Why Motorhome Owners are Buying Electric Bikes

Each year in the UK around 8,500 new Motorhomes are registered, according to the DVLA (thank you the National Caravan Council for compiling this information), which adds to the over 135,000 motorhomes that are already owned in Britain.  The year on year increase in registrations is currently at around 15%.  Interestingly the UK is the third largest motorhome market in Europe, way behind Germany and France but attributing about 10% of all motorhome ownership in Europe.

Why are Motorhome sales growing?  According to Jenny Summers, the NCC Marketing Director: “We believe that with returning consumer confidence more buyers are being drawn to leisure vehicles because of the lifestyle they enable. It is all about the freedom to explore, getting into the great outdoors and going where you want, when you want to.”

Compare that to Electric bikes where Western Europe is currently the second-largest e-bicycle market in the World behind China, with nearly 1.2 million sales in 2014 expected to increase to just over 3.3 million by 2023. (According to Navigant Consulting “Electrical Bicycles” report 2014).

These are two of the fastest growing leisure markets in the UK, and although relatively niche, they cover very similar demographics, with both being bought primarily by the 55-74 age group.

According to some of Britain’s largest Motorhome retailers, Electric Bikes are one of the most requested accessories by people purchasing new Motorhomes.  This makes sense when you consider the logistics of Motorhome usage.  Space is at a premium, and bikes can be stored on a rack on the external side of a Motorhome, space not utilised by anything else.  Once you arrive at a destination, particularly if ‘pitching’ at a Caravan site, you want to hook up to the electric and water supply and then ideally leave your vehicle there for the days you’re in that area.  Finding car park spaces big enough for a Motorhome in the local village can be problematic, as can concerns over security.  So ideal if you have a secondary means of transport once you’ve stopped somewhere.

Bikes in general, are great but for many, there’s a limit on how many miles and the type of terrain you can traverse on a standard push bike.  So that’s where electric bikes come into their own, they provide pedal assistance to conquer hills and travel for often up to 50 miles on one battery charge.  The inclusion of folding electric bikes in many retailers is also welcomed because once you’re at home with your Motorhome in storage or up your drive, you have to store the bikes somewhere, and the folding ebikes allow you to find a small space, even in the aisle of your Motorhome to store them.

Some Motorhome hire companies such as McRent are now providing bike racks as an extra hiring option, which demonstrates how popular bikes are for Motorhome users.  We’re just waiting for them to start hiring out electric bikes too!

Most Motorhome manufacturers have approved bike racks or their own bike racks which usually attach to the rear of the Motorhome, and this is a great place to store electric bikes when travelling as they don’t block your view through your wing mirrors or take up valuable storage space inside the vehicle.

What about charging your Electric Bike in a Motorhome?
One question we’ve received from Motorhome users about electric bikes, is how much electricity they consume when charging, and whether this can be done inside the Motorhome.  First of all most electric bikes (but not all, so check before you buy) have removable and lockable battery units, so yes you can take them off and charge them up inside your Motorhome.

How much electricity will it consume?  Most electric bike batteries are 36V 10AH, a 360W power requirement when charging, about 1.5A.  With most caravan sites limiting their power supply to 10a-16A, and Motorhome circuit breakers usually limiting to 10A you shouldn’t have a problem charging your batteries.  For further information about power usage of appliances and limits see this article by The Camping and Caravanning Club.

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