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- Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dutch have a robust cycling culture

Wikipedia explains that an electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, is a bicycle with an electric motor used to power the vehicle. Electric bicycles typically cost between US$500 and US$3,000, use rechargeable batteries and can travel up to 15 to 20 miles per hour (24 to 32 km/h). Depending on the laws of the country in which they are sold, in some markets they are rapidly replacing traditional bikes and motorcycles.

Electric bicycle usage worldwide has experienced rapid growth since 1998. It is estimated that there were roughly 120 million e-bikes in China as of early 2010, and sales are expanding rapidly in India,the United States of America, the Netherlands [1] and Switzerland.[3] A total of 700,000 electric bicycles were sold in Europe in 2010, up from 200,000 in 2007 and 500,000 units in 2009.

Electric bicycle sales are on the rise worldwide, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the Netherlands, where revenue from e-bike sales recently surpassed revenue from city bike sales.

The Netherlands was the first nation to enact an official national bicycle policy, and the country has thousands of miles of bicycle paths and lanes. Bicycle parking is plentiful and new developments are designed with cyclists in mind. It’s no surprise that the Dutch have a robust cycling culture and that industry innovations are embraced quickly.

A case in point is the electric bicycle market, which has exploded in popularity in the Netherlands. While city bike sales volume maintains a margin over e-bike sales volume every year, in 2009 the Dutch spent more money on e-bikes than on any other category of bicycle. Because the prices of e-bikes are significantly higher than the prices of the average city bikes, this doesn’t mean more e-bikes were sold; it means that Dutch riders interested in spending more money on bikes are gravitating toward e-bikes and away from city bikes.

Today, city bikes account for a little less than 50% of all new bikes sold in the Netherlands, while e-bikes account for around 15%. The gap is rapidly shrinking. Total Dutch bike sales in 2011 are forecast to top 2010 sales, reversing the downward trend that started in 2008. Fueled by sales of quality e-bikes, significant growth is expected in bicycles costing $1,200 or more.

See our article on the Best Electric Bikes Of 2011.

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