It’s no longer just a pandemic fad. Ebikes are here to stay, and stay in a big way, as evidenced at the CES in January. Not only were there electric bikes of every shape and size introduced — everything from sleek road bikes and 007-style snow bikes to understated escooters and electric motorcycles — but also, for the first time, the Las Vegas show had a dedicated eMobility Experience testing area outside for ebikes and escooters.
So, not surprisingly there was a slew of new ebike and emobility introductions around the 65,000-square-foot test track at CES 2022. Mainstream bicycle brand Giant, for example, introduced a commuter model aimed at new riders, or those returning to two wheels after a hiatus. In the group’s Momentum line, the new Voya E+ weighs just 40 pounds, a lightweight considering that ebikes typically weigh 55 pounds to over 70 pounds. Voya E+ models will start at $2,300 and feature batteries that run cooler, have a longer life cycle, and are wrapped in fire-proof gel, the company said.
“Making the battery safe is a big thing for us,” said Matthew Smith, e-bike business manager for Giant in the U.S. “And we’re one of the few companies that don’t compete with our retailers,” Smith underscored in an interview with Dealerscope. Many of the newer ebike companies sell directly to consumers.
Aventon, for example, sells through dealers as well as directly online to customers. At CES, Aventon introduced a budget-oriented commuter bike, the Soltera. Designed to be simple and easy to maintain, a basic, single-speed model starts at $1,299. The Soltera has both pedal assist and full-throttle modes, with a top speed of 20 mph.
Interestingly, at least one ebike and escooter sharing company made moves at CES to enter the retail space. Santa Monica, Calif.-based Bird, best known for its escooters that pepper some urban sidewalks, announced new models for consumers to purchase in both bike and scooter categories. The pedal-assist Bird Bike offers a 50-mile range and a $2,299 price tag. And for minimal maintenance, the ebikes feature a rear hub motor and a Gates Carbon fiber belt drive rather than the traditional chain and derailleur combination.
In addition, Bird bowed a non-electric scooter for kids, the three-wheeled Birdie Glow for $99. For adults, the company added an escooter, the Bird Flex for $599. Both models will be available at Target or from the company’s online store.
Advances in ebike systems also promise more new products to come later this year. Bosch eBike Systems, one of the major ebike technology suppliers to companies such as Trek and Gazelle, received a CES 2022 Innovation Award for its new connected ebike package. It includes a mid-drive motor, battery, and controller all connected via Bluetooth to an eBike Flow app. The app means bike makers can offer new digital features such as automatic activity tracking and personalized riding modes.
“So it is able to evolve after the purchase,” said Claudia Wasko, general manager of Bosch eBikes, in an interview with Dealerscope, “we can add new services and new updates over the air.” Wasko said that connectivity for ebikes is a “megatrend” that will continue to transform ebikes; next year she anticipates built-in anti-theft systems and additional safety features will be added, for example