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eBikes & eCommerce: The Rise of Tech Startup, Swytch Bike

Is it a bird, is it a plane?! There’s a new familiar sight across towns and cities both in the UK and worldwide.

The eBike and eScooter revolution is taking the world by storm with 2019 registering the highest growth in eBike sales in the UK by far, according to Halfords.

Forbes also highlights that eBike sales are rising massively each year, with 17 million new eBike purchases a year expected by 2019.

Despite the relatively confusing rules and regulations surrounding eBike legislation in the UK, the BBC found that buyers are unperturbed and continuing to buy eBikes for use both on and off-road.

But what is catalysing this chain reaction of new eBike purchases, and who are the emerging players in the eBike market?

eBikes: Where Technology Meets The Environment

eBikes represent a rare synthesis of environmentalism and technological development, following in the tracks of electric vehicles.

eBikes have been around for over 20 years but huge investment into battery and motor research has made the eBikes of today into something all the more wieldy, efficient and effective in performance.

One of the key motivators of eBikes is that they enable users to travel relatively long distances in an environmentally friendly way. Some eBikes have a range beyond 80 miles, more if the user pedals hard for a good portion of the journey. This makes long-distance travel safe and efficient, especially given that eBike users are not obliged to travel solely on the road and can head cross-country too.

The environmental benefits of eBikes are clear, even when factoring in the production costs of batteries and motors. Batteries and motors are also becoming more sustainable to manufacture, so the eco-friendly nature of eBikes is only set to rise.

BikeRadar found that eBikes have an even lower carbon footprint than conventional bikes as they burn fewer calories per ride (and thus the rider doesn’t need to consume more food as energy for longer rides).

Swytch: eBikes Without the Cost

Three of the biggest barriers to eBike purchase and adoption are:

  • The cost of eBikes (£2000 minimum spend in most cases)
  • The fact that many people already own a bike
  • Confusion about the rules and legalities surrounding eBike use on roads and in public spaces

Additionally, one of the main barriers to the retail of eBikes (and any bikes) from an eCommerce perspective is the cumbersome size and weight of a bike, making shipping tricky, expensive and not internationally viable.

Swytch, a tech startup that was listed on the Startup 100 list in 2020, sought to solve some of these issues.

Swytch’s goal was to create an eBike conversion kit that users could attach to their existing bicycle. The kit is small, weighing some 3kg, provides a power boost suitable for the vast majority of moderate eBike users (e.g. for commuting), is environmentally friendly to produce and is built to conform to rules and regulations.

The success of Swytch is attributed to the product as well as the ethos behind the product. Not only is it cheaper than buying a new eBike (costing <£500), but it’s also easy for customers to realise the environmental benefits of attaching an eBike kit to their own bike. Customers can take their kit with them when they buy a new bike, and can even take the kit abroad without too much hassle.

From an eCommerce perspective, Swytch also solves the conventional-issue of bicycle eCommerce: shipping and international sales. Swytch’s packs are portable and easy to retail worldwide. They’ve already gained considerable traction in the US and across Europe.

Swytch: An Archetypal Problem-Solving Product

2020 and 2021 have reignited the fires of innovation, as we can see from many growing businesses such as the likes of Tala & Shreddy, Asos, Deliveroo and Gymshark but to name a few - you can check out our posts and analysis of these businesses via our blog.

Swytch is a product that solves both practical and ethical/environmental issues, which is a tremendous boon right now in business.

Any business that empowers the customer with an effective product that assists them in achieving personal and global progress towards a greener world is rightly in the vogue.

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