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Electric Bikes in Developing Economies – A Trend to Watch

Electric bikes are heading for the mainstream– Will people prefer buying electric bikes rather than cars?

January 19, 2022

12 Min Read
EBikes in Shanghai.jpg
Ian Littlewood / Alamy Stock Photo

Melanie Cohen

Electric bikes are getting more and more popular each year, and with the advancement in EV (electric vehicle) technology, the demands for electric bikes will only rise in the future. One of the biggest disadvantages of owning an electric bike today is that the charging outlets are still very limited, making it quite difficult for people to move long distances using an electric bike. However, the infrastructures for electric vehicles are developing at a rapid pace nowadays, so it will only be a matter of time before electric vehicles, including e-bikes, become mainstream.

The demand for electric bikes is growing over 11% each year, and in many countries where e-bikes become available, people prefer to buy e-bikes more than cars for various reasons. These reasons include the price for e-bikes that are cheaper than cars, the fact that it’s easier to commute with e-bikes than cars, and that it’s easier for them to avoid traffic jams when they ride their e-bikes.

Although in the US, e-bikes are primarily considered to be primarily electrically assisted pedal bicycles, in other parts of the world electric scooter and even electric motorcycles fall into the e-bike category.

The Rapid Growth of EV Infrastructures

One factor that affects the trending of electric bikes is the rapid growth of EV infrastructures. A few years ago, charging outlets for electric vehicles might only be available in select cities, and it’s quite difficult for the owners of electric vehicles to move long distances with their electric bikes or electric cars. However, today, the infrastructure for electric vehicles is growing at a rapid pace. In many big cities around the world, charging outlets for EV are available in various city spots, allowing the owners of electric vehicles, which include e-bikes, to access them and use them to charge their electric vehicle’s battery.

Related:Electric Bicycles Are Reaching the Mainstream—Which One is Right for You?

The rapid growth of electric vehicle infrastructures also makes it easier for people in the city to use their electric bikes in their daily activities. This is another reason the electric bike is becoming more popular nowadays. Today, e-bikes are becoming trends among the youth, as they get integrated into the city lifestyle even more.

Electric Bikes are Growing in Developing Economies

It’s worth mentioning that in developing economies, electric bikes are growing in number, and the demands for them are also rising year by year. In fact, many countries in developing economies are producing their own brands of electric bikes, making it easier for the distribution and marketing of e-bikes to become even more massive within the country. The governments are also building more and more infrastructures for EV to make it easier for the owners of electric vehicles to move from city to city without worrying about charging their EV batteries.

Related:10 Used EV Models You Can Buy For Under $20k

It’s also interesting to see that big vehicle manufacturers are also delving into the EV business, and they are developing various electric vehicles and announcing their prototypes of EV. It will only be a matter of time for the big manufacturers to produce e-bikes for the market in developing economies if the demands are growing.

The Market Growth for Electric Bikes

Electric bikes might not become the mainstream choice of transportation yet, but the market for electric bikes and other electric vehicles is growing at a rapid pace today. According to Globe Newswire, the market growth for electric bikes will grow to over 52 billion USD by 2028, so in the course of a few years, so it is evident that more and more people will own electric bikes and these e-bikes will become a more common transportation tool around the world.

The CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for the electric bike market will be around 16% in 2028, so it’s a very promising business for the manufacturers of EV to delve into. Because of the various advantages of electric bikes, such as the environmentally friendly factor, e-bikes might become the preferred mode of transportation for individuals in a decade from now. In developing economies, there may be a big shift from the use of the traditional gasoline-fueled motorcycles to electric bikes soon, considering that the users of motorcycles and scooters are much more prevalent in the developing economies.

Popular Electric Bike Products in Various Countries

There are many electric bike products you can find in various countries. Most of them are from new brands that are trying to penetrate the electric bike market in certain countries. As mentioned earlier, many countries have their own electric bike brands they are trying to market inside the countries. These e-bike brands often also become the distributor or manufacturer of various EV-related products.

