We’ve previously reported how e-bike theft has been soaring in the Netherlands even as overall bike theft has been falling. This trend apparently also extends to batteries with three times more having been stolen in 2022 compared to the previous year.
The trend is, at least in part, borne of booming sales. More than half of bikes sold in the Netherlands are electric these days.
NL Times reports that 4,500 batteries were stolen in 2022 versus 1,500 in 2021.
“A battery is easily worth more than 500 euros,” said police. “A stolen bicycle including battery can quickly yield more than 1,000 euros."
While those battery theft numbers are a fraction of the number of bike thefts, it’s quite likely that a huge proportion are not being reported.
SAFE, a non-profit association focused on bike theft, has previously said that police figures account for not much more than 10 per cent of the thefts of unassisted bikes as people often consider reporting one to be a waste of time.
It may well be that e-bike battery thefts are infrequently reported too. A battery is difficult to track, after all, and victims will be aware there other pressures on police time.
Batteries are, nevertheless, valuable items and as the e-bike market matures, there is growing demand for replacements.
"Stealing an e-bike is such a good revenue model for a criminal that they even steal bicycles to fill orders," said Guus Wesselink of SAFE.