Electric bicycles were already a growing trend in transportation. Last year, Deloitte predicted that e-bikes would become increasingly popular in the next few years. But then came the COVID-19 crisis and accelerated e-bike sales exponentially in markets around the world. In the USA in particular, e-bike sales rose by 190% in June compared to the same period in the previous year, according to the NPD Group. According to reports, the global e-bike market could be worth $ 46 billion by 2026 – down from less than $ 8 billion in 2018.
Because of this, VanMoof has already raised another $ 40 million in funding just four months after raising $ 1
“We sold more bikes in the first four months of 2020 than in the last two years combined,” a VanMoof spokesman told VentureBeat.
End to end
VanMoof, based in Amsterdam, was founded in 2009 and is more than a bicycle manufacturer or dealer. It controls every part of the process from design and production to sales and customer service. This puts the company in a stronger position compared to many other competitors, even if there have been delays in order fulfillment due to increasing demand.
“This independence allowed us to ramp up production more quickly to meet this demand,” added the spokesman. “We recognize that there were still long wait times, but we’re working incredibly hard to make those times shorter.”
The full extent of COVID-19’s impact on cities is not entirely clear. However, as local authorities try to encourage people to work safely by investing in infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, this will undoubtedly create more opportunities for companies like VanMoof. Ebikes are essentially normal bikes, but with a built-in electric motor that makes pedaling a little easier – they’re especially popular with commuters as they require less strenuous effort.
VanMoof offers two main models that cost around 2,000 euros and can be purchased online through VanMoof’s digital store or through its brick and mortar stores in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, London, Amsterdam and Tokyo, Paris and Berlin.
The company also vows to “put bike thieves out of business”. Every bike has built-in location tracking technology that allows riders to report their bike as stolen via the VanMoof mobile app, which starts VanMoof’s “bike hunter”. The company’s anti-theft guarantee ensures that the bike is either found and returned within two weeks or replaced free of charge.
VanMoof has now raised a total of $ 73 million and plans with its latest cash injection to double production, reduce delivery times and continue to expand globally, including the launch of a number of pop-up stores in the US
There is, of course, a risk that the surge in e-bike demand over the past six months will be temporary and that people’s transportation habits will return to normal once COVID-19 is under control. Given that the e-bike trajectory was already pointing up before the pandemic, and now even more people have spent their hard-earned cash, it is more than likely that e-bikes are ready for prime time now.
“We will definitely include all variables in our future production plans, but all of the data points for a market will continue to grow strongly over the next decade,” said VanMoof. “Ebikes are definitely post-Covid mainstreams. The shock value of the coronavirus has pushed people out of their normal routines and new habits such as cycling are maintained even after the crisis has ended. Urban traffic already looks and feels very different in life, now that locking and commuting options like e-bikes have become mainstream in just over 6 months, in which it could have taken another 5 or 10 years. “