In the growing electric vehicle industry, it is electric cars that are given center stage when it comes to environmentally-conscious solutions to transportation. But what if I told you there was an electric vehicle that was displacing twice as much oil as those electric cars? And if that wasn’t impressive enough, consider this: It does it with half as many wheels.
Yep, that’s right. I’m talking about electric bikes.
Check out the Bloomberg New Energy Finance chart below, which was recently featured in Anthropocene Magazine.
When you actually break down the numbers, it’s easy to see just how big of an environmental impact e-bikes are making.
Compared to electric passenger cars, e-buses, and e-trucks, it’s electric bikes and trikes that are displacing the most oil usage – more than twice all of those larger EVs combined.
Impressively, those e-bikes are doing so with significantly less battery demand.
Shortages in the materials used to make lithium-ion batteries are affecting the entire EV industry and beyond, which puts an even larger emphasis on efficiency.
Electric bikes are more than 10x more efficient than electric passenger cars, meaning the same amount of battery needed for a 20-mile commute in an electric car could power an e-bike for over 200 miles. And that’s compared to normal electric cars. Vehicles like the new electric Hummer have enough battery on-board to produce 400 e-bike batteries!
Of course e-bikes and other micromobility vehicles aren’t a complete solution to our transportation problems, but they provide a potent alternative to many daily trips.
The US Department of Energy confirms that around 50% of all car trips in the US measure less than three miles, meaning electric bikes could replace a serious amount of vehicular traffic. And sure, some people don’t want to ride a bike in inclement weather (usually Americans, since somehow people with other passports have figured out how to ride in the cold or rain via the invention of… an additional layer of clothing). But even if an e-bike spends a few months in the garage, it still makes a huge impact during the rest of the year when it replaces many car trips.
A 2022 Swedish study found that the vast amount of biking was done at the expense of car usage, not just for recreational or fitness riding. And a 2019 Belgian study found that a mere 10% shift in car drivers to bike riders resulted in a 40% reduction in road traffic.
All of this goes to show just what a dramatic effect e-bikes can have on the world’s transportation paradigm.
E-bikes aren’t a panacea, but they’re a major part of the solution. And as more studies are showing, their effects could be significantly larger than those of electric cars.
With more and more affordable e-bike options coming everyday, the future is looking bright for EVs of every size.
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