3 Reasons Why Manufacturers Want IN On An Electric Biking Boom

The VP of Bosch eBike explains how auto companies are reducing their carbon footprint in a surprising new way.

By Claudia Wasko

Bosch eBike Systems | Facebook

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While the pandemic has caused the auto industry to contract, the opposite has happened for electric bike manufacturers who have seen explosive international growth in the past year.

According to a new survey commissioned by CarShield on how different seasons play a role in commuters adapting their automobile hacks: Summer sees drivers taking extreme measures to avoid a stuffy sedan, with 46% of respondents said they would rather "shave their heads bald" than sit in a hot auto.

Though eBikes have just become a hot commodity across the nation, the boom started in Europe nearly a decade ago. Auto and motorcycle manufacturers were likely aware of the category growth before the pandemic, so why are companies like Harley-Davidson now getting in on the action?
Related: Electric Bicycle Startup Tackles Climate Change in Colombia and Mexico with an Ambitious Agenda

Mobility and environmental responsibility

According to Bike Europe, eBikes are predicted to grow from 3.7 million sold in 2019 to 17 million in 2030 in Europe, with 2020 seeing a 23% increase in sales.

Aside from obvious financial motivations for automotive brands to capitalize on the trend, the move is a smart one as social distancing has fast-tracked awareness of how eBikes enhance day-to-day life while offsetting carbon footprints. As people continue to commute less, seek COVID-safe alternatives to public transit and feel more accountable to living a sustainable lifestyle? It is clear this trend will be a favored mobility solution.

While auto manufacturers have long leaned into a narrative of adventure and freedom of exploration, eBikes bring this in spades. eBikes can accommodate a wide array of outdoor activities that also allows riders of all ages to enjoy.

Maintaining brand relevancy against city regulations

As more urban areas are banning combustion motors, car manufacturers are finding themselves in a difficult position.

Fewer combustion motor vehicles on the road, also means less brand visibility. However, personal transportation modes like eBikes and scooters are gaining more momentum as they provide a solution for the various infrastructure issues cities are facing.

By using these new mobility tools as an additional means of marketing their brand, OEMs can stay relevant in a changing landscape. They can also serve as an additional transportation solution for long distance commuters who may travel to the city skirts by vehicle but need options to go the last few miles to avoid congested public transportation. Knowing that drivers tend to be brand loyal, it's a winning proposition.
Related: Here's How Climate Change Will Affect the Global Cannabis Industry

Niche audiences

Auto and moto OEMS are actually doing a wonderful thing for the existing eBike manufacturers by helping elevate the perception that eBikes are a viable means of transportation to those who may not quite be ready to make the jump.

They have the power to reach new audiences through their extensive marketing funnels and catching the attention of those brand loyalists and general auto enthusiasts who many not even own a standard bike. For example: When a company like Harley makes an eBike, they are selling to a very segmented part of the market. Motorcyclists are already very educated riders and already know how to handle a vehicle like ours, which is not the case for most e-riders. Harley owners are also passionate fans of the brand, so their new eBike may inspire a whole new slough of enthusiasts.

While we don't know for certain what the future holds, I expect we will soon see many popular automotive and motorcycle manufacturers introduce eBikes. And with more of them on the road, cities will be encouraged to create safer biking conditions, which in turn will encourage adoption and lead to a more sustainable future. As Garrett Nelson, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research put it to CNBC: "The playing field is wide open."
Related: 5 Ways to Transform Your Business into a Sustainable One

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