Electric bikes–uncool as they sound–are hot! Another gift from Big Oil, the popularity of these retro cuties is soaring thanks to high gas prices.
Electric bikes are hybrids: They run on old-fashioned pedaling power and have a battery. Electric bikes are perfect for commuters who want to get into the city quickly and cheaply (no gas, parking fees or traffic to contend with). And, electric bikes are better than scooters (no gas, no license or registration required) and little like motorcycles (motorcycle-like throttle kicks in to give you a boost when pedaling uphill).
Prices vary, but you can get an EZIP Trailz electric bike for less than $400. ElecTec’s Electric bike costs just over $1,000. IZIP Trailz Enlightened bikes weigh in at a healthy $1,800. Price varies based on the battery type and the bike’s weight.
Most electric bikes can go at least 20 miles before recharging. Although the cost of electricity varies, fully recharging the battery costs less than a dime.
According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, U.S. consumers bought 10,000 electric bikes in 2007 and sales are on track to be higher by the end of 2008. Amazon reported that its electric bike sales are up 6,000% over last year.
Here’s your opportunity: Pop up your own electric bike store either online or in/near a busy downtown area near you. Sounds scarier than it is, but you can create your own online store in a few hours, and you don’t even need to amass any inventory; just secure manufacturers/suppliers, create an online catalog, set prices that include a decent profit margin, market the heck out of your store, take pre-paid orders and then have those orders drop-shipped to your customers.
E-stores not your thing? Do it the old fashioned way. Rent a storefront (plenty of those empty now) or corner of an empty lot to erect your sales counter (folding table) and bike rack.
Your potential clients are cash-strapped, frazzled commuters looking for relief, bicycle-mounted police and security guards, budding environmentalists, curious gadget-lovers and lazy people pretending to exercise.