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E-Bike Opportunities

November 07, 2023

Less emissions, more happiness.

In addition to the evident environmental impact of cycling, e-bike owners are pleasantly surprised with the mental and physical benefits of this form of transportation. While numerous studies show that long-car commuters are more likely to experience poor health outcomes and wellbeing, cyclists are reported as the happiest commuters. Many view their commute as the highlight of their day, connecting to their physical environment and enjoying the endorphins of moderate exercise at the top of the morning, plus the wind-down at the end of the day. With the ability to control commute time, save money, and improve health and happiness, expect the e-biking discourse to shift from a responsible decision to a holistic additive to consumers' lives.

Enter the e-bike wardrobe.

As more consumers switch to e-bike-based commutes, an opportunity emerges for apparel and accessories specifically catered to these needs. Already on the scene, Thousand aims to create a safer cycling experience by rethinking the helmet aesthetic and design. At the same time, Tomo Clothing offers a wide range of cycling-specific products such as gloves, jackets, raincoats, and trouser cinchers. The e-bike revolution is upon us, and fashion and apparel businesses should think about how they can play in this space. We propose: bike handle-friendly gloves, functional winter coats that don’t sacrifice style, and a re-positioning of the helmet as wardrobe accessory over safety requirement.

Practical design and availability are the critical e-bike path.

Betting on the future of electric micro-mobility, Honda draws inspiration from its past in a redesign of its 1983 MotoCompo bike. Like the original, the Honda Motocompacto successor can fit in the trunk of a car and caters to getting around cityscapes and college campuses, but this time it’s electric and more comfortable to ride. Pre-loved e-bike platform Upway expanded from Europe to the U.S. in March, and has since experienced over 20% growth month-over-month. The company smartly fills a whitespace with refurbishing capabilities, as consumers can be reticent to buy secondhand, wary of the complex tech in e-bikes. Expect to see more streamlined propositions move this market forward.

City programs fuel greater e-bike adoption.

The e-bike elephant in the room is steep cost of ownership, but many cities are moving towards subsidizing. Berkeley, California is giving out free e-bikes to low-income residents, while a statewide California program allocates a $13M fund to help thousands afford new e-bikes. Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington are the newest states to offer rebates and tax credit incentives for e-bikes. More public funding and affordable options are needed to peddle this movement forward, creating opportunity for those entering the market at lower price points.

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