Electric bike prices have followed a rollercoaster trajectory over the past few years. While there are still several great options for low-cost e-bikes on the market, prices are trending up right now.
The ongoing trade war between the US and China isn’t the only reason for inflated e-bike prices, though that certainly hasn’t helped.
While exceptions have been created to help e-bikes avoid many tariffs over the past year, those exceptions expired on January 1 this year.
It was hoped that the Biden administration would expand tariff exceptions that included e-bikes, but that hasn’t happened so far.
In the meantime, we’ve seen several e-bike companies slowly increase their prices. Some companies such as Rad Power Bikes, Juiced Bikes, Aventon Bikes, and Priority Bicycles have phased out promotional pricing, raising prices to MSRPs.
Other companies that relied on low prices as the standard model are now slightly increasing their prices across the board. Ride1up is one such company that announced over the weekend that prices will increase by $100 for all of the company’s models starting March 10.
The original purpose of the tariffs was to encourage the production of electric bicycles in the United States. Although we have seen rare and promising examples of e-bike production in the United States, most of the industry agrees that large-scale e-bike manufacturing in the United States is simply not able to stay competitive. with Asian manufacturing.
As Ride1Up owner Kevin Dugger explained in an email to Electrek:
It is sad to see that the product category of e-bikes, which we see used by more than half of our buyers as an alternative mode of transportation, is being taxed at 25% while billions of dollars worth of unnecessary frivolous goods are allowed in the country with little to no tariff. Since bicycles and e-bikes in particular have their entire supply chain in Asia, it is not realistic for a single bicycle or e-bike company to start manufacturing all of these components in the United States. I don’t know of a single e-bike company that makes all the components in-house. It would be a momentous undertaking that companies on the scale of Tesla may be able to accomplish, but the ceiling just isn’t high enough in the world of bicycles. Since 98% of all e-bikes sold in the United States source their bikes or components from China, this tariff is essentially a tax on the growing ultra-efficient alternative transportation industry. Which is extremely sad to see at a time when far less efficient and more environmentally costly electric cars are available with a $7,500 tax credit.
While the expiration of e-bike pricing exceptions has played a significant role in the current e-bike pricing landscape in the United States, it is not the only one.
Other factors combine to put pressure on e-bike companies.
As Bicycle Retailer reported, U.S. businesses already face shifting exchange rates that put their pricing structures at a disadvantage. The US dollar has fallen about 10% against the Chinese and Taiwanese currencies over the past year.
At the same time, the cost of materials used in the manufacture of e-bikes has steadily increased. Aluminum and steel prices are up 15% and 20% respectively since the start of 2020. Rubber costs are up 20%, and even the corrugated cardboard used to make large e-bike boxes increased by 10%.
Most supply chains around the world have been disrupted by COVID-19, but the e-bike industry has been particularly hard hit due to a combination of reduced supply and unprecedented demand.
The e-bike industry experienced its strongest growth ever at the start of the pandemic when cyclists around the world began to embrace e-bikes as safer socially distant transportation alternatives and as recreational escapes from induced cabin fever. by locking.
Not all e-bike retailers have followed suit with higher prices. Lectric Bikes, maker of the popular $899 Lectric XP folding electric bike, has so far managed to keep prices steady.
Other companies only raised prices selectively. Rad Power Bikes has seen price increases, like the RadRover fat tire e-bikes, now at $1,599. Meanwhile, the company has managed to keep other prices lower, such as the RadMission at $1,099 and the RadRunner at $1,199.
Late winter is not usually a high-sell period for the e-bike industry, although nothing about the last 12 months has been remotely usual. Seasonal and holiday sales will likely drive further discounted prices throughout the year, and all eyes are now on the Biden administration in hopes of seeing another round of pricing exceptions for e-bikes.
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