One of the most promising segments in the bicycle industry – the electric bike sector – has received what could be its most significant boost yet: The creation of a new industry body that will, for the first time, look after the interests of the burgeoning business.
The British Electric Bicycle Association (BEBA) has been formed by key manufacturers and distributors of electric bikes, including On Bike (representing E-Motion), Giant, Urban Mover, Ultra Motor, Moore Large (representing Izip), Gepida and Wisper.
Providing a unified voice for the electric bike industry, the association has four core values: improving the market; positive promotion; increasing electric two-wheeled transport use and fair business practice. BEBA will aim to create an environment where electric cycles can thrive, demonstrating how they meet consumer and Government demands for reduced emissions, congestion and transport costs. BEBA will address the reasons why some consumers don’t like riding, too.
BEBA will also aim to increase the use of electric two-wheeled transport by breaking down barriers to cycle use, helping the sector to gain acceptance in Government policies and also make cycling more attractive to a broader customer base. Members will adhere to a code of practice protecting consumers and dealers.
A spokesperson for the new body told BikeBiz: “Having noted a lack of consistency in service levels and quality of product provided to consumers and dealers, BEBA has been established to create an industry-wide standard.
EDUCATION AND PR
“The association will be a PR house to promote the use of electric cycles. Efforts will be focussed on educating consumers about their benefits, giving them an ‘industry stamp’ of recognition for meeting certain service commitments. BEBA will also inject confidence into the market to help manufacturers secure retailers and ultimately increase sales.
“All members will work together as a unified voice to challenge law changes, campaign for an increase in the C2W scheme and to introduce an electric cycle levy.”
BEBA told BikeBiz that its collective voice will be a significant industry influencer and its members will have access to valuable business data – including market sales – without leaking sensitive information to competitors.
E-bikes have been thriving on the Continent, but their potential has yet to be fulfilled in the UK – something Urban Mover’s Mark Loveridge believes will change with BEBA. “We are very excited about the electric cycle industry in the UK,” he told BikeBiz. “BEBA will play a key role in growing the market organically with fair usiness practices that protect consumers and retailers.”
Overseas success for electric bikes can be replicated in Britain, according to Loveridge: “There has been huge growth in Europe and the UK is the next ‘hot’ market. There are many myths that make retailers nervous about electric cycles. We intend to educate consumers and retailers about how far the products have developed, the potential growth and to support them fully with training and the best sales practice.”
BEBA member and Wisper Bikes’ David Miall added: “There is a massive, lucrative and quickly growing market simply waiting for IBDs to become involved in. I believe the first to embrace the sector will see excellent growth in turnover and profitability in 2010.”
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