The LEV industry includes electric bicycles, electric mini scooters, electric motor scooters, and light electric motorcycles as well as three wheel versions of these.
The major user of such vehicles is China, but substantial markets also exist in Japan, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, UK, Eastern Europe, India, Vietnam, Thailand. China exports electric bikes to more than 170 countries.
Most of the makers of components are Chinese companies. Most of the complete vehicle assemblers for export out of China are owned and managed by Taiwanese. While a few of these companies are large , most are relatively small and struggling to expand capacity, management and technical capabilities. An example is 8Fun (Suzhou Bafang Motor Company) with sales of more than 400,000 sets to Europe in 2010, or Yadea Bicycle Company with sales of about 2 million units to China in 2009.
Auto companies such as VW, BMW and Mercedes have shown electric powered two wheeler concept bikes. Motorcycle companies such as Yamaha (130,000 ebikes sold in 2010), Honda, KYMCO, Hero are involved. As are consumer product companies like Panasonic / Sanyo (more than 400,000 sets of propulsion components.)
This industry is remarkably cross cultural. Technology and concepts are often from USA or Europe. Capital and management is often from Taiwan. Production is usually from China. With many other players affecting regional requirements or showing specialty expertise. (Example: Controllers often designed in Canada. Vehicles often designed in Germany.)
Opportunities in this industry include: Investment in emerging technology, providing production expertise, distribution channels, marketing.
The drivers of growth on a world basis are compelling and inevitable: Rising price of fuel, limited road and parking space in ever more densely populated cities. Government focusing on reducing air and noise pollution. Individuals interested in upgrading personal transportation.
Ed Benjamin at eCycleElectric has studied and reported on this industry since 1996. In cooperation with Dr. Jamerson PhD, we have published Electric Bikes World Wide Reports every two years. Our team of 7 speak English and Mandarin. We also have Russian, German, French, Spanish, Taiwan hua, and Shanghai hua among our languages.
Our work experience in this industry has led us to become very connected, and one of our services is finding the right partners for our clients.
Ed Benjamin, Managing Director of eCycleElectric, is also the Chairman of the Light Electric Vehicle Association, an international trade association.