NPR says Electric Bicycles on the Rise in Europe, US
We enjoyed reading this week’s All Things Considered, in which NPR reporter Susanna Capelouto interviews Atlanta e-bike commuter Joel Bowman. A central theme of the story is the trajectory of e-bikes in Europe, which originally entered the market primarily among older riders, before being embraced by a much wider and younger audience. E-bikes have in fact become so successful in Europe, that Holland is now considering widening its already ample bike lanes to accommodate the surge of cyclists that e-bikes have added to the roads.
It’s a common question – when will the popularity of e-bikes take off here in the US? And if it does, who will be the early adopters, what trajectory will the market take, etc. An assumption from the article is that like Europe, older riders (like 66 year old Joel) will be the first to embrace this new form of transportation. This may be true, but just listen to Joel’s description of why he is wildly in love with his e-bike to understand why the appeal of electric bicycles transcends age:
“The real contrast is the old [non-electric] bike, somethings I got a little, ‘Arghh, I gotta bike home, I’m tired,’ ” he says. “This, I just look forward to being on because it is pure fun.”
Whether 66 or 36, who hasn’t, at the end of a long day or work, resented the prospect of riding home after a long day at the office? Commuting by bicycle is a wonderful experience, a welcome opportunity to stretch the legs, lungs, and mind before or after a long day of work, and for many of us, the highlight of our work day (how many people can say that about our commute??). That said, we can all relate to the feeling of begrudging our bicycle after an especially long day – or worse yet, being tempted to choose the car over the bike at the start of our daily commute. Joel’s comment says it best – a great electric bicycle elevates the experience of cycling, and if you’re a commuter, helps ensure that that daily ride to and from work is always a highlight of your day that you’ll simply look forward to.
Susanna cites the statistic that only 1% of Americans (about 3 million people) regularly bike to work as an example that the market for electric bicycles in the US is limited. Certainly, even another 0.5% of Americans would be a welcome addition – but at the same time, there is a lot of potential in those numbers. That’s because only 150,000 electric bicycles were sold in the US last year. Or in other words, less than 5% of those 3 million American bicycle commuters are riding e-bikes. I can attest from personal experience that the vast majority of the remaining 95% have never even ridden, much less considered, an ebike. And that right there is an incredible opportunity; to show the population who has the most to gain from an electric bicycle – those 2,850,000 American bike commuters – what they’re missing. (Not to mention the other 99% of Americans who don’t yet bike to work!)
So with that said, if you live in the bay area, sign up for our brand new demo program and try a Faraday on your commute to work. If you’re outside the bay, get in touch to find out about test ride opportunities near you, or pre-order your Faraday Porteur. Our next limited edition batch of bicycles ships in March, and with free shipping and our 30-day return policy you can be sure that you’ll have the opportunity to fall in love with your Faraday before you commit to becoming a lifetime owner. Get on board and join Joel … and Mike, Stuart, Amo, Tiffany, Matt, Jean, Echo, Chris, and the many, many others in the Faraday family who are happy e-bike converts. We know you won’t look back.