Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are E-bikes adding to Climate Change?

Transportation in China has undergone major transformations over the past 30 years. City streets are now swarming with e-bikes, a vehicle that doesn’t use gas or emit exhaust. In 2008, 21 million e-bikes were bought by the Chinese. Massive use of e-bikes has made China the leading market for inexpensive green vehicles.

One cannot deny the fact that e-bikes helped China curb the harmful consequences of the country’s automobile boom. The government has passed regulations to limit the e-bike top speed to 12 mph but several manufacturers are coming up with bigger machines with easy to remove speed regulators. Lead acid batteries are being used in various models which is causing lead pollution. Experts state that the emission of lead from an e-bike is higher than the emission of lead from a car. E-bike manufacturers are considering alternative battery technologies to control this problem but the production of an e-bike is emitting lead into the environment even with 100% recycling.

The e-bike boom all over the world has been possible due to the Chinese policies. Development of e-bikes in China was turned into an official technology goal by the government but sadly, some manufacturers are playing with the bicycle concept and producing models that are adding up to the rise in pollution. To make matters worse, several companies are introducing a mix and match between e-scooter/motorbike and e-bicycle, which has also made it difficult for consumers to make the right choice.

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