WHY CONSIDER AN ELECTRIC BIKE?
Ask anyone about electric vehicles, and you will hear "it's a good idea, but, you know, the battery technology just isn't there yet ' " Well, the good news is that the world has changed, and affordable electric vehicles are here today, in the form of electric bicycles.
Detroit icon Lee Iacocca told the story at 1997's International Electric Vehicle Symposium in Orlando, FL about how Thomas Edison promised Henry Ford a battery and motor that would be practical for an auto, back in the 1930s. "70 years later," said Iacocca, "we still don't have it."
Iacocca is right. Electric cars are tantalizingly close, but still in the future. If you look at an electric car through the paradigm of today's fossil fuel auto, they don't go as far and are more expensive to buy. -- -
The most popular vehicle in the world today is the bicycle. There are over 1.4 billion bicycles in service today, and only about 340 million cars. Far more humans ride a bicycle every day than drive a car. Let's look at the E-bike
How Do They Work?
E-bikes can go farther and faster than conventional bicycles. The electric bicycle is easier to pedal, a LOT easier! They can be quickly recharged almost anywhere, or batteries can be exchanged instantly, like cellular phones. They can be serviced by any bicycle repair facility, from the high-end bike shops of Europe to the street-comer repairmen of India and China. They look great, and the price, performance, quality and comfort of existing E-bike makes them very attractive to consumers.
In the U.S. the "bicycle business" has limited itself to customers who were willing to, or even wanted to, sweat and exercise on a bicycle. That's about 3 million of the 265 million people who live in the U.S. Given that about 20% of human beings cannot ride a bike, because of age, illness or injury, that leaves about 209 million people who could be, but are not, bike customers. Since you do not have to sweat, and the E-bike is easier to ride and more comfortable than a conventional bike, this huge number of people represents a market for this technology. The market for E-bikes could be twenty times the market for bicycles. Remember that every time the bicycle has become easier to pedal, or more comfortable, sales have boomed. Just think of the balloon tire in the 30's, the English Racer in the late 50's, the 10-speed in the 70's, and the Mountain Bike in the 80's.
Who will buy them?
Americans love nature and the out of doors, it is part of our national heritage. Unfortunately, too many people have come to experience nature out the window of a car, while sliding down a ski slope, or on TV Given the opportunity to enjoy the out of doors on a silent, affordable steed, millions will choose to do so. But most of them prefer not to sweat. The E-bike will suit many millions of these folks. It is silent, does not stink or vibrate, is inexpensive and reliable.
E-bikes don't just appeal to recreational riders, they cut across many other market segments. Seniors want to get outdoors and get exercise, but are not always able to pedal themselves up a hill. Older folks are already the biggest market for E-bikes, and that will continue for a while.
Aging Baby Boomers are finding that gravity is getting more irksome every year. Historically fitness and outdoors oriented, they are going to turn to E-bikes as a way to extend their present habits and preferences. Commuters, frustrated with traffic congestion, and rising costs of car ownership, find E-bikes a very practical transportation choice.
Folks coming off the welfare rolls in today's booming economy, but who cannot afford a car, will find electric bikes give them independence and freedom of movement. Fitness riders will be glad to hear that electric bikes promise to be a potent fitness tool. When used as a power assisted bike, the rider's input is significant, and can continue over a longer period of time than on a regular bike. Longer workouts as a result of an easier to pedal, more comfortable bikes mean better results.
One of the most significant markets to date has been police and other law enforcement agencies. A bicycle cop that arrives at the scene out of breath learns to appreciate electric power quickly. The police officer on an electric bike will often be the first on the scene, beating both patrol cars and conventional bicycles.
E-bikes are also proving popular with meter readers, park rangers, golf course workers, industrial users, indoor plant messengers, and countless other categories of workers. Delivery in traffic congested areas is already a major use of the bicycle. Electric bikes will allow those workers to be more productive.
Who will benefit?
Everyone will benefit from having improved access to efficient and clean transportation. Massive social, economic and environmental benefits that will be gained by reducing petroleum dependency, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Many specific interest groups also stand to gain from the growth of this industry.
Electric motor makers will sell millions of motors. Technology that was developed at enormous cost for electric cars ($500+ million was spent on research in 1996 alone) is making low cost, lightweight, high efficiency motors available that deliver far more power.
Battery makers will sell millions of units, not only at OEM for production, but to replace aging battery packs, and to upgrade earlier versions as battery technology continues it's rapid evolution. Hundreds of millions have also been spent developing batteries for cars, batteries that will see their first widespread use on bicycles, scooters and ultra light PEVs.
Investors in electric bicycle producers, motor producers, and battery companies stand to benefit greatly.The normally staid transportation industry is about to see an explosion of vehicle choices for consumers, with electric bikes paving the way for a diverse array of small and lightweight vehicles, including electric scooters, and electric power boards. Early investors could find themselves participating in providing the world with one of the most universal and fastest growing products in human history.Bicycle retailers will have a dynamic product to re-energize their painfully mature industry. And bicycle manufacturers will experience a new, high margin product. Even if only 3% of all new U.S. bicycle units become electric (achieving 4.5 million units per year), the higher value of those units will become important profit centers to bike makers.
