The China Bicycle Association reports that 36,950,000 electric bicycles (e-bikes) were produced in 2013; 5.4% more than in 2012. Production of regular bikes reached 82 million units in 2013; 0.9% down on the 2012 total.
Electric Bike Worldwide Report (EBWR) had projected worldwide electric bike sales at 35 million for 2014, 40 million in 2025, and 50 million in 2035. China’s Bike Association numbers would indicate that worldwide electric bike production is already 39 million per year.
There are several electric bike in wheel motors being developed. These would electrify existing bicycles.
Zehus Bike+ has an all-in-one (AIO) drive system. The Italian startup, based in Milan, had equipped three different bicycles with their mirror-finished motor. Its relatively small 160 watt hour battery and controller are housed inside the hub motor. So far, it is the closest e-bike I have ridden that operates like a conventional bicycle… with one significant exception: it has regenerative braking, just like an electric car.
Virtually all modern e-bike propulsion systems consist of basically three separate components: the motor, which can be either a hub or mid-motor; a battery pack; and a controller/display system, usually mounted on the handlebar.
A study of Chengdu and Shanghai showed that e-bikes are used by all ages and both genders, primarily for daily commuting. The majority of e-bike users are of medium-level income, and most trips are less than 40 minutes in duration and shorter than ten kilometers in distance. 50% of e-bike users relied on buses before switching to e-bikes, while 18%, 10%, 7% and 7% originally biked, walked, used metro, or took taxis. E-bikes, then, can contribute to sustainable urban mobility in that they can help shift populations who might have switched to cars to use a mix of e-bike and mass transport as they move up the income ladder.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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