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Flywheel: Benchmarking Washington DC’s Used Ebike Market | Vehicles from NIU, Pedego, EBC, Polaris, & Fuell
Benchmarking Washington DC’s Used Ebike Market & featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the owned and used micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight an observation of trends emerging in the industry and feature five of the most interesting used vehicles being sold in the secondary market.
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The observation of the week benchmarks Washington DC’s used ebike market. This week’s featured vehicles are a cruiser-style cargo bike, three commuters, and a cruiser.
Observation of the Week
Benchmarking Washington DC’s Used Ebike Market
Last week, Washington DC became the latest major US metro to roll out an ebike subsidy. The DC Council unanimously approved an income-based tiered subsidy last Tuesday, and has allocated $500K towards the program. Half of those dollars are set aside for residents who qualify for public assistance, and there’s even a voucher alternative for those who may not be able to afford the cost of an ebike up front.
As discussed in a previous edition of Flywheel regarding Denver’s ebike subsidy program, ebike subsidies are a critical tool cities can leverage to reduce car trips and transportation-related emissions. It’s exciting to see Washington DC join the growing list of regions taking the initiative to make ebikes more accessible. A breakdown of Washington DC’s subsidy program:
“For lower-income residents eligible for SNAP and TANF:
Up to $2,000 for the purchase of a qualifying cargo e-bike
Up to $1,500 for the purchase of a qualifying e-bike
Up to $300 for a replacement battery
Up to $250 for annual maintenance
Up to $250 for e-bike parts to accommodate riders with disabilities.
Up to $150 for a bike lock
For all other residents:
Up to $1,000 for the purchase of a qualifying cargo e-bike
Up to $750 for the purchase of a qualifying e-bike
Up to $150 for a replacement battery2
Up to $125 for e-bike parts to accommodate riders with disabilities
Up to $25 for annual maintenance
Up to $75 for a bike lock”
In honor of Washington DC launching this program, this week’s Flywheel benchmarks DC’s secondary ebike market against its peer US ebike markets (SF - Bay Area, LA, Seattle, NYC, Denver, and Miami).
Average Number of Active Listings per Week
Washington DC is still a small market compared to the likes of SF - Bay Area or LA, but the subsidy is surely going to be a big factor that will help the region catch up in the coming year.
Average Resale Price
The top 5 ebike brands/OEMs in Washington DC’s secondary market are (in order) Trek, Rad Power, Gazelle, Giant, and Specialized. Given that this skews heavily towards dealer-network and performance/premium brands, it’s no surprise that Washington DC has the highest used ebike average resale price.
Washington DC’s average mileage is largely in track with the average mileages of other regions where riding is predominantly recreational or via recreation/performance-focused ebikes. As DC’s subsidy program makes ebikes more accessible to those who need them for their daily trips, this mileage should increase to match if not surpass areas like NYC and SF - Bay Area.
For more observations and resources on owned and used micromobility, check out rideflywheel.com/resources.
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Featured Vehicles of the Week
The NIU BQi-C3 is a class-3 smart stepthru commuter. NIU is one of the world’s leading escooter brands that has recently been expanding the diversity of their vehicle lineup. While the BQi-C3 isn’t their first ebike, it’s probably their best. Its powertrain features a 45Nm rear hub motor and two swappable battery packs with a total capacity of 960Wh that are sleekly integrated into the frame. This powertrain is one of the safest you can find on an ebike today. Not only is it UL 2849 certified, its battery packs come with NIU’s paatented “NIU ENERGY BMS” that monitors for 14 types of battery failures and “has safely carried riders more than 7 billion miles.” The BQi-C3 is an excellent ebike for urban riders. In addition to its highly performant and safe powertrain, it features a Gates carbon belt drive, puncture resistant KEVLAR tires, and integrated racks and lighting to maximize the vehicle’s utility and minimize maintenance. The vehicle also has a very well designed app that provides ride data, navigation/maps, vehicle controls, etc. One negative about the BQi-C3 is that is has mechanical disc brakes vs. more robust hydraulic brakes, which is particularly unfortunate on a vehicle that can hit 28mph. However, the lack of hydraulic brakes is unsurprising given that the vehicle already packs in twin battery packs and a belt drive at an affordable ~2K price point. This listing is brand new and in its original packaging. NIU is currently running a sale on new BQi-C3s and is selling them for $1,299, but this listing is a great alternative option if you’re looking to skip the wait time and save on shipping and taxes. Listing can be found here.