As an example, consider two of the popular electric bike brands available in India: Revolt Motors, primarily a builder of electric motorcycles, and Ola Electric that builds electric scooters.


Revolt Motors

Revolt is a popular Indian brand of electric bikes that offers electric bike products with AI systems integrated into it. The newest product is RV400, which is the electric motorcycle that packs the AI technology and various other features, such as fast battery charging speed, different sound options, and many others. Revolt is already available throughout India, and you can book for the newest RV400 via various dealers in various areas, such as Jaipur, Surat, Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune, and others.

Features of the RV400 electric bike:

  • It has a battery that you can charge from 0 to 100% in just 4.5 hours, and the battery is waterproof, shockproof, and damage proof certified

  • You can ride the RV400 for up to 80 kilometers per hour (km/h)

  • You can charge the RV400 battery just like charging your phone, so you can charge your e-bike battery at home or at the nearest Revolt switch stations. Also, you can request an SOS battery

  • It has the AI system that allows you to guide your ride all the way to your destination, and you can also ask many questions using the AI system if the e-bike is having a problem

  • You can use the app for your e-bike to control the sound that the bike will make during your ride, with different sound options


Ola Electric

Ola Electric is a brand of electric scooter headquartered in India, which offers the electric scooter products for the Indian and other international markets. The electric scooter from Ola has a futuristic design, and it offers the users various revolutionary features that might not be available in the regular scooter products that use the gasoline. Its e-bike product is the Ola S1, an electric scooter similar to a traditional moped.

Features of Ola S1:

  • 10 different color designs, which include glossy and matte finish

  • It offers a large storage space, which can fit various things including a helmet

  • Ola S1 also offers a custom headlamp

  • Ola S1 can achieve the 115 km/h top speed and has a 181 km Arai certified range

  • Ola S1 can go from 0 to 40 km/h in 3 seconds.

  • Ola S1 uses MoveOS that acts as the operating system for the electric scooter

  • The company offers Hypercharger network across India that allows charging the electric scooter on the go, along with a home service option

The Growth of Electric Bikes in Various Countries

The popularity of electric bikes is growing at a steady pace all around the world. There might be some problems with the electric bike regulations in some countries, but overall, more and more people are using electric bikes as their preferred daily transportation tool.

China’s Electric Bikes Growth

China has been the market leader for electric bikes since 2013, selling around 32 million e-bikes that year. Ever since then, the popularity of electric bikes in China is growing at a rapid pace, even higher than the popularity of e-bikes in other regions, such as Europe and the US. In 2016, some cities in China banned or restricted the use of e-bikes because of the prevalence of e-bikes and their irresponsible riders that roam around the city streets. However, it didn’t stop people of this country from buying more and more e-bikes.

In China, the price of e-bikes is quite cheap. A good e-bike in China can be purchased for around the equivalent of $175-$375, and it can be used as a practical alternative transportation tool. Riding an e-bike will saves a lot of time and stress when compared to riding a car within a city. This is one reason behind the growth of electric bikes in China.

Electric Bikes Popularity in Africa

African countries are experiencing the surge of popularity of electric bikes today. More and more countries in Africa are using electric bikes as the primary mode of transportation in many big cities. Electric bikes have helped African countries to provide a cleaner environment and less pollution in many cities, which is one reason behind the big push of electric bikes in Africa. The governments in Africa also helped make it easier for e-bike manufacturers and distributors to market their products for the citizens, as e-bikes promise various benefits that regular motorbikes or scooters might not provide.

In Kenya, electric bikes have become one of the primary transportation tools for providing delivery services in the country, such as the use of e-bikes for Uber Eats. Also, with the program to push EV growth further in Africa, called UNEP or United National Environment Program, Africa can see a big push toward e-bike transformation in the coming decades. By 2050, the sales for both electric and regular motorcycles and three-wheelers in Africa is expected to increase by 50%.

