Is Rad Power the $ 329 million gorilla in the electric bike world?
On Thursday, Rad Power announced that with its last funding round of $ 154 million, it had made a total of $ 329 million in investments since its inception. The company claims that this makes them the best-funded e-bike brand in the world, at least in the direct-to-consumer market. While this is probably true strictly speaking, there are other mega-players in the e-bike space that have the power to further disrupt the regular and e-bike market if they so choose.
Rad Power’s closest competitor in the D2C space would likely be Holland’s VanMoof, which has generated a total of $ 182 million in investment. Rad Power is also generally recognized as the largest seller of e-bikes, by unit volume, in the United States. With a much higher average selling price, the specialty chain remains an important part of the e-bike market, and traditional specialty retailers continue to play a vital role in the market, as Rick Vosper described in an earlier column. This year. .
But there are participants in and around the e-bike industry who already wield tremendous power, and could potentially have even more power – more than Rad Power and more than some of the larger companies currently in the e-bike industry. bike.
Within this industry, Shimano (annual sales of around $ 4 billion) and Giant Group (annual sales of around $ 3 billion) each invest heavily in e-bikes, power-assisted machines electric accounting for about a third of Giant’s revenue this year.
Pon Bike Holdings, after finalizing its planned acquisition of Dorel Sports for $ 810 million, will have annual revenues of around $ 3 billion in the bicycle market and will own major brands of e-bikes, including Gazelle and Charge. Pon’s Dutch rival, Accell Group, is on track for approximately $ 1.6 billion in revenue in 2021; in the first half of 2021, e-bikes represented around 53% of Accell’s business.
India’s Hero Cycles (part of Hero Motor Company, which has annual sales of $ 4.2 billion), considered the world’s largest bicycle maker, is also very active in e-bikes. and electric motorcycles, and has developed strategies for sales in the United States for years.
Chinese electric bike maker Bafang Electric raised $ 189 million on the stock market in 2019.
Even the size of these companies puts Rad Power’s $ 329 million funding into perspective.
But some much larger companies that do most of their business outside of the bicycle market are active, or at least exploring, the electric bicycle market. Companies like Bosch (estimated annual revenue: $ 71 billion), Yamaha ($ 14 billion), Panasonic ($ 73 billion) and Harley-Davidson ($ 5.5 billion). Each of them has the ability to spend years and millions of dollars to develop technologies, supply chains, distribution and marketing strategies that change the market that few or no traditional bicycle companies can. to consider.
And don’t forget Ford ($ 127 billion), GM ($ 122 billion) and Volkswagen ($ 222 billion). Or Tesla ($ 31 billion). These and other major automakers are investing billions and billions in electric vehicle technology, and many have at least shown electric bike concepts, if not actually brought them to market. Volkswagen, for example, launched an e-cargo bike in 2019. Ford has explored e-bike sharing programs and other electric mobility concepts, while GM has spent millions of dollars to develop a line of e-bikes. before withdrawing from this project as the pandemic disrupted his business last year.
My point is not to downplay Rad Power’s influence. If it invests its last injection of cash in US and European production and physical and mobile retail, as promises, it will become even more powerful in the market than it currently is. The point is, in a market segment where technology and retail distribution strategies are essential, there are many interested players with pockets deep enough to change things quickly and profoundly if they want to.
Readers of BRAIN in the specialty channel can take comfort in knowing that as the market for e-bikes grows, the share of the e-bike pie served by specialty retail is likely to increase commensurately. But it’s also likely that a more mature e-bike market will be dominated by companies that eclipse today’s heavyweights in our industry.
Other recent investments in electric bikes to note: