Some analysts have predicted that sales of electric bicycles, or eBikes for short, could hit the hundreds of millions in just a few short years. While much of the momentum will be driven by countries like China and India, the U.S. has a growing appetite for eBikes, especially high end models from manufacturers like Bosch.
Green Car Congress reports that Bosch is opening its North American eBike headquarters in Irvine, California, in a bid to expand eBike sales across the continent. Bosch’s eBike system currently comprise the whole gamut of components, allowing rides to go up to speeds of 20 MPH, with a PowerPack battery providing up to 50 miles of pedal-assisted power.
That’s a big reason why Bosch controls about 25% of the exploding (and highly competitive) eBike market in Europe, and it hopes to replicate that success in America. Bosch isn’t building eBikes itself, it should be noted, but is working with bike manufacturers to offer electric-powered models spanning a wider market, much the same way it worked with Volkswagen to provide charging stations for the e-Golf. That should let the company hit the ground running in the U.S., though it faces plenty of challenges here.
Despite a growing trend of people ditching cars for bikes in big cities. One of the biggest potential markets for eBikes, New York City, actually bans the sale and ownership of eBikes, though Los Angeles has moved in the opposite direction, embracing motorized cycles as an alternative to its epic traffic congestion. Trendy San Francisco is also embracing the higher (and odder) end of the eBike market, but by-and-large many people are still tied to their cars.
Can Bosch’s eBike system change perceptions? Or is this fad still too European to make it in America?