Electric bicycle, or e bikes, are bicycles that have an electric motor and a battery that assist the rider when pedaling. E bikes can provide various benefits, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving health and fitness, saving money and time, and increasing accessibility and enjoyment of cycling. In this article, we will explore how e bikes can help the environment and improve air quality compared to cars, especially in the US market. We will also look at how e bikes are produced and sold in the US, and what are the challenges and opportunities for this emerging industry.
E Bike vs Car: Carbon Footprint Comparison
One of the main advantages of e bikes over cars is their lower carbon footprint., cycling has a carbon footprint of about 21g of CO2 per kilometer, while driving a car emits about 271g of CO2 per kilometer. This means that cycling can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 90% compared to driving. Even when taking into account the emissions from producing the extra food required to fuel cycling and manufacturing the bicycle, cycling still emits about 10 times less CO2 than driving.
E bikes have a slightly higher carbon footprint than regular bikes, mainly due to the emissions from producing and charging the battery. However, e bikes still emit much less CO2 than cars, even when using electricity from fossil fuels. e bikes have a carbon footprint of about 22g of CO2 per kilometer when using electricity from coal, and about 9g of CO2 per kilometer when using electricity from renewable sources. This means that e bikes can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 90% compared to cars when using green electricity, and by more than 80% when using coal electricity.
E Bike vs Car: Air Quality Impact
Another benefit of e bikes over cars is their positive impact on air quality. Cars emit various pollutants that contribute to air pollution, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These pollutants can cause various health problems, such as respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and premature death. air pollution is responsible for about 7 million deaths per year worldwide.
E bikes, on the other hand, do not emit any tailpipe pollutants, as they run on electricity. Therefore, they do not contribute to local air pollution and can help improve air quality in urban areas. Moreover, e bikes can also reduce traffic congestion and noise pollution, which are also sources of stress and health risks for people living in cities.
E Bike Market in the US: Production and Sales
The US market for e bikes is growing rapidly, driven by various factors such as environmental awareness, health consciousness, urbanization, COVID-19 pandemic, and policy support. the retail sales of e bikes in the US grew by 145% in 2020, reaching $490 million. The report also estimated that there were about 1.6 million e bike owners in the US as of 2020.
The demand for e bikes is expected to continue to grow in the future, as more people recognize the benefits and advantages of e bikes over other modes of transportation.the US e bike market size is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 18.43% from 2020 to 2023.
The most popular types of e bikes in the US are pedal-assisted e bikes, which provide power only when the rider pedals, and throttle-assisted e bikes, which provide power on demand. The most common applications of e bikes are city/urban commuting, trekking/mountain biking, and cargo/utility transportation. The most preferred battery type for e bikes is lithium-ion battery, which offers higher energy density, longer lifespan, and lower weight than other types of batteries.
The production of e bikes in the US is relatively low compared to other countries, such as China and Europe, the US produced only about 200,000 e bikes in 2020, accounting for less than 2% of the global production. Most of the e bikes sold in the US are imported from China, Taiwan, or Europe.
E Bike Challenges and Opportunities in the US
Despite the growing popularity and potential of e bikes in the US, there are still some challenges and barriers that hinder the adoption and usage of e bikes. Some of these challenges are:
- Regulation: The regulation of e bikes in the US varies by state and local jurisdiction, creating confusion and inconsistency among users and authorities. Some states or cities have strict rules or restrictions on the speed, power, or type of e bikes that are allowed on public roads or paths. Some states or cities also require e bike users to have a driver’s license, registration, insurance, or helmet.
- Infrastructure: The infrastructure for e bikes in the US is inadequate or insufficient, limiting the safety and convenience of e bike users. There is a lack of dedicated bike lanes, paths, or trails that can accommodate e bikes. There is also a lack of charging stations, parking facilities, or storage options for e bikes.
- Awareness: The awareness of e bikes in the US is low or limited, affecting the perception and acceptance of e bikes among the public. Many people are unaware of the benefits and advantages of e bikes over other modes of transportation. Many people also have misconceptions or stereotypes about e bikes, such as being lazy, cheating, or dangerous.
- Cost: The cost of e bikes in the US is high or prohibitive, discouraging potential buyers or users from purchasing or using e bikes. The average price of an e bike in the US is around $1,500, which is much higher than a regular bike or a public transportation pass. The cost of e bikes is also affected by tariffs, taxes, or subsidies that vary by state or local jurisdiction.
The Fun and Benefits of Riding an Electric Bicycle
- Environment: The environmental benefits of e bikes are undeniable, as they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by replacing cars or motorcycles. E bikes can also support the transition to a low-carbon economy and society by increasing the demand for renewable energy sources.
- Health: The health benefits of e bikes are significant, as they can improve physical and mental well-being by providing low-impact exercise that can boost cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, burn calories, and relieve stress. E bikes can also motivate riders to exercise more frequently and consistently by making cycling easier and more fun.
- Mobility: The mobility benefits of e bikes are remarkable, as they can enhance leisure and enjoyment by allowing riders to explore new places and routes that are inaccessible by car or public transportation. E bikes can also provide thrill and excitement by enabling riders to reach faster speeds and longer distances than regular bikes.
- Economy: The economic benefits of e bikes are substantial, as they can create new jobs and industries related to e bike manufacturing, distribution, maintenance, and innovation. E bikes can also save money and time for users by avoiding traffic jams, parking fees, and public transportation costs.
E bikes are a growing trend in the US market, offering various benefits and advantages for different purposes and scenarios. However, there are also some challenges and barriers that need to be addressed and overcome to promote the adoption and usage of e bikes. The future of e bikes in the US depends on the collaboration and cooperation among various stakeholders, such as manufacturers, retailers, consumers, policymakers, regulators, researchers, educators, and advocates. By working together, they can create a more conducive and supportive environment for e bikes in the US.