Fact: Electronic bicycles are pedaling towards wider consumer adoption in the United States, thanks to shifting mindsets on the environment, health, wellness and ideal work commute — plus a little daily thrill-seeking.
Fiction: E-bicycles are loud, expensive, hard to maintain and convenient only for those in high-density urban areas — or for those too lazy to use a regular bike.
Don't just take our word for it, though. Explore these electric bike statistics to see how 2020 will be an inflection point in the burgeoning U.S. e-bike marketplace. In this guide, you'll discover the latest data on:
- E-bike usage rates and adoption variables
- Rider demographics
- Key geographic e-bike markets
- The environmental impact of e-biking
- Costs of e-bike ownership compared to cars, motorcycles and other modes of transportation
- And much more, revealing key information and statistics on electric bike popularity and the benefits an e-bike can bring to your lifestyle.
E-Bike Market and Sales Growth
E-bikes, or electric-assisted bicycles, are the next-generation of bicycling with numerous benefits for riders, wallets, cities, the economy and the environment. Intuitively designed with a built-in battery-powered motor attached to every model, e-bikes assist riders through enhanced, semi-motorized pedaling as well as the option for traditional manual biking. Some e-bikes even offer throttle-only power, in which the rider doesn't have to pedal the bike at all.
Assisted electric biking is not exactly new. In fact, the first e-bike designs were patented in 1895. Advancements in battery types, efficiencies, charge cycles, capacities, transmissions and more in the past decade has revolutionized both the quality and convenience of e-bicycles, though — with U.S. consumers finally taking note.
1. E-Bike Sales Growth Statistics
E-bicycle sales data reveals the steady growth in demand for pedal-assist bicycles worldwide, with some of the largest increases occurring in North America between 2010 and 2020:
- 2010-2013: E-bike sales at the onset of the decade saw modest but steady growth. The Electric Bikes Worldwide Report (EWBR) cited an 80% sales jump in e-bikes between 2012 and 2013 alone, with 2013's inflection point of 185,000 electronic bikes sold in the United States. Sales strength was highest in urban areas, fueled in large part by the post-2008 economic recession and consumers looking for more cost-effective transportation and lifestyle choices.
- 2016-2019: The latter half of the 2010s reinvigorated the consumer electric bike market. Between 2016 and 2017, electronic bicycle sales in North America rebounded and then reached new records, catalyzing in 263,000 e-bikes sold in 2017. In 2018, those figures climbed yet again, with Deloitte reporting over 400,000 e-bikes sold and even wider consumer awareness behind this alternative form of transportation.
- 2020-2023: As a result of recent advancements in lithium-ion battery technology, over 130 million e-bikes are expected to be sold between 2020 and 2023. Because lithium-ion batteries are more affordable and powerful than their lead-acid counterparts, they're making e-bikes more affordable and attractive to consumers. Some experts predict that e-bikes featuring lithium-ion batteries will account for about 60% of all e-bikes sold in 2023.
2. Average Price of E-Bikes Over Time
Technological developments in lithium-ion batteries, bicycle frame molding and material sourcing has lowered the cost of an e-bike in America. Today, you can find reliable and high-quality e-bikes for as little as $1,500 — largely due to battery production costs dropping over 87% in the past ten years. If you're looking for an e-bike with a larger battery, larger motor and higher quality features, you can find one for around $2,500-$3,000.
3. E-Bike Market Projections
Worldwide, over 300 million pedal-assist bikes will exist on roads and sidewalks by 2023 — a jump of over 50% from 2019. By 2025, e-bicycles are expected to blossom into an over $23 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone, translating into a compound annual growth rate of 4% to 5% in less than five years and setting a positive trajectory for consumers and producers alike.
How Are E-Bikes Used?
From exercise enthusiasts to the eco-minded suburbanite, data has a lot to say on the most common uses for e-bicycles, plus the benefits of using electronic bikes for these activities.
The average commuter today will spend about 26 minutes each way getting to and from work. In some parts of the U.S., that figure is even more dismal, with workers in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Atlanta facing over 32-minute commutes each way.
