Great thread! I know this is an old one, (came up with a google search
) but I will add also:
Depends on your market, if you're going to try and mass-market like Walmart, good luck competing with them, better to do like Tesla, start high end with low quantities, make a name for your self with each successive new offering being more affordable as you can pay to get the infrastructure to increase your production.
The main reason you don't see E-Zipps being sold at Walmart anymore to speak of, is they went the opposite approach, cheap and lots of it.
Probably got them a nice pay-day at the cost of a short-term market, much like the average bicycle sold is a good way to get people interested in the idea of bicycling, but only the serious ones then appreciate a better quality bike sold at a bike shop. Unfortunately many are just turned off on bicycles in general, probably part of the reason young people don't ride them much anymore.
Curry Technologies has come a long way since the the lead sled "electro drives" and now offer some of the most affordable high quality pre-built E-Bikes around.
I have found the best market in my area to be aging baby-boomers and those unable to drive for various reasons, but I don't have to sell the bikes, they sell themselves once they go for a test ride.
Have yet to have one sit for any length of time (maybe a month at most?) but building up inventory slowly until we have more funds to play with.
Ideally, we would love to have around 5 - 10 bikes in the showroom at all times, but based on the demand so far (just sold a bike a week ago even in the midst of the snow and ice!) it won't be too much trouble.
I appreciate companies like E-Bike kit for making the basic kits available for LBS's through J & B, but I feel that selling a higher quality kit such as the BBS02 as sold by Luna Cycles will reap much greater rewards in the end.
Simply put, I have nothing against Yugo's, but I'd rather sell the E-Bike equivalent of a Toyota Camry.
People who buy Toyota's or Honda's tend to be more concerned about quality and service, and are willing to pay what it's worth VS the guy at Walmart who only has $500 and wants "something cheap" and then tells all his friends what a piece of crap his bike is.
I would never try to compete with Walmart's ability to sell huge volume.
Also, the best "advertising" for E-Bikes is being courteous, friendly, and passing cars stuck in traffic (In the bike lane
) while climbing steep hills from what I have seen personally.
Sonders has done E-Biking a great service at getting something affordable out there that doesn't suck, but honestly, again, I'd rather sell a higher price point higher performing E-Bike.
Having riding clubs for E-Bikes would be great too, perhaps some of the bicycle clubs out there with older members will start to be more open to the idea of E-Assist bikes in their rides with injuries preventing some riders from otherwise joining in.