosch Group’s experience in the areas of electric motors, sensor technology, displays and lithium-ion batteries ensures that Bosch eBike systems use technology that is invented for life and that eBike users have their fun.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 402,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2017). The company generated sales of 78.1 billion euros in 2017. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology.

As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 64,500 associates in research and development.

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