Electric bikes are one of the more exciting offerings of the green economy at present and will only get more exciting in the future. If you live somewhere that is reasonably bike-friendly, this option is highly recommended for any of the five reasons outlined below.
Firstly, an e-bike is an incredibly efficient mode of transportation, primarily because it is very light, but also because electric drive is highly efficient. The figure below from shrinkthatfootprint.com shows how efficient a bike is in terms of carbon emissions (energy consumption). Note that the “indirect fuel” component of the footprint of cycling is related to all that fat you’ll be burning while cycling and will be similar for electric energy consumption with an e-bike.
Secondly, an e-bike allows you to keep your gasoline-powered car without any guilt. Under most circumstances, one still requires the conveniences of a gasoline-powered car to live efficiently in our modern society (especially if you have a family). Buying an e-bike and committing to using it for all trips where the range and carrying capacity of the car are not vital will drastically cut down on both the environmental impact and costs associated with a car.
Thirdly, an e-bike is great for your health which, as discussed in the first chapter of the One in a Billion project, is vitally important. Of course, if you are very fit (or you simply live in a very flat area), a regular bike is also a great option, but the effort of biking will keep most people from using a regular bike as a primary mode of transport. With an e-bike, however, there is no such excuse. In fact, you can arrive at your destination feeling refreshed (not tired and sweaty) and often complete the trip in a similar amount of time as you would have by car.
Fourthly, an e-bike is very an affordable up-front investment. Decent entry level e-bikes can be acquired for around $1000 which should really be easily affordable for any developed world citizen. Really the only legitimate reason for not buying an electric bike is if your environment is very bike-unfriendly making it stressful or even dangerous to cycle.
Finally, an e-bike offers a very convenient mode of transportation. You will face little problems related to traffic jams or parking, little hassle when it comes to maintenance and none of the range anxiety associated with EVs. It really combines the best of both worlds (bikes and motorized transport).
So, why not give it a try? In the worst case, if it just doesn’t work for you, you can simply sell it. E-bikes have pretty good resale value.
Filed under: Consumption patterns – The green economy