Did you know that electric bicycles exist since the end of the 19th century? A patent was filed in 1897 for a two-engine electric bicycle. The e-bike models have evolved since then. Electric bikes have become popular only very recently. The last major shift took place in 1995. The price of neodymium magnets fell. And those magnets help bring power to the electric motors.
Electric bicycles are now becoming the preferred mode of transportation in many city centers. In 2018, the global market for electric bicycles amounted to $ 21 billion. This market is expected to reach $ 39 billion by 2025.
In the United States, electric-assisted bicycles accounted for $ 77 million in sales in 2017, up 91% from 2016. Since 2014, e-bike sales have multiplied by eight. And the benefits and services provided to regular riders and amateur cyclists are numerous.
Among other things, the autonomy of electric bikes is perfect for the rides to city centers. E-bikes are ideally used for journeys between 10 km and 24 km. For the rides below 10 km, electric scooters dominate the urban landscape. Beyond 24 km, cars or buses are more popular.
Electric bicycles, therefore, are perfect for intermediate distance round trips, which is well suited for city limits of most cities. Flexible to move around, e-bikes can assist anywhere in the city, since electric assistance significantly eases uphill climbs and long distances.
Worth also mentioning that e-bikes have not a small financial advantage over cars. Even the cost of replacement batteries (which still raises many doubts around the pedelecs) still does not change the balance in favor of motorists. Court Rye, an expert in e-bikes, explains: “In summary, use of an electric bike is about three times cheaper than a car, taking into account current fuel prices.”
Electric bicycles offer a more stable and versatile alternative for their users, compared to micromobility. E-bikes can help deliver meals to households, transport of small loads, courier deliveries, etc. Simply add accessories to e-bike’s frame and you are ready to go. Electric bikes can also carry much higher loads than, for example, scooters. And they can even tow trailers if required.
Robust frames of electric bikes are also well suited for carrying children, in the same way as non-electric bikes that can accommodate a child seat. Given e-bike’s autonomy and power, these bikes are therefore ideal for families traveling in urban areas for their daily trips.
Improved health and living environment
There are multiple research studies on the health benefits of cycling. Now studies on the benefits of electric bicycles on the individual and collective health are on their way. Can e-bike be used to keep fit? Read in this post.
The main argument is that electric bike enthusiasts, on average, have less reluctance to exercise regularly and seriously. Climbing a steep hill can scare away new cyclists, but thanks to the electric assistance of electric bike, this challenge is now much easier to meet. Can e-bikes climb steep hills? Read more in this post.
The authors of a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology also demonstrate that e-bike riders find their use of e-bikes surprisingly pleasant. A pleasant activity can lead to positive behavioral changes, ultimately improving the health of those, who practice it.
Electric bikes also offer seniors an alternative to gain independence. It is easier for seniors to do their shopping without having a car. E-bikes also allow seniors to practice physical activity.
Results of several studies, concerning the usage of e-bikes to reduce the severity of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are encouraging. E-bikes could be an ideal solution to give a large part of the population the opportunity to practice daily physical activity.
Transformation of city centers
The changing transportation needs of the city population needs to be in the center of future urban planning if we want our cities to remain attractive and enjoyable.
The city centers, usually the most populated areas, desperately need solutions that address both diversity and density issues. Electric bicycles have sufficient autonomy to allow their riders to travel in the majority of city centers. E-bikes also allow for a variety of uses that can help substitute cars. And e-bikes offer a convincing means for daily or regular physical activity.
City centers do require solutions for short distances (electric scooters for example), but should not neglect e-bikes. In general, cycling brings users closer to their communities. This runs in stark contrast with individual cars that tend to isolate us, even when used in the densely populated neighborhoods.
Using electric bikes is then helping our societies to resolve this isolation trend and now to let it become worse.
This post was translated from French and adapted. The original version was published on Forbes. Photo credit – Easy E-biking.