Soon Electric Bicycles Could be Rented for 20/30 € per Month


Easy E-Biking - woman riding city e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

Interview with Jérôme Valentin, CEO of Cycleurope France by Les Numeriques.

As a head of Cycleurope France, Jérôme Valentin watches over the destiny of the Peugeot, Gitane, and Bianchi cycles. According to him, new measures should quickly allow sales of electric bikes to jump in France.

Les Numeriques:
How is the electric bicycle market developing in France?

Jérôme Valentin:
2017 has been an exceptional year. Looking at the trend over the past ten years, sales volume growth between 2016 and 2017 was much larger than the annual average of the last ten years. It was around 25% each year, whereas between 2016 and 2017, this growth was 90%. This is the equivalent of 255,000 e-bikes sold. We currently see nearly 100 different brands and some 1500 models of e-bikes in France.

Les Numeriques:
What has helped this acceleration of sales to develop?

Jérôme Valentin:
Certainly to the national aid program. The State granted until 31 January 2018 aid up to 200 € for the purchase of an electric bike. As a consequence, with the end of this program, the market has suffered a major drop. From March, the weather became execrable, the SNCF strikes began and the economic environment was not at all conducive to consumption.

As a result, the manufacturers had a very difficult life for 3 to 4 months.
People are interested in e-bikes, but often with a budget of less than € 1,000.

Les Numeriques:
How did the trend develop?

Jérôme Valentin:
For 12 months of 2017, we were growing by 30%, 40%, 60% and we had stocked all our supplies on this trend. Suddenly, at the high-end segment of the market that suffered a lot in the first half of 2018.

For 12 months of 2017, we were growing by 30%, 40%, 60% and we had stocked all our supplies on this trend. Suddenly, at the high-end segment of the market that suffered a lot in the first half of 2018.

On the other hand, the sports supermarkets continued to sell rather well with their offers set between 500 and 1 000 €. One large food court in a commercial center has even sold 12 000 e-bikes for 599 € in 2 months! This shows that buyers are interested in this type of product. And also that the budget is often less than € 1,000.

This is a serious indication of future trends. It is not how sales of top e-bike models will develop, but e-bike market trends in general. Moving to electric bicycles is a global trend.

Les Numeriques:
How are sales distributed on these 250,000 pieces?

Jérôme Valentin:
Of these 255,000 e-bikes, there are 35,000 recreational bikes or mountain bikes. This means that in this growth, the city bike sales have grown less in percentage, while sales of recreational bikes have more than doubled.

Leisure e-bikes have returned to this segment and will drive growth in the sector over the next few years.

Les Numeriques:
We hear every day about the environment. Would you say that an urban e-bike shows the biggest potential?

Jérôme Valentin:
Urban e-bikes have great potential because the French do not have a bike culture. Unfortunately, the trend will only be able to progress at the speed of infrastructure development and not at the speed of riders.

The priority of the buyer is how he or she can park his e-bike safely.

Jérôme Valentin

Les Numeriques:
What do you mean by “infrastructure”?

Jérôme Valentin:
When we talk about infrastructure, we do not necessarily talk about bike paths. Each rider would have one of the main concerns when buying: “How will I park my e-bike in a secure way? “.

Rider’s priority remains to park. It is parking, which will drive the use. Take Paris, for example, which is a typical city where e-bikes could grow a lot more. It’s been 7 years since Paris is paying a premium of 400 €, which is colossal. But the level of sales of e-bikes is not at the level of the potential. And this is simply because it is difficult to park in Paris.

For 22, 25 or 29 € per month, it will be possible to have a VAE that will be maintained, insured and secured with a GPS tracking.

Jérôme Valentin

Les Numeriques:
Is there a price problem with e-bikes? Aren’t they just too expensive?

Jérôme Valentin: Today, if you want to buy a good quality e-bike, a brand product, quality service and spare parts in the next 5 to 10 years, the budget would be at least € 1,500.

On the other hand, lease options are starting to develop and will grow fast. For 22, 25 or 29 € per month, it will be soon possible to have an e-bike that will be maintained, insured and secured with GPS tracking.

I guarantee you that it will become a very competitive offer! Today, all major banks and insurers are preparing their e-bike leasing offers, like Crédit Lyonnais, which has its plan in the testing phase. In 2019, the national rollout will start.

Les Numeriques:
How to differentiate yourself if you are a manufacturer of e-bikes?

Jérôme Valentin:
You have to have roots to be strong. When you have a brand like Peugeot Cycles (born in 1930) or Gitane (1887), these brands exist and will exist. This does not mean that new brands cannot develop. But that means that we have a guarantee of the quality of service and sustainability of existence.

Then you need the right product. We are building product offerings that have greatly improved in the last five years in terms of perceived quality, comfort, usability, options, technology.

Finally, it is the quality of service that matters and the availability of spare parts. Each e-bike has its motor that needs after-sales service, maintenance, repairs. There, the quality of service becomes essential.

From 2020, there will be a trend around VAE that we will not recharge every week, but every day.

Jérôme Valentin

Les Numeriques:
What technology developments can we expect in the near future?

Jérôme Valentin:
A big trend for the next 2 years is integration. It’s not just the integration of the battery or the engine. Today, we see bikes where cables or lighting are integrated. This makes them more esthetic and pleasant. This trend will continue.

In purely technological terms, there is a decrease in the size and weight of the motors with, at the same time, the increase in power and torque. There is still an increase in the capacity of the battery, so the energy stored onboard. But this trend will change.

The reason is simple: we reach price levels that are very high. The battery costs between a third and half of the price of the e-bike. We will see emerging, probably from 2020, a trend around cheaper e-bikes that will need to be recharged not every week, but every day, as is done now with smartphones.

This post was translated from French. The original version was published on Les Numeriques. Photo credit – public domain.

Recent Content