Cleveland OH, October 16, 2023 – On October 12th, 2023, the European Union Court of Justice made a major ruling in a long running case in Belgium over the status of e-bikes. The legal classification of e-bikes was brought up in a case that dealt with an e-bike and a motor vehicle collision. The Court ruled that “as e-bikes are not propelled exclusively by mechanical power they are not covered by the obligation to be insured in the same way as motor vehicles. E-bikes are therefore bicycles and not motorbikes.” It reasoned that e-bikes “do not appear to be capable of causing bodily or material damage to third parties comparable to the damage that may be caused by motorcycles, cars, trucks or other vehicles propelled exclusively by mechanical power.”
If the Court had decided that e-bikes are motor vehicles, riders would have been required to purchase insurance. The imposition of additional costs on riders would have greatly reduced the appeal of e-bikes and had a negative impact on the immense EU market. E-bike production in the EU also would have been harmed, disrupting ongoing investments. This decision will be key to the future development of the EU e-bike market and industry, ensuring they remain an essential mode of transportation.
According to the study, Global Motorcycles, global demand for e-bikes is projected to expand 5.9% annually to 36.6 million units in 2027. The segment will account for 45% of electric engine gains and 23% of overall two-wheeler market gains during the 2022-2027 period. The Asia/Pacific region and Western Europe – the two largest regional markets for e-bikes – will account for 88% of new product demand:
In the Asia/Pacific region, gains will be supported by improving market conditions in China, which is the world’s largest market for e-bikes, and surging e-bikes sales in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In addition, mature Asia/Pacific e-bike markets – such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan – will have favorable growth prospects.
In Western Europe, considerable e-bike replacement needs will support sales in countries such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Governments in Western Europe will also continue to incentivize the use of e-bikes (partly as a way to reduce the stress on public transportation) by offering subsidies, designating new bike lanes, and other measures.
Many of the trends that are expected to drive growth in Western Europe will also provide impetus for market gains in North America (primarily the US and Canada).
For more information on the global e-bike market, see Freedonia Group’s Global Motorcycles study.
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