With these statistics in mind, it's no wonder one of the most-cited reasons for picking up e-biking is for improved work commutes. E-bikes allow for shortcuts around sidewalks, parking lots, alleyways, trails, parks and other landmarks that cars and public transportation alike can't traverse. Bikes are also less inhibited by traffic lights and controls, especially when commuting on dedicated trails. What's more, given its pedal-assist nature, e-bikers don't arrive at work drenched in sweat after climbing hills or battling headwinds, even though in some cases, you're getting to work faster.
2. Moderate Exercise
An e-bike's electronic motor helps propel the bicycle forward, easing the strain of continuous pedaling for the rider. However, e-bicycles can still be used in the traditional manner when the motor is turned off, allowing for a flexible workout fitting the rider's health goals and schedule.
In fact, most e-bike motors reduce the required pedaling effort and double or even triple a bike's propulsion power. This combination promotes a steady rather than rapid heart-rate elevation, making e-bicycles a great form of exercise for individuals across ages and health situations, including senior citizens.
In a national study, about 10% of e-bikers cite health as their top reason for choosing this form of transportation. Additional research shows, the physical activity gained is the same for both traditional and electronic bike rides, given the longer-average bike rides performed with e-bikes.
3. Short and Mid-Distance Travel
Electric bike riders tend to cycle across longer distances than their traditional cycling peers. With today's more efficient lithium-ion battery motors, e-bikes can also travel at comparable speeds to city street traffic. According to research from the most recent North American Survey of Electric Bicycle Owners, e-bikes are optimal for traveling because they:
- Ease biking on hilly city, suburban or urban streets and trails.
- Allow riders to forgo paying for or worrying about parking.
- More readily transport cargo, with riders citing they carry 30 to 40 pounds on their e-bikes comfortably.
- Can travel longer distances than a traditional pedal bike, with the average e-bike ride lasting anywhere from 20 to 40 miles per charge cycle and e-bike type.
This all ensures e-bikers don't have to sacrifice time in their days for health or the environment and can use their bikes for short and mid-distance commutes, running errands, visiting friends and family, dining out or any other everyday utilitarian use.
4. Tax Subsidies
Riding a bike to work can also earn you a tax-free subsidy under The Federal Bike Commuter Benefits program, providing yet another reason people are turning to e-bikes as a preferred form of daily local transportation.
Where Are E-Bikes Most Popular?
Globally, the most popular countries for e-biking are China, Germany, Spain and Denmark, respectively. Some corresponding stats are as follows:
- An estimated 85% of all e-bicycles are sold in China.
- China reportedly has more e-bikes than cars on the road.
- Sales of e-bikes in the European Union have grown on a year-by-year basis since 2006, at rates between 19 and 76% annually.
In the United States, the electric bike market is strongest in these states and cities according to rankings from the League of American Bicyclists:
- Washington State, particularly the Seattle area.
- Oregon, specifically cities like Portland and Eugene.
- Minnesota, namely the St. Paul-Minneapolis metropolitan area.
- California, in cities like San Francisco and its neighboring Silicon Valley.
- Massachusetts, in Boston and across smaller coastal towns.
- Delaware, particularly its major urban areas of Dover and Wilmington.
- Colorado, especially Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins.
The League of American Bicyclists uses the following criteria to determine the most e-bike friendly cities and states:
- Bicycle-friendly infrastructure and funding, namely dedicated, safe bike lanes on roads as well as well-maintained, abundant bike trails.
- Relative urban density making e-biking a suitable form of transportation.
- Pre-existing bike-sharing programs growing biking's public awareness, as represented in programs like Chicago's Divvy, New York’s Citibike and Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare.
- Public-education programs encouraging the adoption of traditional and electric biking.
- Pro-biking legislation and enforcement of biking laws, particularly those protecting the rights and safety of bikers and bike-dedicated spaces.
- Total number of bicycle-friendly actions undertaken by local and state governments.
The Rise in Popularity of E-Bikes
An improved commute remains the top reason people hit the pavement on their electronic bike, fueling e-bike sales and underscoring a year-by-year jump in consumer e-biking awareness.
