The country where one in three adults rides an e-bike

It’s perhaps no surprise that the Netherlands is firmly on board the pro-bike bandwagon. But new figures show just how much the Dutch have embraced e-bikes.

The latest figures show that 4.6 million people in the Netherlands own an e-bike, according to the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA). And, with 4.9 million e-bikes in the country, many owners seem to be doubling down. (Can’t blame them – I own a few e-bikes myself).

With an electric assist motor that helps e-bikes travel faster and farther with less effort, e-bikes have quickly become a go-to alternative to cars and other forms of conventional transportation.

They have proven particularly popular among commuters who would not otherwise choose to travel by conventional bicycle due to the extra effort required by non-electric bicycles. This means that e-bikes have helped reduce the number of cars on the road, which studies have shown can significantly reduce traffic. In fact, a study in Brussels found that switching 10% of cars to two-wheelers could reduce congestion by up to 40%.

In the Netherlands, the figures show a clear demographic trend among e-bike owners. They tend to be older, usually over 50, and also have average or above-average incomes. This follows because e-bikes are often used as a way for cyclists to resume cycling after they no longer have the stamina or range of motion of traditional pedal bikes.

European e-bikes are also generally more expensive, often opting for local manufacturing and higher quality components which combine to drive up prices. By comparison, the US is largely dominated by value-driven e-bike companies that produce their models in Asia and use lower-to-mid-tier parts, resulting in e-bikes that often cost half of their European counterparts.

In the Netherlands, the e-bike market reached a staggering figure of 9.5 billion euros in 2021 (about 10.5 billion US dollars).

Among the most popular styles of e-bikes in the Netherlands are electric city bikes, which according to LEVA account for around 75% of the market. Hybrid e-bikes also account for a significant share at 17%. More specialized e-bikes like cargo e-bikes and e-MTBs each account for 2% of the market. Folding electric bikes and electric tricycles each account for 1% of the market, according to LEVA.

After much of Asia, European countries are leading the way in e-bike adoption.

European e-bike brands are making significant investments, just like their American counterparts, and many countries in Europe have encouraged the purchase or use of e-bikes.

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