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."
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.
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