State of the Ebike Industry: Batteries
July 30, 2021
Many of you, our customers, have reached out to us expressing, in a variety of ways, that you would like to purchase another battery for your ebike. Unfortunately, most people’s attempts to fulfill their desire has resulted in the frustration of unfulfillment. We feel your frustration and in our continued effort for transparency, as to why things are the way they are at the moment, we have authored this piece to keep you informed of why you are unable to obtain a battery for your ebike.
Post-Pandemic Problems Drag On
In March and May of this year, we released pieces detailing the issues affecting the ebike industry and the efforts we were going to overcome these. Unfortunately, the issues of high demand, limited supply, and supply chain backlogs brought on by the pandemic have not let up and there is currently no return to normal visible on the horizon.
Focusing in on the battery component of ebikes, the supply chain issues go all the way back up the chain and down the mines that extract the raw materials -nickel, lithium, and cobalt- used to produce lithium-ion batteries. Battery manufacturers can only work with what they’ve got, and if raw material extraction is behind or slower than before then there is less material available for producing batteries; and this only compounds on top of the aforementioned issues.
But, answers to the ebike battery issue go much deeper than those of raw material and supply chain; and resolving them is not as easy as just sourcing the appropriate high standard, alternative components like we have been able to in the past.
The Electric-Powered Transportation Industry
The ebike industry has seen excellent growth over the last decade, and this has been enhanced by a sustained surge in demand since early 2020. Within the ebike industry, this surge in demand has also seen the birth of many new brands and existing, classic bicycle, companies entering into the ebike sphere. The combination of inflated demand, raw materials shortages, and a growing number of companies offering ebikes collectively increase the demand for ebike batteries from both consumers and ebike manufacturers; resulting in components like batteries becoming even harder and more expensive to source.
The ebike industry isn’t the only burgeoning, battery-hungry industry. There is also the electric and hybrid car market which has been growing at an exceptional pace over the past decade. Demand is expected to continue along this upward trajectory for the foreseeable future, however, industry commentators are warning that it might not be able to hit targets toward the end of the decade, specifically because of an imbalance in battery supply and demand. Additionally, there is a shortage of semiconductors which affects batteries and other electronic components.
We are already seeing the effects of the shortage of raw materials, and with other industries -specifically the motor vehicle industry, which has a lot more capital behind it than the electric bike industry- competing for the current, very finite stock of lithium-ion batteries, we all expect the battery shortage to continue to affect the production capacity of every industry that uses them.
Why not make fewer ebikes?
Some of our customers have asked us why we continue to produce new ebikes instead of providing our current customers with batteries for their ebikes. This is not a nonsensical question however, we are an ebike company. Whilst we would love nothing more than to produce new batteries for every single one of our existing customers, this option just isn’t a viable business model.
We are an ebike company that has dedicated itself to offering high-quality ebikes to our customers; not just batteries. We want more people to “Join the Movement” and continue to grow the ebike community across North America, fostering a greater sense of community and helping to build a wider understanding of and appreciation for ebikes.
Whilst we don’t have a consistent flow of batteries coming in, we will be prioritizing all batteries we do receive to fulfill warranty claims so that we can keep our warranty promise to our existing customers.
We hope that this detailed explanation of why it is difficult for us to procure enough batteries to suit demand has informed you of the position the current global predicament has left us in. We want more than anything to provide for all of our customer’s wants and needs, but factors outside of our control prevent us from fulfilling yours and our dreams when it comes to batteries. We can, however, continue to focus on our mission of providing high-quality ebikes at affordable prices and welcoming new riders to the ebike space, whilst also keeping our warranty promise to those customers who have already purchased Aventon ebikes.