PowaCycle’s managing director Wazz Mughal talks to BikeBiz about the limitations of the market, why moving the technology forward can be a slow process and much more…
BikeBiz: You recently told BikeBiz that the UK e-bike market spend is capped at around £1,500 to £2,000 – why do you think this is?
Wazz Mughal: There does seem to be a block on people spending more than around £1,500 – £2,000 on an electric bicycle. My thoughts on this are that the people who would spend more than this on a bicycle are pure cycling enthusiasts. These cycle enthusiasts do not buy electric bicycles.
The way people use bicycles in the UK is very different to the way people in other European countries use them, which is perhaps why the amount that people are prepared to spend on a bicycle in the UK is less.
What are the biggest challenges facing the UK electric market?
The biggest challenge facing the UK electric bicycle market at the moment is still the same in my view and that is making people aware of what an electric bicycle is and how they can save you money. As the cost of transport is increasing, electric bicycles really are becoming an alternate mode of transportation, as opposed to a leisure pursuit luxury.
You’re now selling product abroad – which territories are you focusing on and how are they doing?
We have been selling large quantities of our high-end Infineum branded bikes into Holland. Our PowaCycle and Infineum brands are also starting to appear more in the Czech Republic. We are also looking into other territories and are in discussions with various potential distributors.
Do you foresee any improvements in battery technology and thus the range of bikes in future? And are reductions on the base price of batteries in sight yet?
Battery technology is something that is continuously being looked at. There are other technologies available that have better power to weight ratios, however the cost makes them not commercially viable at the moment.
Perhaps as these technologies become more known and used with the resultant cost drop in manufacturing they may appear in electric bicycles. The price of batteries in the current chemistries I do not see coming down in the foreseeable future. This is due to the cost of materials, labour involved in manufacturing and of course the rate of inflation not just in our own country, but also in the countries where the batteries are produced.
What improvements have you worked into both the PowaCycle and Infineum lines in the new line?
On the PowaCycle range we have bought out two new models, the Riga and Prague. These bikes feature new frame designs giving a new look and also displays on the handlebars. We are anticipating these bikes to sell very well in the UK.
On the Infineum we have a new gents model available, and we are looking into bringing in a couple of cheaper models that still utilise the patented stackable battery tech.
Has the demographic of who buys an e-bike changed at all, either at home or abroad?
In the last few years, the demographic in our opinion has not shifted much.
Why should dealers who have so far been reluctant to commit to electrics now commit?
It gives the dealers another product they can sell and servicing is not very different to that of a normal bicycle. The only difference is there are a few modular electrical components that are very easy to replace.
We do not have minimum order quantities for dealers so I would encourage them all to get in touch with us and discuss the benefits and opportunities that they could enjoy by selling electric bicycles.
What improvements to a bike’s technology do you foresee coming in the next five years?
I think over the next few years we may see some changes in battery technology. I would also expect electric bicycles to look even more like normal bicycles than they already do, with the additional components that electrify them being disguised more and in novel ways.
How should interested dealers get in touch with PowaCycle?
Contact us on 01279 821243 or