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Electric Scooters, Bikes: The Surprising Energy Storage Players

Innovation in energy storage will revolutionize both the power grid and electric vehicles, but what will drive the market’s growth in the short term? According to a report out this morning from Lux Research: electric bikes and scooters.

Yep, those two-wheelers that look so fun to ride and are starting to be embraced in China. While car many companies, startups and investors are focused on battery technology for the next-generation of electric cars, Lux Research analyst Jacob Grose, says “e-bikes and scooters will drive the biggest growth for these batteries in the next five years.”

The total market for batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells for both transportation and the smart grid will grow from $21.4 billion in 2010 to $44.4 billion in 2015, says Lux. During that time electric bikes, or e-bikes, and scooter batteries will grow from being a $6.4 billion market in 2010 to a $10.9 billion market in 2015 (11 percent growth).

In China in the short term lead-acid battery technology will make up 93 percent of scooter and e-bike battery sales, says Lux. But lithium-ion battery technology for e-bikes will actually grow three times faster than lead acid, growing 22 percent through 2015, just from a much smaller base.

Perhaps the growth projections mean life will soon get better for the e-bike and electric scooter startups. Companies like Vectrix have struggled with profitability, but are now getting a helping hand from China’s battery firms.

The co-founder and CEO of electric vehicle maker Mission Motors, Forrest North, told us he thinks the market is now ripe for a higher-performance (and higher price tag) electric scooter technology.

Image courtesy of Mission Motors.

6 Responses to “Electric Scooters, Bikes: The Surprising Energy Storage Players”

  1. I agree that it would be nice to see more American Companies getting into battery and EV technology on a component level. There are, as you mentioned, many US Companies that are developing electric vehicles and technology to support them, but the fact remains that most parts, batteries in particular must be sourced overseas. I have nothing at all against overseas companies that I know nothing about. What I do know is that shipping everything halfway around the world before it gets used is not a sustainable practice. For example, I just ordered enough high quality lithium polymer battery packs to build a 48 volt, 20 amp hour pack, from China. The shipping was of fifth of the cost of the batteries. Still, even keeping shipping in mind, the batteries will end up costing me less than one third of the closest American competitor’s quote. All of the “American” companies I contacted import their batteries anyway. A 48 volt 20 amp hour pack is just enough power to make an e-bike fun for 20-30 miles. The batteries can’t cost $2,000. Lithium Battery import and shipping laws have a lot to do with this problem as well. Thanks for the interesting article! Keep your eyes peeled for the solution to the American electric bike debacle. It’s coming soon.

  2. Thanks again Katie for an intriguing perspective on the developing power grid. Of special interest in this particularly article is information that might prove useful to such stock market investors in energy and the power grid as … well, myself :-) One particular website, Seeking Alpha, in which I have no business relationship, has a host of useful articles on new electric storage technologies and EV’s including some of those mentioned in this article, as well as other green tech and smart grid companies and technologies.

  3. @waltinseattle, we write about American startups and battery makers all the time and actually far more often then Chinese ones because obviously we have more access to American and english-speaking companies. Chinese EV and battery companies have been in the news the last few months because they are one of the world’s biggest markets and changing the entire EV game.

  4. not to be jingoistic, racist or against the Chineese, but to be pro my city and state and close neighbors—it would be nice to hear about American Battery companies. Other than 123 who is focused on the government and the big auto contracts and, unlike the entrepeneurially egalitarian Chineese have no time to waste on us little players in e-bikes