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BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Electric bikes may be the bicycle industry's next big thing if German users are anything to go by.
Demand in Germany, one of Europe's largest markets for electronic bicycles along with the Netherlands, tripled in 2010 and is set to grow by 50 percent to 300,000 this year, according to bicycle industry association ZIV.
This attitude reflects a broader trend in Germany, where the Greens party is gaining popularity, for people to buy a range of
"green," environmentally friendly products.
ZIV spokesman Stephan Schreyer told Reuters that while early E-bike models were "big, heavy and simply unsexy," new models were more attractive and some product lines had already sold out in the first four months of this year, helped by smaller motors and features like leather seats, a silver or black color scheme and various gadgets.
E-bikes, the most popular of which cost up to 3,000 euros and weigh about 30 kg, are likely to take 10-15 percent of the 630 million euro ($900 million) German bicycle market, up from 5 percent, he said.
"Quality is important for clients today and they are more conscious of health and environmental issues," Schreyer said.
Reporting by Kalina Oroschakoff, editing by Karolina Tagaris