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Bicycles Riese and Muller cargo e-bike image courtesy Riese and Muller

Published on December 9th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

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CleanTechnica Survey Respondents Love E-Bikes & Have Money: Part 2

December 9th, 2018 by  


CleanTechnica recently surveyed its readers on their two-wheel electric vehicle desires and plans. If you haven’t responded yet, you still can, but here are the interim findings. Part 1 of this trio of articles dealt with the demographics of respondents, finding that they were skewed heavily to male, older, wealthier and city-dwelling. This second part deals with what they think of motorized two-wheelers and what they want to buy. Part 3 will talk dollars, intent and blockers/enablers to purchasing.

Pedego cargo bike image courtesy PedegoThis survey data is part of the upcoming CleanTechnica report on disruption and innovation in the motorized two-wheel vehicle space being worked on by Susanna Schick, Nicolas Zart, Kyle Field, the CT team, and myself. The survey on motorized two-wheelers is a key piece of market information which will assist manufacturers, urban planners, and entrepreneurs with the right products and responses globally.

Articles in the series leading to the report have included the innovative disruption facing the space from electric-assist bicycles, the challenges facing major motorcycle firms such as BMW and Harley-Davidson, the different issues facing startups such as Zero and Alta, the unexpected impacts that are emerging, what’s driving the transition, and the prevalence of retro design in the space.

Have an insight that’s important or a portion of the space that the series hasn’t covered? Get in touch via comments or email.

So what did our wealthy readers think of the motorized two-wheeler space? Let’s find out.

Unsurprisingly for a survey about two-wheeled vehicles, a very large percentage of respondents own normal bicycles. 26.4% of respondents already owned an electric bicycle, close to 6% more than those who owned a gas road motorcycle. Only 12.5% of respondents owned no two-wheeled vehicles at all. While electric bike sales are increasing rapidly, nowhere near a quarter of people own one, so it’s safe to say that survey respondents were skewed to people who were already spending money on these products.

The demographic assessment found that respondents were male, older, and better off financially, all attributes that increase the likelihood of owning a motorcycle. The 20% of respondents who owned a motorcycle already confirmed this. As the average of motorcycle ownership in the USA is under 3%, this is a significant skew.

The survey asked for respondents to select all the types of vehicles that they owned, and didn’t provide an option for how many of each type. 462 people responded. The overlapping set of answers added up to 646, about 40% more than the respondents. Many people selected more than one type of vehicle. The number of each category the owner might have wasn’t asked, and it’s likely that a significant percentage of respondents own more than one bicycle at least. While the respondents showed almost 40% dual-ownership, the actual number of vehicles is probably closer to a thousand.

Use cases chart from SurveyMonkey

This question aligns with the use cases assessment we’ve been developing related to the ongoing disruption in the two-wheel vehicle space.

It supports fairly strongly the thesis that’s been emerging. Close to 4 in 5 respondents want motorized two-wheel vehicles for purely urban activities: errands and city-street commutes. Note that this is higher than the percentage of people who self-identified as living in cities in Part 1, with just under 73% asserting city living. It implies that even moderate-sized towns are prime markets. The desire for utility is high, with offroad fun being the second category of highest interest. By contrast, only 1 in 5 respondents was interested in two-wheelers for either highway commutes or longer roadtrips.

This implies that electric mountain bikes might be the sweet spot in the demographic surveyed. They allow errands, in town commuting, and dirt fun in one vehicle. But this is contra-indicated by the number of respondents who have more than one two-wheeler already, implying that they are specializing their purchases.

Now we get into the final questions. We know who has responded to the survey: generally older, mostly male, wealthier, and with a greater likelihood of living in cities. But what do they want to buy, how much do they want to spend, and are they intending to buy? The next series of charts have additional commentary and analysis linking them back to earlier answers to provide greater shading and insights. We’ll look at one of the hypotheses this series is examining, that of urban millennial buying patterns, to see if the data supports it.

Buying preference chart from SurveyMonkey

Note that this is not a statement of buying intention, but of preference. Actual buying intention is asked and shaded in the next questions, which were intentionally placed to follow this one. Most respondents will have answered this aspirationally: what they would like to do without constraints.

In that context, the 41% preference for electric bikes vs the 27% preference for electric motorcycles among the audience of mostly older, wealthier, male North Americans looks rather stunning. A clear preference for getting an electric bicycle exists.

This the second part of a three-part series representing the interim and surface results of the CleanTechnica market survey on motorized two-wheelers. The response is strong, with a +-5% confidence in the results, but it’s important to understand who responded and in what context. The very rich North American market is well represented in the survey at this point, the buying power is high and the interest in electric bikes is indisputable. More insights will be in the report when published and are available to interested parties in advance of publication.

Have a comment about the results to help provide context or correct any misinterpretations? Make it below; corrections are always welcome. 
 





 

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About the Author

is Chief Strategist with TFIE Strategy Inc. He works with startups, existing businesses and investors to identify opportunities for significant bottom line growth and cost takeout in our rapidly transforming world. He is editor of The Future is Electric, a Medium publication. He regularly publishes analyses of low-carbon technology and policy in sites including Newsweek, Slate, Forbes, Huffington Post, Quartz, CleanTechnica and RenewEconomy, and his work is regularly included in textbooks. Third-party articles on his analyses and interviews have been published in dozens of news sites globally and have reached #1 on Reddit Science. Much of his work originates on Quora.com, where Mike has been a Top Writer annually since 2012. He's available for consulting engagements, speaking engagements and Board positions.



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