E-bike sales broke a new record in Switzerland last year. 111’000 pieces have been sold in 2018. That’s 1/3 of all cycles sold over a year.
Yes, it’s a pretty dramatic growth rate. Nearly 30% more sales compared to the previous year, which was already very good. 50% in off-road bikes. Does this mean that Switzerland is retooling fast?
There is a share of Swiss brands
Some high-end Swiss brands are present and some models cost more than 3,000 francs. But Swiss bicycles represent barely 1/8 of sales. There is the Bern based brand Stromer, which was taken over by BMC from Solothurn. Leonardo di Caprio is said to have a Stromer bike. And BMC has around 20,000 bikes sold each year.
Or Trefecta, which is a high-end tech firm, based in Zug. The legendary Neuchâtel brand Allegro also relaunched a few years ago, now in Zurich. And the ski manufacturer Stöckli has recently announced that he will get into e-bikes. We feel that the potential is far from being exhausted. In urban models, cyclo-tourism, mountain biking, folding bicycles. And even the racing bikes.
The Swiss market is catching up with other European countries
Especially, the Netherlands. Because there, there are more bikes than residents. There are 1,3 bikes per Dutchman. And electric assistance bicycles have has just taken over in sales last year.
Electric bikes seem less useful if the terrain is flat
Yes, but an e-bike helps to make a phone call or send messages while pedaling, for example. Although that also increases the risk of accident, obviously. Last year, fatal bicycle accidents increased significantly in the country. As car accidents decreased.
And dangers of the electric scooters…
Yes, especially for pedestrians. But it does not slow down the progression of two-wheeled vehicles, bicycles or scooters. They clearly appear as the most massive phenomenon in the evolution of mobility in recent years.
Even car manufacturers are interested
Yes, and not only Peugeot, which has been producing bikes since long ago. And electric bikes today of course. In the United States, the General Motors group announced a month ago that it would develop its own brand of electric bikes.
Harley Davidson too, in motorcycles
Yes, Harley Davidson. Whose customers are aging, we keep saying it. So the Harley Davidson brand announced in recent days that it was taking over an electric bike manufacturer for … children. A way to educate future customers early on the brand.
And Harley also wants to become a pioneer of the electric bike. Because it is the motorcycle-scooter segment that is today the least developed in the electric. For battery issues especially. But that is precisely what is changing.
Electric mountain bikes take a share
Sales of electric mountain bikes doubled in 2018, without necessarily having a negative impact on traditional bike sales. “There are certainly some customers who buy an electric mountain bike model or an electric bike instead of a normal bike, but others rediscover the bike or the mountain bike thanks to this new electrical possibility”, underlines the spokesman of the network for soft mobility Suissemobile Lukas Stadtherr Tuesday in La Matinale.
Banned on some trails
The most popular electric mountain bike models are those that drive at less than 25 km / h. Faster e-bikes, which can reach 45 km / h, are considered as motorized vehicles and are therefore prohibited on some trails.
“The market and the industry have realized that fast electric bikes could pose a problem for example in terms of coexistence with hiking and other users on the trails,” says Lukas Stadtherr.
But the electric mountain bike sector is also a new tourist attraction in the region. “We now have nine terminals to recharge e-bike batteries, so one can move easily by electric bike throughout the town as well as in the mountains,” says the director of Verbier Promotion, Pierre-Andre Gremaud.
A revolution for mountain tourism?
He notes that sports shops rent and sell more and more electric bikes. “For most stores, this now represents 50% of rentals, and especially mountain electric bikes. For us, it becomes a flagship activity, we develop more and more, and we think that this new business is going, to a certain extent, revolutionize mountain tourism. ” Verbier will also be organizing the first eBike Festival next August.
Sales of electric bikes is certainly not a bad business for the region. An e-bike costs on average 3500 Swiss francs, which is nearly three times more than a traditional bike.