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Photo credit: Pressebild Eurobike
Photo credit: Pressebild Eurobike

While data from the National Bike Dealers Association shows that Americans bought nearly 19 million bicycles in 2012, electric bike sales finished at less than 1 percent of that amount

However, the 159,000 e-bikes sold from 2011 to 2012 in the U.S. still show plenty of growth. Americans purchased just 70,000 e-bikes the previous 12 months, according to EV World.

“That’s not a big market, but it is a market that just doubled,” Ed Benjamin, chairman of the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA), told EV World. “That’s an important piece of data.”

Meanwhile, e-bike sales are booming in the 27 states that comprise the European Union (EU). Consumers in those states bought 854,000 e-bikes, according to COLIBI, the Association of the European Bicycle Industry. Benjamin expects that number to soar to 2 million by the end of this year. In 2004, about 200,000 were sold.

Benjamin told EV World that the same sort of growth is possible in the U.S., but on a much smaller scale.

“[In Europe] we have a nine-year period in which sales went up to 10 times what they were in 2004,” he said. “We’re going to see something similar in the United States, but it’ll be a little bit slower. The United States is not a bicycle-as-transportation culture. We are a cars-are-transportation culture.”

Electric bike sales in the European Union's 27 states (x 1,000). Graphic credit: COLIBI
Electric bike sales in the European Union’s 27 states (x 1,000) during 2012. Graphic credit: COLIBI

Benjamin spoke with EV World for more than a half hour about the trends that could push U.S. e-bike sales in the coming years:

Though e-bike growth is not as explosive in the U.S. as it is in Europe, clearly its popularity is on the rise worldwide.

Visit EcoWatch’s TRANSPORTATION page for more related news on this topic.