The Challenges of E-Bikes Growth in the US

In the US there is a distinct difference between electrically assisted pedal bicycles, and e-bikes that are really electric motorcycles and scooters. Two-wheelers of all types in the US are more often considered recreation and lifestyle choices. Riding a bike or a motorcycle for most people is a weekend diversion rather than a weekday necessity. For bicyclists, human muscles pushing pedals has long been the standard although something new—electric bicycles—are rapidly taking over both for recreation and for inner-city travel.

Like any other countries, e-bikes in the form of scooters and electric motorcycles are also growing in popularity in the US, however, there are challenges the electric motorcycle and scooter market face.

For instance, the infrastructure for is still not quite accommodative for people who would like to use electric machine as their daily transport vehicles. Also, the price of an electric two-wheeler is typically higher than the prices of traditional gas-powered motorcycles. So, the challenges might limit the growth of the e-bike popularity in the States, though significant growth of the market is expected in the US by 2030.

Another challenge is that many people still don’t understand the benefits of electric motorcycles and scooters when compared to the traditional gas-powered motorcycles. In addition, there are some manufacturers in the US that have imported lower quality electric scooters, which has caused issues during use making it less likely for people to consider electric two-wheelers as legitimate alternative modes of transportation.

The Future of Electric Bikes

By looking at the popularity of electric bikes today in 2022, the future of electric bikes is quite bright, even more so when the infrastructures for it, such as the charging stations, are getting even more widespread around the world. The charging stations are not quite widespread in most countries yet, such as in the developing economies, so we will need to wait for a few years or even a decade to allow the infrastructures for electric vehicles to become available in most countries. This way, the use of electric vehicles, which include electric bikes and cars, should not be available in big cities alone.

In a decade from now, electric bikes and other EV products will become more mainstream, with the charging stations becoming available in most cities and towns around the world. In the developing economies, the rapid growth of EV infrastructures nowadays gives signs that electric bikes and other related EV products are booming, and it will continue to grow in the right direction as more and more technology is integrated into lifestyles.


  • Are electric bikes in demand? Yes, electric bikes are in demand today, and the sales of electric bikes are increasing year by year. The predicted market growth for electric bikes will be around $52 billion by the year 2028. With more and more electric bike manufacturers emerging in the market today, there will be more and more people using electric bikes in the years to come.

  • Who is the target market for e-bikes? Electric bikes target various types of people, such as those who prefer to integrate their riding experience with the current technology. E-bikes also target young people who would like to ride on the road with the stylish e-scooter or e-motorcycle without having to pollute the environment. The target market for e-bikes keeps on expanding, and by the time e-bikes are becoming mainstream, it might replace the use of traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.

  • What are the advantages of e-bikes? E-bikes offer various advantages when compared to the traditional bikes that use gasoline as its fuel, such as cheaper charging or fueling cost, environmentally friendly factor, stylish design, integration with AI, and many others. The users of electric bikes can also enjoy personalizing the way they use their electric bikes by using the app that comes with it. Also, aside from charging the battery at the charging stations, users can charge their e-bike battery at home, just like when they charge their phone. So, overall, electric bikes provide more convenience for the users.

  • What are the disadvantages of e-bikes? The disadvantages of e-bikes include lower top speed when compared to the regular motorcycles or scooters, the lack of charging stations in most cities and towns throughout the country, still being in early development, and so on. E-bikes are still in their early phase today, and it will take a few years or even a decade before they can become mainstream.

With today’s popularity of e-bikes, more and more people are jumping into the electric bike craze, meaning that it will force the government in developing countries to provide the infrastructures for electric bikes and other electric vehicles. Also, with the growing market for electric bikes, there will be better e-bike products in the market, with better features to help the users enjoy their ride.

Melanie Cohen regularly contributes content on startups, tech and small business related topics on a regular basis. She is also an editor and Marketing Associate at Brandlists, a leading brand index online.

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