“In a thorough energy flow comparison, a grid-charged battery driving an electric motor will provide mechanical energy about ten times more efficiently over a human eating a typical diet. For personal travel between 5 and 30 miles per day, the electric bicycle offers the lowest environmental and personal monetary cost, usually without increasing urban travel time”
From Energy, Global folding ebike Warming, and Electric Cycles Energy Flow Analysis with an Emphasis on Personal Transportation
That may sound obvious, but it’s the primary advantage. A good electric bike effectively flattens hills, boosting your average speed and eliminating the ‘groan’ factor when a gradient comes into view. Provided you supply a reasonable amount of effort, you can expect to climb hills of 1 in 10 (10%) on an electric bike with ease, and clear a maximum gradient of 1 in 7 (14%), or much more. In hilly country, the effect is nothing short of amazing.
It sounds unlikely, doesn’t it? But the mathematics is compelling. Think of a steep and busy road, with cars climbing at 30mph. If you previously slogged up the hl at 6mph, but can tackle the same gradient at 12mph with an electric bike, you will see 33% fewer cars, and they will pass you at 18mph rather than 24mph. Or at least, we think that’s correct.
Long lasting figures, there’s no doubt an electric bike helps to keep you out of danger. The same general principle applies to road junctions – the faster your velocity, the sooner you can get out of trouble. And with no need to rush the hills, you won’t be appealed to ride downhill at breakneck speed… another useful safety feature.
Surely a standard bike will keep you fitter? That, of course, depends how much – if at all – you use it. Research (b) has found that 46% of conventional bikes are used only once or twice a week, with a further 30% being used once a fortnight or even less. By contrast, a newly released survey of electric bicycle owners reveals that a third ride their bike at least once a day and 81% use the bike at least once a week (c).
The figures confirm our experience an electric bike typically gets used at least twice as often as a conventional machine.
Because riding an electric bike is considerably more enjoyable in hilly country, into strong winds, or when carrying heavy loads, users tend to make better use of them. The motor provides up to half the effort, but more regular use means more exercise for the rider.
Sweat may not be a serious issue when you’re out for a leisure ride, but it’s more important if you’re cycling to work. While others employers are rather grudgingly providing showers and other facilities for cyclists, the great majority have no intent of accomplishing so. An electric bike eliminates the problem at source. In hot weather, it’s possible to maintain a normal schedule by transferring a bit more load to the electric motor. In wintry weather – or if you feel in need of exercise – just throttle back, or turn the motor off.
Clean & Green
Electric bikes obviously consume energy, where a conventional bikes does not (provided we ignore the environmental cost of growing and processing food – see below). However, the amount of energy used is very small compared to a moped, motorcycle or car. Besides fuel, the only consumables are the batteries, and these can normally be recycled when life-expired. As for energy use, electric bikes typically consume fuel at an average rate of 100 to one humdred and fifty t of electrical energy, against 15, 000 or so for a car (admittedly travelling much faster). In terms of fuel consumption, an electric bike achieves about 800-2, 000mpg (290 – six hundred litres/kilometre) (d). No other vendor available vehicle can match figures of this kind.
Should it be hard to place these numbers in your own lifestyle, think of a 100 watt electric light bulb burning for an evening – that’s enough energy to propel an electrically-assisted bike for 20 to 40 miles…
There are many nonsense talked about sustainability in transport, but an electric bicycle can be made genuinely sustainable. Purchase electricity from a ‘green’ supplier, or generate your own with a roof-mounted wind mill or screen array (see Solar power facts), and the vehicles’ fossil fuel consumption will be zero. Surely a standard bike does that already? Given that you grow the food you consume whilst riding it. Unfortunately, most modern food production and distribution is so fuel-intensive that the consumption of a typical cyclist is not terribly good.
In theory a car can average a high speed, but in undertake speed often falls below 10mph in cities. The problem is over-crowding – motorcycles go around this to some extent, but they’re still minimal to the road network. An electric bike can maintain a higher average speed over a bicycle but take advantage of the same network of cycle facilities, giving access to passages that cars and motorcycles cannot reach. The result is often a faster door-to-door journey time than any other mode. And by taking advantage of the uncongested cycle network, but eliminating hills and headwinds, electric bikes are often the most consistent mode of travel.
High Resale Value
Electric bikes are new technology, and it’s really early days yet, but the evidence points to a much better resale value over a conventional bike. True, a typical electric bike costs more to buy, at £400-£1, 000, but it seems you’ll get most of that back if you sell your machine on.
Motorised, Without the Red Strapping!
You know how it is… MOT due, log book missing, insurance costs rising year on year. Electric bikes are treated just like ordinary cycles for what is purposes, so there’s absolutely no registration or legislation to worry about. You are of course free to insure your machine if you want, but there’s no compulsion to do anything but enjoy yourself!
Malcolm Weaver has been associated with introducing and marketing new innovative products for many years. Upbeat she has imported products from all over the world and is now involved with a number of companies. One of these companies specialises in the kind of products that people suddenly find themselves wanting but are not quite sure where to go to get them from. Backyard of new innovative items on the main site grows once a week and it is fast becoming the armchair shopping mal for the products you will need at some time or another, without wasting your time and money on expensive research trips to the out of town super stores.