Electric bikes were first created in 1881 by Frenchman Gustav Trouvé, it was actually a tricycle with only a few watts of electricity, so it wasn’t quite the electric boost we have today.
However it was the world’s first electric vehicle. In 1887, the electric bike trend moved over to the British bike brand Humber who released an electric tandem bike.
Moving onto 1895 the US Patent Office issued Ogden Bolton Jr a patent for his electric bike which had a hub motor in the rear wheel but no gears.
The electric bike trend quickly expanded across the world and in 1975, Japanese technology brought us the Panasonic e-bike, which used 24V lead-acid car batteries.
In 2016, statistics show that over 34 million electric bikes were sold globally – with 32.8 million of these being the Asia-Pacific region. 1.6 million units were sold in Western Europe, 0.15 million across Northern America, 0.09 million units in Latin America, 0.07 million in the Middle East and Africa, with the smallest chunk being sold in Eastern Europe with 0.04 million units
Since 2000, China has been the largest market for electric bikes and this is consistently growing year on year. In 2015 China itself sold 14.35 million electric bikes, it is classed as the most important market for electric bikes worldwide. They are often used as an alternative to scooters and mopeds.
China may be the leading force at the moment; however, Europe is rapidly emerging in the ebike market. In Germany, they’re used by postal employees and over 6,000 ebikes are used in the service, so they certainly aren’t just used for leisure purposes.
Statista.com predicts that in 2023, global sales of electric bikes are to reach approximately 40 million units.
With China selling 34.3 million units out of the 40 million, they’re expected to remain the most important market for ebikes worldwide. The remaining 6 million are expected across the rest of the world, with the majority being in Europe and a growing market in America.
In the UK, laws for electric bikes are relatively simple. Electric bikes in the UK must follow EAPC (electrically assisted pedal cycles) requirements to be classed as a regular push bike.
This means you’re able to treat it just like a regular bicycle, meaning you can ride it on cycle paths, roads and other places regular bikes are allowed. You don’t need a licence for an electric bike, nor do you need to register, tax or insure your ebike.
However, you must be 14 years old to ride an electric bike.
Laws are varied around the world, dependent on the wattage of the bike and speeds. So if you choose to ride an electric bike in another country, it’s important to check the laws before doing so. For example in Hong Kong, electric bikes are not allowed in any public area.
China is in the lead for electric bikes and it’s likely to stay that way for years to come. It is important to note though that Europe is quickly picking up electric bike sales.
All the statistics and information for this article have been found on statista.com.
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.
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