Every year, major international consultancy Deloitte researches Technology, Media and Telecommunications and then publishes a report, this year called “Discover the Future” with forecasts in 6 major areas, including robots, the ongoing development of smartphones and the advent of 5G, but also including cycling, and their own Deloitte ebike forecast suggesting a massive rise in ebike sales.
Cycling offers a solution to many urban and environmental issues caused by car usage
While not normally part of “Technology, Media and Telecommunications”, Deloitte feel that “Cycling offers a solution to many urban and environmental issues caused by car usage.” Amen to that! They continue “In particular, better batteries are making electric bikes more popular, except in the UK, and we examine why.”
Here is the Deloitte Ebike Forecast:
Cycling’s digital transformation
“Globally, more and more cyclists are taking to the roads, assisted partially by an array of technological advances. We predict that tens of billions of additional bicycle trips per year will take place globally in 2022 over 2019 levels. This means fewer car trips and lower emissions, with spill-over benefits for traffic congestion, urban air quality and improvements in public health. Underlying this growth in bike-riding is a diverse array of technologies, including predictive analytics, product and application design, wireless connectivity, digital urban planning tools, 3D-printed parts, and electrification. These innovations are making cycling safer, faster, more convenient, and easier to track and measure.
“The need for more effective transportation is particularly acute in cities where congestion is most severe. Bikes can pick up some of the slack for shorter journeys: More than half of car trips in England are less than 5 miles and a third of trips in urban areas such as London are less than 1.2 miles. However, as of 2019, only around 5 percent of journeys in London are taken by bike.
Electrification: my other car is an e-bike
“Of the slew of bicycle-related technologies, the development and spread of electric bike, which use batteries to assist pedalling, stands out for its potential to boost cycling’s growth. Electrifying a bike is not a new idea: The first patent for an electrically powered bicycle was registered in 1895. Now, thanks largely to recent improvements in lithium ion battery technology, pricing, and power, the electric bike market is seeing a surge in interest globally, particularly for high-end models. Between 2020 and 2023, more than 130 million electric bikes (using all battery technologies) are expected to be sold globally, and in 2023, electric bike sales are expected to top 40 million units worldwide, generating about GBP 16 billion (19bn euro) in revenue. To put these numbers into context, only 12 million electric vehicles are expected to sell in 2025; at the end of 2018, just 5.1 million electric vehicles were in circulation.
“Some European countries have fully embraced electric bike. In Germany, electric bike sales in 2018 rose by 36 percent to nearly one million units, representing 23.5 percent of all bikes sold; almost a million more were sold in Germany in just the first half of 2019. More than half of all adult bikes sold in the Netherlands in 2018 were electric. Sales in the UK however are far weaker: in 2018 only 70,000 e-bikes were sold, a paltry two percent of all cycles sold.
Purpose of cycling
“A key reason for the significantly lower numbers is linked to the purpose of cycling. In Germany and Netherlands, cycling is considered a commuting option, while in the UK it is regarded more as a sport. Over half of trips on the Dutch transit system start with a bike ride. In the UK just 6 percent of the population (3.1 million) cycles as part or all of their commute. Nearly double that number (6.1 million people) cycle for sport or leisure. An increase in dedicated bike lanes, electric bike hire, subsidy and cycle-to-work schemes should help boost sales in 2020 and beyond.
“What’s the appeal of e-bikes? One big plus is that battery assist makes cycling less of a physical effort: you do not need to be an athlete to travel by e-bike. This translates into faster average speeds (about 50 percent faster than on a standard bike); easier acceleration after a stop, such as at a traffic light; and a power boost when going uphill, facing headwinds, carrying heavy loads, or some combination of the above. As it requires less effort than a standard bike, e-bikers sweat two-thirds less than regular cyclists which matters to commuters.
Technologies beyond electrification
“E-bikes make cycling less daunting to many who might otherwise hesitate. Yet electrifying a bicycle does more than making it easier to pedal. E-bikes can be secured, unlocked and tracked via apps. Electrification can also improve safety. Most high-end e-bikes incorporate large, bright, battery-powered front and rear LED lights.
“Apps can quantify the cycling experience in many ways as well. They can calculate the number of calories burned or measure the amount of greenhouse gas saved by cycling instead of driving. Using an app, cyclists can not only easily log and share their journey times, but also receive time estimates down to the minute based on aggregated user data. Apps also exist for bike-sharing. As of July 2019, Google Maps displays bike-sharing stations’ locations, as well as how many bikes are available at each station, in 24 cities.
“A major reason that people do not ride bikes—of any type—is because of safety concerns. Here, too, technology can offer multiple solutions through the accelerometers and gyroscopes available on most smartphones, tablets, action cameras, or embedded onto helmets. Bottom line: The technology industry has a large role to play in encouraging greater bicycle use—a goal that can help society address many challenges arising from continuing global urbanisation.
“Improving the technology itself—better data analytics to support urban planning, or faster battery recharge times, or apps that help people integrate cycling into their commutes—is only part of the picture. The other, equally important part is to support policies and programs that promote cycling. The tech industry can’t do it alone, however. Many vertical sectors should be involved for cycling to make a dent in certain entrenched challenges. For example, consider public health and the related issue of health care costs. Instead of prescribing pills, doctors could offer programs designed to change behaviour, such as encouraging exercise. This is actually already happening to a limited extent: In the UK, some doctors are referring patients to a 12-week cycling course with the aim of making them more confident about being on a bike—and, hopefully, to make cycling a habit.”
You can download the full Deloitte Ebike Forecast & the rest of the report here.