The Pedego Stretch is a versatile class-2 cargo bike capable of extensive customization. What sets it apart is its unique chassis design, which combines Pedego’s iconic cruiser geometry with a longtail cargo bike form factor and a 400lbs payload capacity. Its integrated rear rack is highly modular and is composed of a series of detachable tubes that allow you to configure the rack’s length, width, etc. Its powertrain features a 40.5Nm geared rear hub motor and a 624Wh battery pack. While this is a fairly modest powertrain compared to that of other cargo bikes, the Stretch’s throttle (rare among cargo bikes) is an incredibly valuable feature that maximizes the Stretch’s utility as a practical minivan replacement. The Stretch has smaller 24-inch wheels, which give it a low center of gravity while still maintaining a sufficiently high attack angle. This listing was bought in 2018 and has a Flywheel estimated mileage of 857.63mi. It comes with custom wooden skirts, front and rear cargo boxes, and fenders. Listing can be found here.
The Electric Bike Co Model Y is a class-2/class-3 beach-style cruiser that has consistently earned accolades as one of the best cruisers in the market. While it's technically marketed as a women's bike, its versatile design features, high-performance components, and extensive customization options make it an excellent choice for riders of all genders and preferences. Its powertrain features a 60Nm rear-hub motor and a 504Wh battery, and can be easily configured between class-1, class-2, or class-3 modes. The Model Y’s battery is unique due to its safety-minded design. Each cell in the pack has its own fuse, which helps dramatically reduce the risk of thermal runaway and thereby a battery fire. The Electric Bike Company manufactures all of its ebikes in the United States and aims to provide a very hands-on experience for its customers. Virtually every part on their vehicles can be customized, and EBC’s customer support and maintenance network is vast and easily accessible. This listing is 5 years old and comes with an alarm accessory and an upgraded fast charger. Listing can be found here.
The Polaris Urban Assault is a high-performance class-1 commuter. It’s built on Polaris’s custom 2.0 motor drive system, which features a 250W (~45Nm) rear hub motor and a 504Wh ProRide battery pack capable of regenerative braking. Pedal assistance is determined by Polaris’s BioSync motor controls system, which uses a cadence and a torque sensor to determine motor output, automatically change gears, and switch between a high-speed and high-torque mode. Rounding out the Urban Assault is a front fork suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, and an 8-speed transmission. Ultimately, the Urban Assault is an agile vehicle that brings a hybrid/sports frame to the commuter use-case. Polaris once used to produce some of the most high-quality ebikes in the market, but has since exited the micromobility game. While their bikes were extremely well built, high prices and a mismatch between their existing customer base and the applications their ebikes were designed for led to Polaris winding down their ebike business. As such, it’s important to note that Polaris ebikes are tricky ebikes to buy used since their maintenance options and replacement parts are hard to come by. This listing is in excellent condition (Flywheel estimated mileage of 562.44mi) and comes with a recently upgraded battery pack, a rear rack, and a custom narrower handlebar. Listing can be found here.
The Flluid-1S is a premium class-3 commuter ebike designed by iconic motorcycle designer Erik Buell’s micromobility brand Fuell. As expected given its price point and pedigree, the Flluid-1S is filled to the brim with an impressive array of high-end components and a Tron-like futuristic design. Its powertrain features a custom 100Nm Bofeili mid-drive motor and a dual battery setup with an aggregate capacity 1008Wh. The pedal assistance is determined by a torque sensor, and the powertrain is combined with a Gates Carbon belt drive, a 5-speed Shimano Nexus transmission, a front fork, and a suspension seat post to make the Flluid-1S one of the smoothest and most intuitive riding ebikes in the market. The Flluid-1S also takes after tech-forward D2C ebikes like VanMoof or Cowboy and incorporates several state of the art software features (i.e. GPS tracking, a rear wheel kick-lock, and a PIN code key). This listing is brand new and sold by trailer and motorsports retailer Complete Trailers. It even comes with its own VIN to track ownership. Listing can be found here.
That’s it for this edition. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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