Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pedal Power! Electric two-wheelers in China

There was a nifty article in The New York Times today on electric bikes:

An Electric Boost for Bicyclists
By J. David Goodman (Jan 31, 2010)

"Detroit may be introducing electric car designs and China may be pushing forward with a big expansion of its highways and trains." But millions more are "taking part in a more accidental transportation upheaval."

In China, "an estimated 120 million electric bicycles now hum along the roads, up from a few thousand in the 1990s. They are replacing traditional bikes and motorcycles at a rapid clip and, in many cases, allowing people to put off the switch to cars.  In turn, the booming Chinese electric-bike industry is spurring worldwide interest and impressive sales in India, Europe and the United States. China is exporting many bikes, and Western manufacturers are also copying the Chinese trend to produce models of their own. From virtually nothing a decade ago, electric bikes have become an $11 billion global industry."

Electric bicycle riders in China, where about 120 million such bikes
are used, with some going up to 30 miles an hour. (NY Times)

More perspective on e-bikes from other publications:

E-Yikes! Electric Bikes Terrorize the Streets of China (WSJ)
“Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, have taken off in China. But some people say they are dangerous, and may not be so green after all." (Jan 17, 2010)

China’s E-Bikes: Less-Than-Perfect Pioneers (WSJ)
Blog entry from WSJ's Shai Oster. With video! (Jan 19, 2010)

Putting the brakes on pedal power (Washington Post)
"Bicycles give way to automobiles, but e-bikes keep two-wheel tradition alive." Alex Wang of NRDC is quoted in this piece! He rides an e-bike to work in Beijing. (Dec 14, 2009)

As a bonus, here is an academic paper I came across last quarter doing research for the solar cells class. (Published in Energy Policy)

The future of electric two-wheelers and electric vehicles in China
J. Weinert, J. Ogden, D. Sperling and A. Burke (2008)


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