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Comparative Environmental Impacts of Electric Bikes in China

UCD-ITS-RP-09-16

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Suggested Citation:
Cherry, Christopher R., Jonathan X. Weinert, Xinmiao Yang (2009) Comparative Environmental Impacts of Electric Bikes in China. Transportation Research Part D 2009 (14), 281 - 290

Electric two-wheelers have become a significant mode of transportation in China in the past decade. Though marketed and publicized by some as zero-emission vehicles, little past research has been done to quantify the environmental impacts of electric two-wheelers in China. This paper quantifies some of the environmental impacts of the production processes and use phase of electric two-wheelers and compares them to the environmental impacts of competing modes, including bicycles, buses, motorcycles and cars. The use phase emissions are quantified geographically with significantly higher emissions in coal rich regions, compared to regions relying more on hydropower. The results show that electric two-wheelers emit several times lower pollution per kilometer than motorcycles and cars, have comparable emission rates to buses and higher emission rates than bicycles. Lead is one pollutant on which electric two-wheelers perform poorly, because of their use of lead acid batteries.