2021 by the numbers: Shared e-bikes in the UK

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While the UK’s micromobility hot topic in 2021 has been the rise and rise of shared e-scooters, e-bikes have not gone away.

Indeed, the UK has been following the lead of many other countries in Europe (and elsewhere) by gradually adding shared e-bikes to existing fleets, as well as launching a number of dedicated e-bike operations.

However, as the shared e-bike market is much more mature and a slower-growing one than e-scooters, the numbers have not quite been as stellar as in the Department for Transport sponsored, but largely privately funded, e-scooter trials. 

At the end of 2021:

  • 16,000 shared e-bikes, compared with 20,000 shared e-scooters.
  • 2,500 of these are electric bikes, also known as pedelecs or pedal-assist. 
  • 11,500 (or 68%) of these are in London.        
  • 10,000 (or 60%) of these are in the Santander Cycles fleet in central London. 
  • 1130 of these are in the West Midlands Cycle Hire, which launched in 2021 and is the largest e-bike fleet outside of London. 
  • 700 electric bikes in Lime’s London operation (formerly the JUMP fleet, run by Uber) form the largest electric bicycle fleet in the UK
  • 200 Voi bikes in Cambridge form the largest electric fleet outside of London. 
  • 34 fleets in total: 11 purely manual, 16 purely electric fleets and 7 combined manual/electric fleets.

During 2021:

  • 10 e-bicycle fleet launches: TIER in London and York, Bewegen in Inverness and Lothian, Beryl’s cargo e-bikes in Hackney – the first in the UK, Co-Bikes in Falmouth, Voi in Cambridge, Kettering and Peterborough, and Ride-On in Leicester.
  • Two mixed manual/electric fleet launches: West Midlands Cycle Hire and Manchester’s Bee Network Cycle Hire. Manchester’s launched as a limited test and will likely grow considerably in 2022 to rival West Midlands as the UK’s largest outside of London.
  • Zero purely manual bikeshare launches. The last “manual only” launch was in fact was way back in summer 2019 (in Hereford).
  • One relaunch: Human Forest in London, with a different bicycle supplier. They are also about to launch shared e-mopeds.
  • Three closures: Serco’s Edinburgh’s fleet closed, a commercial decision caused in part by vandalism rates. Nextbike closed in the University of Warwick, perhaps out-competed by the Voi e-scooter scheme there and the new West Midlands Cycle Hire which subsequently extended to include the campus. Finally, YoBike finally closed for good in Bristol, although it had been a skeleton operation for some time. 
  • Four suspensions: Cardiff and neighbouring Vale of Glamorgan paused their part-electric fleet operations, as did Voi in Peterborough, both due to persistent vandalism issues, and Stirling has paused for extended maintenance. Except for Voi, all of these are Nextbike systems – Nextbike itself has just been bought by TIER. 
  • Two launches failed to happen – Big Issue Bikes in Aberdeen and Dott in London. The former has blamed component shortages. 

In 2022 Zag Daily will be looking at the shared e-bike market in depth. We expect the big fleets in the West Midlands and Manchester to grow and consolidate, while London’s venerable Santander Cycles are expected to finally include electric bicycles in their fleet. 

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