Transportation Planners and urban designers will have a popular transportation tool that will decrease air pollution, increase the capacity of roadways by reducing auto trips, and will help produce improvements in service levels, emissions, congestion, and parking demands. California and other states have mandated certain percentages of vehicles sold there to be electric. These percentages could be met with E-bikes and other light PEVs. Federal and State agencies should shift some of their support to include Electric Bikes. If their goals of public subsidies and mandates are to cut pollution, E-bikes are much more cost effective than the millions given only to Detroit.
Distributors and entrepreneurs who begin to specialize in marketing, renting and selling electric bikes will benefit as well as being know as "the first" in their region. Perhaps early E-Bike franchisees will in the future be as enviable as the early franchisees of horse-less carriages, or those now-universal golden arches.
Electric scooters and other small electric vehicles should also enjoy greater success, aided by the general awareness of electric bikes and the need for non-polluting transportation.
Why should I even consider an electric bike?
Not many of us are Tour de France or triathlon cyclists. In fact, many of us are racing just to keep up with our daily work and family routines. Electric bikes are for people who are ready to rediscover the priceless value and fun of getting back outside with the kids or entire family and who desire low-impact exercise. Electric bikes are also great companions for city-residence work/home commuting and people who want to easily get back into nature site seeing.
Is the design of electric bikes clean and classic?
E-bike models have been designed with the sophisticated, fun-loving adult well in mind. Of course, if you want to mount a basket on front of either model, go right ahead! Wouldn't that be perfect for picking up some French bread, Brie cheese, a nice Chardonnay and a bouquet of flowers at the local market?
Can a rider travel very far or very fast on an electric bike?
With one six-hour charge a rider can go up to 30 miles at 25mph. Distances and mileage depend, of course, on such factors as terrain and weather.
Why is an electric bike heavier than my current bike?
Most electric bikes today average between 50 or more pounds-coincidentally, about the same average weight as two bags of groceries or the briefcase of an overworked, stressed-out professional. Yes, electric bikes are heavier than non-electric bikes, but they are far from being clunky and unmanageable. In fact, most electric bikes today are well balanced for easy, strain-free handling.
How complicated is the battery recharging process?
Where can I ride with an electric bike?
· Take bike's recharging cord in hand
· Plug into any standard household 110V electric outlet (which is to say the outlet your toaster, coffeemaker, or garage radio uses)
· Find something else to do for six hours
· Saddle up and ride
Electric bike designers and engineers create bikes that are able to comfortably handle both smooth paved paths and rugged, uneven gravel trails. Of course, no E- bike was designed for leaping tall buildings in a single bound or submerging in the murky, unfathomed depths of mud and sludge potholes.
How do I go from regular pedaling to electric assisted pedaling?
Going from regular pedaling to electric assisted pedaling is really simple. A conveniently located switch on the right handlebar turns on or off the power assist feature. On certain E-bikes you must pedal to allow the motor to activate automatically to power assist your pedaling.
Are electric bikes comfortable?
There are several things E-bike designers and engineers are really big on:
· Preserving our environment
· Producing electric bikes that are stylish, rugged and ergonomic
· Really comfy, supportive, easily adjusted seats
Do electric bikes have gears like ten and twelve speed bikes?
Yes. Certain E-bikes have a 7-speed or greater gearing system while others have a 3-speed gearing system. These gears, along with the power-assisted electric motor, help you ride up hills without a dramatic reduction in speed and help you "gear down" to a controllable speed when descending a hill.
Is it harder to brake on an electric bike?
No. The handlebar mounted braking controls on electric bikes are very similar to conventional bikes and work similarly.
Why are companies developing environmentally correct, zero-emissions electric bikes?
Most accomplished, responsible designers and engineers who believe it's time to take decisive action in preserving the one thing people all over the world share: the environment. Building non-polluting vehicles is a giant step toward achieving this. Electric bikes are an important part of their broader personal mobility initiative.
What about Electric scooters?
Scooters are fun, practical and economical. They're great for commuting, camping, errands, or just plain cruising. The two-wheelers fold up for easy transport - stash one in your trunk, carry one onto the train, or pack one in your RV. Physically challenged? Check out the three-wheelers.
Why An Electric Scooter?
Because electric scooters are battery powered, they are emission-free and extremely quiet. No fumes or noises to offend your neighbors or the environment. They're perfect for use in an arena, convention center, manufacturing plant or any other indoor space.
Written by: Eco Shop
|CLEANING PRODUCTS||CLOTHING||COMPUTER PRODUCTS|
|ECO KIDS||ECO TRAVEL||EDUCATION|
|ENERGY CONSERVATION||ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES||ENGINEERING|
|NATURAL PEST CONTROL||NEW AGE||OFFICE|
|PROMOTIONAL RESOURCES||RECYCLED||SAFE ENVIRONMENTS|
|WHOLESALE||WOOD||HOW TO ADVERTISE|
|* * * IN-HOUSE RESOURCES * * *|
|WHAT'S NEW||ACTIVISM ALERTS||DAILY ECO NEWS|
|LOCAL RESOURCES DATABASE||ASK THE EXPERTS||ECO CHAT|
|ECO FORUMS||ARTICLES||ECO QUOTES|
|INTERVIEWS & SPEECHES||NON-PROFIT GROUPS||ECO LINKS|
|KIDS LINKS||RENEWABLE ENERGY||GOVERNMENT/EDUCATION|
|VEGGIE RESTAURANTS||ECO AUDIO/VIDEO||EVENTS|
|COMMUNICATIONS||WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING||ACCOLADES|