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Can Electric 2-Wheelers Play a Substantial Role in Reducing CO2 Emissions? The Report of Electric Bicycle Usage of Western U.S. Residents

UCD-ITS-RR-12-04

Research Report

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Suggested Citation:
Shao, Zhenying, Elizabeth Gordon, Yan Xing, Yunshi Wang, Susan L. Handy, Daniel Sperling (2012) Can Electric 2-Wheelers Play a Substantial Role in Reducing CO2 Emissions? The Report of Electric Bicycle Usage of Western U.S. Residents. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-12-04

Through this project, we interviewed 27 e-bikers in Sacramento-Davis area and found that there are four benefits unique to the riding of e-bikes: speed, acceleration, green, and enabling. They are fast so that e-bikers can cut down their commute time and allow them to ride more frequently than if they ride traditional bikes, especially during hot and windy days. The ease of acceleration makes obeying stop signs or riding uphill less onerous and provides e-bikers with more confidence when only vehicle lanes are available to bikers. They also provide those who, for various reasons, don’t or can’t ride traditional bikes an option for green transportation. Finally, they enable people with certain disabilities, because of illness or aging or time constraint, to continue to bike, with the help of electric motors when needed. The barriers to the expansion of e-bike ridership are cost ($1,500 on average), heavy weight, infrastructure (unsafe roads and communities, and lack of emergency charging), and policy (some bike lanes are not open to e-bikes). However, those barriers can be overcome with some small government and business interventions.