E-bikes first gained popularity in the Netherlands during the mid-2000s, mainly as a niche choice for leisure cyclists. Fast-forward to the 2020s, and e-bikes have well and truly shed their reputation as a passing fad. With global e-bike sales set to reach a whopping 13.5 million units by 2030, they're now a mainstay for commuters, families, and last-mile delivery services.

But what's got Europe ditching their motors and hopping on e-bikes instead?

Come with us on a journey that explores the cultural, environmental and technical forces behind Europe's e-bike boom. We'll take a tour of e-bike market trends and European governments' efforts to nurture a two-wheeled revolution. Read on to learn more.

Europe's enduring love affair with cycling

E-bikes are the hot new vehicles conquering Europe. Germany currently leads the pack, boasting 12.4 million e-bike owners, leaving regular bikes in the dust with 53% of the country's market share. The Netherlands continues its strong e-bike tradition, with 2021 marking the year where e-bike sales overtook traditional bike sales. France is hot on their heels: e-bike production is expected to race ahead of traditional bike manufacturing by the end of 2024.

This surge in e-bike popularity sparks a rekindling of Europe's love affair with cycling. After all, European cities were built to be explored on two feet, or, indeed, two wheels.

But, the 20th century saw a shift in gears. Traffic congestion plagued urban centres, and bike path investment was put on hold. While the Netherlands remained a cycling stronghold, polls revealed cycling rates plummeted in countries like Italy, Poland and the UK – with most people feeling unsafe on the road.

Enter the e-bike: a game-changer for European cities with varying bike-friendly terrains. They allow riders to keep pace with traffic while offering the benefits of exercise and connection to the environment. In short, e-bikes give cyclists the power and safety to reimagine their commutes and rediscover the joy of getting around on two wheels.

The evolving tech landscape of e-bikes

The massive boost in e-bike sales wouldn't have been possible without a confluence of tech upgrades that make cycling more appealing, even to less-than-enthusiastic riders:

  • Lithium-ion batteries: Modern e-bike batteries are lighter and more powerful than nickel-cadmium models. With proper battery care, riders can travel up to 40 miles on a single battery charge, lowering cyclists' worries about running out of power on long journeys.
  • Mid-drive motors: At the heart of the e-bike frame, mid-drive motors deliver smoother gear shifts and more control, helping cyclists confidently tackle a range of terrains – even those hills that usually have riders saying "Nope!"
  • Remote diagnostics: The desire to cycle all year round is fuelling demand for clever connected e-bike diagnostics tools. These high-tech IoT features are like having a built-in pit crew with you on every ride, saving you money on repairs and replacement parts.
  • Diverse designs: Riders have a wide range of e-bike models to choose from. Whether you're looking for a zippy little foldable model to take on public transport or an electric bakfiet with a cargo box for groceries, manufacturing improvements are making e-bikes more budget-friendly, robust and adaptable to different riding styles.

As e-bike features evolve, so will the desire to protect these tech marvels from damage and theft. With customisable insurance from Laka, e-bike owners can rest easy knowing that if their precious e-bike is stolen or damaged, we'll cover the whole cost of a replacement bike.

Governments weaving green mobility into the fabric of daily life

One of the surest signs that e-bikes are here to stay is European governments' willingness to push more investment towards sustainable transport initiatives. For instance;

These changes will see European governments boost cycling tourism revenue, keep road users safer and help riders pedal through the continent with one set of clear rules to abide by.

But despite all these promising signals, confidence in e-biking varies across European riders. Theft, for example, remains a pressing concern (especially among commercial cargo fleets). As a result, cycling organisations are campaigning for Europe-wide bike registration protocols to stop stolen bike resellers from entering their tracks.

E-bikes appeal to a huge range of cycling demographics – all of whom need protection from theft and all manner of bumps in the road:

  • Europe's ageing population: Many e-bike brands target older people, as their technologies are accessible to riders of all fitness levels. This demographic needs insurance coverage that promises to keep their high-tech bikes running smoothly.
  • Eco-conscious consumers: One in five environmentally aware consumers in Europe purposefully purchased an e-bike to reduce their carbon footprint. These customers need a financial safety net to protect their eco investments.
  • Commuters: The vast majority (78.7%) of e-bike owners cycle on their daily commute. These riders need to feel safe to leave their bike anywhere with the reassurance of great theft cover.
  • Delivery fleets: As cargo bikes can perfectly navigate Europe's narrow streets, European e-bike market experts believe e-bikes can replace 8% of European urban van trips by mileage. Commercial enterprises need fast claims to keep their operations running.
  • Cycling tourists: Routes like EuroVelo showcase the potential for e-bikes in tourism, which is predicted to generate €7 billion annually for the EU economy. Cycling tourists need cover that will travel with them wherever they go.

Laka's flexible insurance options, from weekend warriors to eco-crusaders, adapt to every rider's needs.

We've been named the UK's Best Cycle Insurance Provider for six years, thanks to our collaboration with market-leading brands like Gazelle, Urban Arrow, and Riese & Müller. Together, we've developed compelling insurance buying journeys that seamlessly integrate with connected e-bike tech and retail experiences.

The end result? We make it easier than ever for customers to find the right cover at the right price and help cycling brands ensure their customers return for repairs, replacements and equipment upgrades.

Join Laka as we rewrite the rules of e-bike insurance

We're a community of passionate cyclists with a cult-like love of bikes and hassle-free cover.

Our unique pricing model is based on sharing the claims costs with our riding community, so everyone pays less each month. Our five-star claims service is super fast, super fair and expertly handled by our in-house team of bike mechanics and insurance aficionados.

With Laka, satisfied customers become lifelong e-bike customers. So, contact us now to learn more about partnering with Laka.