E-bike conference examines the future and sets priorities for growth next year
by Mark Sani on Bicycle Retailer
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Some 60 industry executives, most affiliated with the e-bike industry, took time at a conference Thursday to review its recent successes and to set new goals for 2017.
But influencing legislation, building a sound research base, developing policy, securing grants, mapping routes and a dozen other goals takes money.
And that’s the first message Larry Pizzi, chairman of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association’s e-bike committee, delivered to attendees Thursday in a conference room adjacent to Interbike’s offices. Interbike hosted the one-day meeting.
BPSA members dug deep in what Pizzi noted had been a tough year, committing $289,500 to the effort — an amount just shy of the $300,000 needed to earn a $100,000 bonus grant from the BPSA’s general budget. But Pizzi said he expects to hit that $300,000 goal soon. “This category is turning into a huge opportunity in North America,” he said.
E-bikes have saved the bicycle industry in Europe, Pizzi added.
And hitting that $300,000 goal got a boost when Ed Benjamin, the North American representative for Bafang Motor Technology, a Chinese company, announced that Bafang would kick in $10,000 to support the industry’s efforts. Benjamin, also a senior managing director at eCycleElectric, said Bafang has offices near Shanghai and an official there called him at 4 a.m. Thursday morning with the news.
The BPSA’s e-bike committee makes recommendations on how funds are spent and the BPSA board approves the expenditures. “I’m very optimistic about what will happen in 2017,” Pizzi said.
The conference, a joint program between PeopleForBikes and the BPSA, noted some key legislative gains in three states: Utah and Tennessee adopted an e-bike classification system, while North Carolina legalized e-bikes in accord with the federal definition for powered bicycles…