Over half of UK adults ‘considering buying an e-bike’

A study by Bosch eBike Systems has revealed that over half of UK adults (55%) are considering purchasing an e-bike.

The study polled over 2,000 people across the UK on their perceptions of e-mobility and how these have changed since the start of the pandemic. 32% said they would use their car less in favour of electric pedal power, and 66% would consider buying an e-bike if the Government committed to proposed subsidy schemes.

The UK e-bike market has grown quickly over the last few years, with the pandemic accelerating this growth. In 2020, the UK e-bike market grew 68% compared to 2019, with Bosch eBike Systems’ research finding that the UK public’s appetite for electric bicycles is only set to increase.

Since the pandemic, more than half of the UK public are now considering purchasing an e-bike, suggesting that the e-biking trend gripping the nation has ‘only just begun’. Of those considering purchasing an e-bike, 23% say they are more likely to buy an e-bike now than they were before the pandemic began.

Speaking to individuals who purchased an e-bike during the pandemic, 56% say the shift in habits and circumstances as a result of the pandemic played a part in their purchase decision, with 28% saying that avoiding COVID-19 transmission via public transport motivated them to make the change. Staying fit and healthy and reducing carbon footprint was also a clear motivator behind e-biking. For example, 54% of e-bike owners bought their e-bike to boost their exercise levels, while 37% did so as a proactive step towards reducing their environmental impact.

Another key finding from the research is that 32% of the UK public would use their car less were they to own an e-bike. Were this to translate to just one journey fewer by car per day, the average person could reduce their carbon footprint by as much as 0.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. The research also indicates that after purchasing an e-bike, the likelihood of forgoing the car rises substantially, with 53% of e-bike owners surveyed revealing that they had cut down on car journeys and travelled by e-bike instead.

Reducing the number of journeys by car is a key motivator for those who have purchased an e-bike. 25% of e-bike owners bought their e-bike to cut down on unnecessary short car journeys. And those who have made the switch are overwhelmingly swayed by the e-bike commute, with 68% saying they get around more efficiently by e-bike compared to other modes of transport, be that car, bus or train.

With Government e-bike subsidies first mooted in November 2020 and an announcement expected imminently, the timely research also reveals that 66% of the UK population, up to 34 million adults, could be enticed to buy an e-bike with the help of subsidies. This latest finding comes as the UK Government prepares to announce measures that would discount e-bikes by as much as a third in a move similar to that already proposed in France. With 55% of adults considering an e-bike purchase regardless of subsidies, these measures could support e-bike uptake amongst those put off by cost.

Tamara Winograd, vice-president of marketing, communications and brand management at Bosch eBike Systems, said: “This research provides some key insights into e-biking’s growing presence in the UK.

“We’re proud to unveil these key findings on ‘Cycle to Work Day’ as we’re passionate about the role e-bikes can play in the growth of active travel and the dramatic reduction of carbon emissions in the UK and across the globe. It’s encouraging to see the rapid development of e-biking as a sustainable and enjoyable travel option and these findings confirm what we’ve been seeing over the past year, as more people discover the benefits of e-mobility.”

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