But what's really behind the fastest-growing biking segment in the U.S.? Electric bikes are becoming more popular largely because of the following factors:
1. Environmental Consciousness
The electric bike's popularity rides the waves of America's growing concern over climate change.
In urban centers particularly, carbon emissions from cars, trucks and even public transportation are linked to half a dozen environmental implications, which, in turn, negatively affect consumer health and wellness:
- Decreased air quality leads to aggravated breathing and skin conditions, respiratory damage, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
- More greenhouse gases increase average temperatures, change seasonal climate conditions and further aggravate air and water pollution.
- For every gallon of gas burned, trucks and cars produce nearly 24 pounds of CO2, plus other detrimental gases and fumes.
From a commuter's perspective, e-bikes are a triple threat: they provide reduced traffic and a healthier and greener alternative to traditional modes of transportation that collectively fuels over 30% of the U.S.' total global warming emissions (the country's single-largest contributor). Using an electric bicycle is one of the best options for concerned consumers working on cutting their carbon footprint.
2. Corresponding Legislation
Nine countries worldwide have set sales deadlines for petrol and diesel-based cars. Many of these deadlines are approaching faster than the average consumer may even realize. For example, by 2025, the Netherlands will only permit the sale of electric vehicles. India and Norway aren't far behind, with their bans coming in 2030.
The United States still lags behind many of its global counterparts regarding federal environmental regulations and the transportation industry. However, pro-electronic biking legislation at the state level has better positioned the electric bike market's success, incentivizing state citizens to go green, such as:
- Protections around e-bikers in Colorado, Oregon, Utah and more.
- Laws preserving the owning and riding of e-bikes without special licenses or proof of insurance.
- Sensible regulations around e-bike safety and ridership, including bike lights and helmets.
- Up-to-date speed limits or outputs for legal e-bike riding.
Health Benefits of Using an E-Bicycle
On average, cyclists actually spend more time and travel farther on e-bicycles, compared to traditional pedal bikes. The compound effects of these longer biking times and distances directly correlate with several positive health outcomes for e-bike riders, as shown by one of the largest biking studies ever performed tracking 10,000+ adults across seven countries.
Consider these top health benefits and e-bike health statistics:
1. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in America regardless of sex, race or ethnicity. What's more, it shows little signs of slowing down. From high blood pressure and cholesterol to coronary artery disease, rates continue to climb nationwide, with current projections estimating one out of every three Americans will die due to cardiovascular causes.
Luckily, e-biking and positive cardiovascular health are intertwined due to its innate aerobic benefits. Research shows moderate e-bike usage can produce the same heart-healthy effects as traditional manual biking:
- VO2 efficiency: E-bike riders' VO2 levels — or the amount of oxygen transported and used in the bloodstream during physical activity — is equal to those of regular cyclists.
- Lowered blood pressure: E-bike riders also lowered their blood pressure levels across the massive four-week study, sometimes even more so than their traditionally biking counterparts.
- Overall improved heart function: E-bikers' heart vitals held no statistical differences from those riding a normal bike, leading researchers to conclude e-biking as a beneficial form of exercise.
2. Combats Obesity
The average cyclist's body mass index (BMI), or calculated body fat composition compared to height and weight, is 23.8%. Comparatively, e-bike owners have been shown to hold an average BMI of 24.8%, only a single percentage point higher.
Both these BMI rankings fall well within the recommendations for most healthy American adults. However, considering studies have found the average e-bike rider tends to be older (48.1 years old versus 41.4 for traditional cyclists), these BMI findings are particularly positive, supporting the weight management and fat metabolism benefits of electric biking.
3. Reduces Stress
Electric bicycling has also been shown to improve riders' mental and emotional health. What's more, these benefits are noted even in minimal e-bike usage, with ridership as low as once a week. Even short electric rides have been shown to:
- Boost rider self-esteem.
- Improve stress tolerance.
- Sharpen mental acuity.
- Minimize feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
- Raise overall levels of self-reported happiness and life satisfaction.
