Best Buy eyes expansion for UK's electric bike market

US retail giant gives UK electric bike sector biggest boost yet
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The shock news that the American consumer electronics retailer would be stocking e-bikes in its UK flagship store rocked the cycle trade when it opened at the end of April.

Carrying electric bicycles, lights, helmets and accessories, the first Best Buy store on British soil opened in Thurrock, Essex and will be followed by stores in Hedge End (Southampton) and Merry Hill (West Midlands) in June, followed by Aintree, Liverpool and Croyden, Surrey – all before winter 2010. Best Buy confirmed to BikeBiz that those stores will all stock the e-bike ranges.

“We’ve already seen a healthy level of interest from customers here in the UK,” Simon Jessup, GreenTech manager at Best Buy UK told BikeBiz. “With expert and impartial advice from our Blueshirts, we can help bridge any gap from that interest to the knowledge they need in order to understand if electric transport is right for their life."

Despite not yet glimpsing the level of success seen on the continent and Far East, the electric bike sector is proving increasingly hard to ignore for doubters in the industry.

A growing list of significant retailers and distributors in the cycle industry have entered the e-bike market, such as when Cytech, in March, teamed up with BEBA to offer accredited electric bike maintenance training in the UK (see timeline below).

Jessup added: “We do believe that the electric bike sector will become more popular and are working to drive the sector forward. We’re focused on offering a wide range of products, making them easy to see and try, accessible and affordable through financial services. On top of their green credentials, they offer exemption from road tax and can be run at very low cost.”

www.bestbuy.co.uk

ELECTRIC TIMELINE 2010

January
-Eurobike promises more electric bike focus in 2010 event

February
-Raleigh unveils the Dover Deluxe Premium e-bike
-Velorbis enters e-bike market

March
-Zyro reveals deal to distribute BionX brand in UK
-Cytech announces it will offer accredited e-bike training to dealers
-Halfords launches PR campaign for its revamped electric bike offering

April
-Karbon Kinetics’ Gocycle goes on sale in John Lewis’ Oxford Street flagship store
-Consumer electronics retail chain Best Buy opens first UK store, featuring e-bikes
-GfK figures reveal one in eight bikes in Holland are electric

May
-Eland reveals it will launch free e-bike mag

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