Americans are now buying a ton of electric bicycles

Three young African American friends renting e-bikes to explore Barcelona.


That's how many e-bikes were imported into the U.S. last year.

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Wild design might help get eyes on electric vehicles, but it’s actually bikes that are stealing the show. A new report from the Light Electric Vehicle Association and BloombergNEF showed that the U.S. imported 790,000 electric bikes in 2021, a more than 70 percent jump from the 463,000 imported in 2020.

In comparison, the U.S. saw 652,000 electric vehicle imports in 2021. Last year marks the second year in a row that electric bikes surpassed electric vehicle imports, which had a much narrower margin of 463,000 electric bikes imported versus 325,000 EVs imported. These aren’t exactly sales numbers, but most e-bikes in the U.S. are imported so it’s still a nice rough estimation of how the market is doing.

Lagging behind — When looking for reasons why the electric bike industry has been booming, another BloombergNEF report said that EVs in general are becoming more popular for several reasons. According to the report, batteries are constantly getting better while lithium-ion battery pack prices are steadily falling. The report also said that many more countries are adopting policies that want to phase out gas vehicles and promote the electric counterparts, and overall, more car companies are making electric models and more charging infrastructure is being built across the country.

But compared to other countries, the U.S. is still lagging behind a lot. According to the LEVA and BloombergNEF report, Europe saw one million e-bikes imported in 2021, while Asia saw a whopping 35 million imported e-bikes.

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Not totally out — The U.S. import numbers may be far below the other continents, but it does feel like e-bikes are still catching on here. It used to be pretty rare that you’d see someone zooming by on an electric bike or scooter, but now it’s pretty commonplace with companies offering ride-share options or their own custom models. While many of the freshest concepts are coming from overseas, there are some domestic companies in the U.S. offering their takes on the growing e-bike category.

Jackrabbit is planning to ship its tiny e-bike that can fold up even further at the end of this month, and the San Diego-based Juiced recently revealed a fat-tire e-bike specifically made for teens. If you’re looking for a more traditional design, the U.S.-based RadPower Bikes’ lineup also makes changing up your daily commute a breeze.

Again, LEVA’s numbers had specifically looked at the e-bike imports into the U.S., so these domestic products wouldn’t add to that number. And with all these companies making their own e-bikes, the U.S. market could be bigger than the numbers show.