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Electric Bikes Are About To Get More Expensive, And The Timing Couldn’t Be Worse

electric bikes Photo 153500292 © Nicoleta Raluca Tudor | Dreamstime.com
(Photo 153500292 © Nicoleta Raluca Tudor | Dreamstime.com)

By Andrew J. Hawkins

 

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced major new tariffs on Chinese imports, including electric vehicles, batteries, solar cells, and a range of other goods. The goal was to prevent China from flooding the market with cheap products that could endanger domestic manufacturers. But environmental groups warned it could hinder our efforts to meet our climate goals by making things like EVs and solar panels more expensive.

Caught up in all this are electric bikes, those big battery-sporting, sometimes goofy-looking but always fun to ride motorized two-wheelers. E-bikes aren’t just for delivery workers or beach town grannies. They’re important tools for fighting climate change, combating car culture, and improving mental and physical health.

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And now, thanks to President Joe Biden’s tariffs, they’re about to get a whole lot more expensive. And the timing couldn’t be worse.

It’s no secret that China dominates bicycle manufacturing, with one report putting the figure at 86.3 percent of bikes purchased in the US. Many e-bike companies rely on China for most of their components, including frames, batteries, motors, and more. Some e-bike makers are unique, but many, especially at the low end, are little more than nameplates affixed to off-the-shelf Chinese e-bikes assembled from a catalog.

Last week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said that e-bike batteries imported from China would be subject to 25 percent tariffs starting in 2026, up from 7.5 percent. E-bikes and their components imported from China have been subject to 25 percent tariffs since the Trump administration, but US trade officials have used exclusions to keep those levies from kicking in.

Now, those exclusions are set to expire on June 14th, according to Bicycle RetailerSome products, like bike trailers and helmets that are made in China, will still be excluded. But e-bikes, some youth bikes, and other components will now be subject to the 25 percent levy. And that is going to have a major impact on the affordability of e-bikes in the US.

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This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.

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