4. Increases Mobility
Over 28% of e-bike owners — one out of every four — reports physical impairments preventing them from riding a standard pedal bike. These impairments include both physical and dexterity ailments, including:
- Knee and back pain
- Miscellaneous musculoskeletal issues
- Nervous-system damage, impairments
- Partial hearing or eyesight loss
These mobility-related impairments are particularly challenging — and widespread — amongst the elderly. Each renders a traditional bike unusable yet statistically contributes to the high rates of e-bike ownership among senior citizens, who are the second-largest demographic to own an electric bike.
Environmental Impact of E-Bikes
The environmental e-bike statistics are clear. E-biking remains one of the greenest and most cost-efficient modes of transportation available to the modern consumer, blowing other forms of transport like cars and trucks out of the running.
1. Riding an E-Bike Cuts Down on CO2 Emissions
Electric bikes carry a minimal carbon footprint — roughly 21 to 22 grams of CO2 per kilometer traveled — compared to other modes of modern transportation like cars, trucks and even motorcycles. For reference:
- A traditional pedal bike nets only one gram less of CO2 emissions, or 21 grams total per kilometer, according to the European Cyclist Federation.
- Public transportation buses produce around 101 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
- Passenger cars produce over 271 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
These figures make e-biking a serious strategy for reducing your overall carbon footprint. Even more persuasively, studies from the European Cycling Federation and other industry researchers have factored in an e-bike's indirect contributions to greenhouse gases, such as the environmental friendliness of its materials (e.g., rubber tires; aluminum framing) to the diet of the rider (i.e., extra calories consumed due to increased exercise). Even with these additional considerations, e-biking creates a near-negligent total carbon footprint.
2. E-Bikes Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependency
At a time when fossil fuels still generate 64% of the U.S.' electricity, even small reductions make a substantial step towards more sustainable energy models.
By supporting e-bike infrastructure and social measures, the U.S. can decrease its dependency of fossil fuels and contribute to the social, economic and environmental goals set by U.S. Department of Energy itself for 2025, including:
- Save American consumers over $1.7 trillion in total fuel costs.
- Reduce imports of price-fluctuating foreign fossil fuels, halving current imports from OPEC countries.
- Lower our participation in the price-shock controls exerted by players in the modern fossil-fuel marketplace.
3. E-Bikes Reduce Air Pollutants
A four-mile e-biking trip keeps up to 15 pounds of pollutants from entering the air. Improved air quality leads to many positive health outcomes for people and the planet, including:
- Decreased complications from asthma, allergies and other respiratory irritants.
- Improved mental functions, memory and focus.
- Improved sleep.
- Stronger immune systems.
- And many other holistic wellness markers.
Cutting Costs With E-Bikes
How much can even modest e-bike riding save your wallet? The latest industry data reveals the true dollar-per-dollar, year-per-yer cost of ownership between cars and e-bikes.
1. Annual Costs of Driving Your Car
Today's four-door passenger car has an average ownership cost of $9,761 per year. That sum can be broken down into these primary yearly car expenditures:
- Car payment average: $3,975 per year.
- Gas and oil: $2,109 per year.
- Vehicle-related costs: $3,677 per year.
2. Annual Costs of Riding an E-Bike
E-bicycle ownership costs a fraction of what a passenger car does — in some cases as low as a few hundred dollars a year after the initial bike purchase.
Use these common expenditures to determine the basis of you e-bike cost of ownership, particularly compared to owning a car, truck or motorcycle:
- Electric battery charging: $.04 to $.06 per charge cycle (400-500 watt-hours). Rates vary depending on your municipality's electricity costs per kilowatt and are based on the 2019 national average of $.12 per kilowatt.
- Annual maintenance check-up: Every six months or every 500 miles, whichever occurs first.
- Battery maintenance and disposal: Electric bicycle batteries and packs should last a few years and should not need annual replacement. Batteries should also be disposed of properly at certified locations or retailers collecting used electronics.
- Miscellaneous expenses: Replacing e-bike parts and components like brake pads and worn tires, as well as optional biking insurance.
Make a Lasting Change Today
Explore one of the nation's largest and most advanced e-bicycle assortments online. Juiced Bikes has been a top-rated, premier brand in the e-bike market for much of the last decade. We're ready to show you how much you can gain with an electric bike in 2020 — and for years to come.