CleanTechnica Survey Respondents Love E-Bikes & Have Money: Part 3

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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. Part 2 dealt with current vehicles and buying preferences. This third part deals with how much they intend to spend, whether they are going to buy in the next 12 months, and blockers/enablers to purchasing. 

Riese and Muller cargo e-bike image courtesy Riese and MullerThis 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, now the hard numbers. How much? Intent? What will grease the path?

Likely budget chart from SurveyMonkey

This chart really starts to hone in what people are going to do, as opposed to what they might like to do. 72% of respondents had at least aspirational budgets of less than $5,000, and 87% are less than $10,000. There are no electric road motorcycles available for under $5,000, and only a couple of options under $10,000, and only base trim at that price point (before any rebates). The 27% of respondents indicating a desire for an electric road motorcycle, despite their high incomes, drops radically when money is factored in.

The price points are very amenable to electric bikes, however. Our market database upon which our recent article on the US$1.5 billion global market for electric bikes was based shows that the average price of North American electric bike brands is just under US$3,300. EU brands are quite a bit higher and Asia-Pacific brands quite a bit lower on average, although many of those prices were prior to shipping. Detailed price breakdowns by region and country will be included in the report, or can be gained in advance through consultation should they be of value immediately.

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It’s worth looking at the third choice of vehicle in order of preference: electric motor scooters. There aren’t a lot of North American electric scooters available yet. There are a few startups with very low volumes and resultant low quality assurance. There are many very cheap Asian electric devices with seats which qualify. But in terms of major manufacturers with a history of quality, the numbers are low. Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki don’t have American electric scooter offerings, where the respondents are concentrated. Some of their electric scooters might make it to North America. Similarly, Vespa finally has an electric scooter on sale in Europe and promises that it will be available in the USA in 2019, but the price point will be around $10,000. For those respondents interested specifically in an electric scooter, the pickings are slim, mostly downmarket brands from Asia along with some North American startups with no track record to speak of.

We’ve determined purchasing power and unconstrained preference, then added a constraint. Now let’s ask about intent.

Intent to buy chart from SurveyMonkey

This is a strong response. 40% of respondents intend to purchase a two-wheel electric vehicle in the next 12 months. We’ve already seen that the respondents are skewed older, wealthier, male, and urban. There are interesting correlations of value in the underlying data about the relationships between buying intent and preceding questions. If those are of value to you, reach out for a consultation or buy the report when it comes out.

So what’s stopping people from buying? Or not triggering them to start? That’s the last question:

What one feature, capability or attribute would trigger you to purchase an electric two-wheeler?

Word Cloud created with

Unsurprisingly, range is number one with a bullet, followed by price. Battery durability was mentioned by many, as there are a number of cheaper electric bike offerings whose batteries just don’t last. Speed is interesting, but slanted by the US-centric responses.

This three-part series represents 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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Michael Barnard

is a climate futurist, strategist and author. He spends his time projecting scenarios for decarbonization 40-80 years into the future. He assists multi-billion dollar investment funds and firms, executives, Boards and startups to pick wisely today. He is founder and Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc and a member of the Advisory Board of electric aviation startup FLIMAX. He hosts the Redefining Energy - Tech podcast ( , a part of the award-winning Redefining Energy team.

Michael Barnard has 708 posts and counting. See all posts by Michael Barnard