Why Buy an Electric Bike?

 Why Buy an Electric Bike?

As the US continues to urbanize, traffic increases, and vehicle costs climb, more people are seeking convenience and looking for alternative transportation. Enter the electric bike.

Although the first one was designed and patented in 1895, they have started to gain in popularity some 100 years later.

China has the largest electric bike market at approximately 120 million (Wikipedia, 2016) while with EU countries, the numbers have risen from 98,000 in 2006 to 1,139,000 in 2014, Germany with 42% of the market, (Germany, 42%; the Netherlands, 20%; and Belgium, 11%) (CONEBI, 2016). Interestingly, in 2012, according to an article from Yale Environment 360, in the US there were nearly as many electric bikes sold as electric cars, approximately 53,000 (Gunther, 2013).

So why an ebike?

Cost effective. Ebikes are less expensive than cars, not just the obvious comparison—the purchase of a new car—but even compared to the price of a used car. There are no costly repairs, little service and maintenance required; none of the typical vehicle expenses such as gas, insurance, registration, title, licensing, or smog expenses.

Convenience. Unlike a pedal-only bike, unlike cars or trucks, electric bikes provide the convenience to get through traffic, climb steep hills, or carry a load effortlessly. Ebikes give you power on demand. Most are pedal-assist, which means you can pedal all on your own or choose a level of pedal-assistance, anywhere from 1-9 levels, depending on the ebike.

Flexibility. An ebike gets you where you need to go, and even places you may not typically have access to. With bicycles becoming more commonplace, more cities are adding distinctive and clearly marked bike lanes making it safer for riders. This gives riders more flexibility and convenience and can only help encourage more people to ride a bicycle. Also more and more municipalities are closing downtown areas to heavy traffic creating public and social space.

For recreational use, you can get a strenuous workout and challenge yourself, or not, your choice. When you need some assistance you have it—getting up a hill, keeping up with other riders, or an assist when riding in the wind or rain. For the average rider, they are more likely to ride further and longer on an ebike, so they are actually more motivated and therefore get more productive workouts.

In a 2015 Norwegian study, 66 participants were given electric bikes and 160 were given regular bikes for a limited time. As a result, the ebike riders increased their trips from 0.9 to 1.4, distances from 4.8 km to 10.3 km, and overall share of all transport from 28% to 48%. The results were higher in females vs males, no difference by age. (Fyhri & Fearnley, 2015).

Future technology. Ebikes are clearly better for the environment with zero emissions, and are very quiet. Of course, there is a small amount emitted from charging the batteries if you are using energy from a non-renewable source. According to a 2012 article in The Ecologist, “After factoring in CO2 emissions produced during electricity generation, an e-bike’s carbon footprint is just 2.6 grams of CO2 per mile, compared to 150 grams for most electric cars and 136 grams for scooters.” (Martin, 2012).

Why a Leonardo? 

Efficiency. Leonardo ebikes are built to look, feel, and handle like a bike, unlike some ebikes which function more like a scooter—heavier, more drag, with less maneuverability. A Leonardo climbs hills in access of 23% grade. The average battery range is 30-60 miles, depending on the terrain and load. Leonardo ebikes deliver superior comfort and ridability.

We see electric bicycles as a vehicle from the past, for the future. Ebikes will be a part of the future of transportation.

Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI). (2016). European Bicycle Market: 2015. Retrieved from http://www.conebi.eu/
Fyhri, A., & Fearnley, N. (2015, May). Effects of e-bikes on bicycle use and mode share. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. Institute of Transport Economics, Norway, 36:45-52. doi:10.1016/j.trd.2015.02.005
Gunther, M. (2013, Apr 22). Will electric bicycles get Americans to start pedaling? Yale Environment 360. Retrieved from http://e360.yale.edu/feature/will_electric_bicycles_get_americans_to_start_pedaling/2642/
Martin, B. (2012, Mar 1). Pedal power: how ‘e-bikes’ are changing the way we commute. The Ecologist. Retrieved from http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/out_and_about/1264815/pedal_power_how_ebikes_are_changing_the_way_we_commute.html
Wikipedia. (2016). Electric bicycle. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle


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