Increasing amounts of Dutch people are investing in electric bikes to travel to and from their place of work. Researchers at the Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (KiM) expect this trend to continue, though it is noted that e-bikes primarily replace traditional bicycles.
Due to the possibility of faster travel with less effort, the number of new electric bicycles has been on the rise since 2018, overtaking the sales of regular touring and city bicycles. In 2021, approximately 52% of the 923,000 new bicycles sold were e-bikes. The number of electric bicycle owners, estimated at 3.6 million in 2021, will continue to grow in the coming years, conclude the KiM researchers in their report on the purchase and use of e-bikes.
More than 1 in 5 Dutch citizens that do not yet own an e-bike plan to purchase one within the next 5 years, including a large group that plans to use the technology for their home-work journey.
With working Dutch people willing, on average, to travel up to half an hour via e-bike, approx. 10km, about 60% of all commutes could be replaced by this transport type. Included in this group are those who would be unable to cycle without electrical assistance, opening up a whole new segment of two-wheeled commuters that can now enjoy active travel.
Due to the growth in e-bike ownership, KiM expects that e-bike use will grow by approximately 45-70% over a period of 5 years, from 2019 to 2024. Part of that growth is at the expense of traditional bicycle use. The total distance traveled by bicycle is expected to increase by 6-8% as a result of an increase in e-bike ownership. This does not take into account other factors influencing use, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or economic and demographic developments.
The researchers believe – partly on the basis of previous research – that increased e-bike ownership will probably lead to a decrease in car use, but they cannot determine with certainty to what extent.