Research conducted by pedelec and e-bike test authority ExtraEnergy and the German medical insurance company AOK into the attitudes of cyclists towards pedelecs, revealed a major part of the cycling community perceived pedelecs as "expensive". Regardless of whether this perception reflects reality, or not, it might be braking market acceptance.
In 2001 the German medical insurance company AOK and national cycle association ADFC (Allgemeine Deutsche Fahrrad-Club) launched the initiative "With the Bike to Work". Since then it has been repeated every year - with ever bigger support.
The initiative calls on employees to leave their cars at home between 1 June and 31 August and rather commute to and from work with their bikes. Last year 168,000 registered cyclists participated in the national campaign - which was a new record.
2009 was the first year in which pedelec owners were allowed to participate in the initiative. Last year was also the first year in which pedelec and e-bike test authority ExtraEnergy co-sponsored the Bavarian leg of the national initiative, by donating three pedelecs.
Earlier this year ExtraEnergy and AOK conducted research among 2009 participants into their attitudes towards pedelecs. The results of the research was analyzed for ExtraEnergy by Dr. Walter Vogt of the Institute for Roads and Transportation (ISV) at the University of Stuttgart.
The most significant result: Many perceive pedelecs as "expensive" and listed cost as their main ground for not buying a pedelec.
Of all participating in the research, 85% said they cycled to work regularly and 75% were in the age group 36 to 65 years.
Just over 70% said they viewed pedelecs as suited for commuting to and from work and for leisure activity. Roughly 30% said the pedelec was suited for shopping.
This is how the participants responded to the question whether they would buy a pedelec:
* 35% said "yes" without hesitation and without any preconditions;
* 65% said "no, they would not buy a pedelec".
The researchers wanted to know from the "no-sayers" why they won't buy pedelecs.
Of the 65% who said they would not buy a pedelec, 55% said it was too expensive, 27% said they cycle to get fit and didn't want help from an e-motor, 9% said they were still too young and another 9% said they didn't want another bike at home.
Copy: Christoffel Volschenk
30 March 2010