The best-selling electric vehicles in the United States have two wheels

Electric bikes could be more than a pandemic-driven fad.

According to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA) – considering import data – e-bikes are the top-selling electric vehicles in the United States, with sales in 2021 far exceeding those of electric cars.

Americans bought about 652,000 electric cars in 2021, including battery-electric models and plug-in hybrids, according to BNEF, a figure that is more than double a total of 296,000 plug-in vehicle sales in 2020.

Electric Bikes vs. EV – Bloomberg New Energy Finance

The United States imported nearly 790,000 e-bikes in 2021, according to the report, up from about 463,000 in 2020, ending a second full year in which e-bikes overtook electric cars.

As noted by BNEF, this is both less than the million annual e-bikes for Europe and 35 million for Asia.

Almost all e-bikes sold in the United States are imported, so the totals are a guessing game involving imports and imported components.

Although we generally do not cover e-bikes at Green Car Reports, we recognize that they have the potential to help replace a car with a mode that contributes less to congestion and has a lower carbon footprint, both in use and in manufacture.

Wisconsin-based Trek was one of the only e-bike manufacturers to back this up, amid a sea of ​​academic papers. He claims that making an e-bike almost doubles the carbon footprint due to manufacturing, to nearly 295 pounds. To compare, making a small electric sedan costs more than 40 times the CO2.

The strong adoption of e-bikes has not been entirely smooth, nor universally welcomed. Most notably, New York pushed back their use for deliveries. And China has even imposed some restrictions. Even in the United States, it is not uncommon for e-bikes to be banned on certain recreational trails.

Ford E-Bike Concept, Frankfurt Motor Show 2011

Ford E-Bike Concept, Frankfurt Motor Show 2011

GM, Ford, and Audi have been among the many automakers to release e-bikes over the years, but none of these entries have sold in significant volume in the United States. According to recent reports, lifestyle-focused electric truck brand Rivian is considering them. , too.

In the United States, are electric bikes a leisure accessory or a catalyst to decarbonize the journey? We would appreciate your thoughts below.

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