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Future of Electric Bicycles: What to Expect in the Next 5 Years?

The world of bike-riding is changing. Standard bikes are losing interest and e-bikes are taking markets by storm.

In December 2019, Deloitte predicted a rapid increase in demand for e-bikes from 2020-2023. They estimated that 130 million bikes would be sold.

And they were right.

Even before COVID-19 hit, electric bikes were in demand and have only accelerated. Consumers have and continue to use electric bikes for commuting, mountain biking, bike touring, and even hunting.

With these numbers and future technological advancements in mind, the e-bike industry will see a catapult effect. As a result, more people will be out on bikes and there will be more acceptance of bikers on trails and roads.

Here’s what to look out for in the next five years.

More Affordable Electric Bikes

Electric bikes are a lot more appealing these days. COVID’s presence around the world urged more people to consider alternative modes of transportation.

For a while now, public transportation has been limited. At the same time, some people simply want to avoid enclosed spaces. This has sparked a rise in bike commuting in U.S cities.

What does this mean for the e-bike industry? The more people buy, the lower the prices. As e-bikes increase in sales, the bikes will become affordable for consumers on a global scale.

Currently, electric bikes range from $600 to over $8,000. You can get the best gravel ebike for around $1,300, or a low end fold-up ebike for $700. But, most quality bikes will never sell for under $1,000. Mainstream bikes typically cost between $1,500 and $4,000. These high costs are mainly due to the electric motor and battery.

In the next five years, we may see these prices slowly drop.

Battery Performance Improvement

The chances of new and improved e-bike batteries in 2021 are slim.

Currently, e-bikes have the popular 18650 cells like the Panasonic 18650b crammed into battery packs for e-bike batteries. But there hasn’t been a capacity increase for years.

While we won’t see any major advancements with e-bike batteries in 2021, we can’t deny that the increase in demand for e-bikes may trigger the need to improve battery performance in the next five years.

Every e-biker knows that life expectancy is dependent on the battery. In general, batteries last between 3 to 5 years. Here are common batteries that most e-bikers use:

  • Lead Batteries: This battery is commonly used in first-generation e-bikes. It can run up to 300 cycles.
  • Nickel Batteries: This type of battery holds up to 500 cycles.
  • Lithium Batteries: Most e-bikes contain this battery. It is the preferred battery type. It can hold up to 1,000 cycles.

The demand for e-bikes could mean the demand for better batteries. We won’t see any major increases in capacity. There may be small increases in capacity due to manufacturers inserting more cells into battery packs. Despite these insignificant increases, the next five years have a lot of potentials.

Improvements in battery performance would ideally mean that bikers could cycle farther. This is an offer that most e-bikers would not pass up and should look forward to.

More Design Options for Niche Riders

In the next few years, we may see a wider variety of e-bike design options for consumers to choose from. Currently, e-bikes are broken down into two categories: mountain and road. These categories also contain different bike niches including hybrid, urban, cruiser, cargo, and folding bikes.

There are plenty of e-bikes to suit the needs of the e-biker. Need a cargo bike? Try the Tern GSD 10. It’s small, compact, transportable, and has a 400-pound load maximum.

Are you a commuter in a big city? Try the RadCity 4. It comes with a rear rack to help carry anything you need and large tyres to help you brace bumpy roads on the way to work.

Maybe you’re just looking for something more on the affordable side that is less heavy with Shimano disc brakes. The Propella 7-speed (V3.4) might be the one for you.

Every year, companies are coming out with better e-bikes for consumers. This pattern surely won’t slow down anytime soon. The future is bright for e-bikes in the next five years. Riders will see more innovative models, which means more design options to suit their specific needs.

More Maintenance Features

In the next five years, e-bike riders could see more maintenance features to keep their bikes in shape and add a smooth riding experience.

Common maintenance issues that e-bike owners deal with include the following:

  • Annual or biannual inspections
  • Battery charging
  • Tyre inflation maintenance
  • Regular brake checks
  • Regular chain cleaning, lubing, and inspecting

While there is no guarantee, the future of e-bikes could mean advancements in standard maintenance practices.

Evelo recently came out with the Gates carbon belt, a maintenance-free belt that replaces the traditional bike chain. Its features include a belt that does not require grease and doesn’t rust. Because it’s a carbon-reinforced belt, it doesn’t stretch. And it weighs less than a traditional chain.

The number one benefit of more maintenance-free features in the next five years is less time and/or money at the bike shop fixing issues. Instead, you can spend more time riding your bike.

What’s Coming for Electric Bikes in the Next 5 Years?

2021 and onwards will be an exciting time for the electric bike industry. Nothing is certain, but the path for e-bike advancements seems clear.

While we won’t see advancements in batteries this year, we could see it years down the line. Prices will slowly decrease as demand increases in the coming years. More maintenance features may be added to provide a smoother, safer, and efficient riding experience. Plus, more design options may be available to personalise e-bikes to individual needs.

If you’re interested in e-bikes, keep these future predictions in mind and check back later.

About the Author:

Graeme McLaughlin

Graeme is the Marketing Head at Evelo, a data nerd, and an E-bike enthusiast who is always excited about testing new bikes. After years of riding and coming from a career in cycle sales, he is still passionate about bicycles. Based in Vancouver, he enjoys riding everything from solo adventures in the mountains to big social night rides.