80% Market Growth: eCargo Bikes overtake Electric Cars in Germany
2018 was a record year for e-cargo bikes in Germany: 80% market growth and more e-cargo bikes sold than newly registered e-cars.
According to market data of the Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV), in 2018, an estimated 39,200 e-cargo bikes were sold in Germany. In contrast, only 36,062 new electric cars were registered. As in 2016, e-cargo bikes are back in the lead - despite a €4,000 federal incentives scheme for private e-cars.
The sales growth rate of e-cargo bikes is especially astonishing. In 2018, e-bikes sales increased by a whopping 36% - but the e-cargo bike market growth was 80%! According to ZIV, their share of all e-bike sales in Germany has risen from 2.5% in 2016, to 3% in 2017, culminating at 4% in 2018.
However, the market data of the ZIV continues to list cargo bikes as a separate group only for E-Bike sales. Among the total of 3.18 million bicycles sold in Germany in 2018 (+8.6%), cargo bikes still to fall into the category "other" with recumbents and tandems. This remains unchanged in 2018 at an estimated 2.5%.
The demand for e-cargo bikes should be sustained by the numerous purchase incentives of federal, regional and local governments. However, many of these purchase premiums are only short-term and regional (e.g. in Berlin, Stuttgart, Münster, Cologne), for companies (e.g. in Baden-Württemberg) or solely for particularly large commercial Cargo bikes (federal government). Unfortunately, there is no nationwide purchase premium yet for all private and commercial cargo bikes, as there is in Austria.
The Fahrradmonitor 2017 also collected numbers on the popularity of cargo bikes in Germany. In a representative survey on bicycle use, seven percent of respondents said they could imagine purchasing a cargo bike. However, 16 percent could imagine the use of a cargo bike rental system!
This makes an important point: despite all the joy about the rapid market growth and the new purchase premiums for cargo bikes – more than sales records are needed for a socially equitable and resource-efficient turnaround in traffic policies! Not everyone needs a cargo bike every day, can or wants to afford their own cargo bike or has a parking space for it. Therefore, the cargo bike sharing boom is at least as important as the growth in cargo bike sales.