By GreenCompany | July 4, 2012
Electric commuter bikes – what do you think of them? Are electric bikes or e-bikes, the answer to Canada’s energy and transportation needs going ahead? I’m going to say yes and no, and here is why.
When considering forms of transportation in Canada we must consider some rather obvious details. Details such as sheer distance and the climate that covers most of Canada most of the year. With so many working Canadians still commuting 50 km or more back and forth to work – one would be hard pressed to see these Canadians getting to work in February on a bike.
And what about other related options such as motorized or electric scooters? These options have been around for decades as well and their price points are nearly equal to electric bikes (and better in some cases). Yet they are not plying Canadian streets in large numbers, even after many years being on the market. Canadians it seems are still seeing more advantages in the car than the green options due to need and weather realities.
But that does not mean there is not a place for the electric commuter bike. The fastest growing regions of Canada are still major urban areas and as city planners get better (or are forced to condense residential and commercial districts closer together), there will be hopefully more Canadian workers living close enough to their work to have e-bikes as a viable transport option most of the year. With fuel costs remaining high, and smarter urban planning falling into place with dedicated bike routes etc, it would not be surprising to see more Canadians taking on an electric bike.
For those who have not rode an actual electric bike, or are not too familiar with them, the latest models available in Canada from a Canadian manufacturer boast some pretty respectable numbers.
OHM Cycles, a Canadian electric bicycle manufacturer based in Vancouver, has recently announced via a press release that their new bikes are not only lighter, they have also extended their range by up to 20 per cent. An advantage an e-bike has for commuting over a car or even motorized scooter is parking/storage, and making it lighter certainly helps in that regard. OHM Cycles manufactured electric commuter bikes with the latest BionX technology, have a range of around 100 km. People are also now recharging their e-bikes via solar power kits and over a few years of use they pay for themselves – making for cost free commuting! And with basic maintenance an electric commuter bike should match or beat the lifespan of today’s automobile.
Electric commuter bikes are not the answer for every Canadian commuter, but they certainly should be considered an option going ahead for those willing and able to make the switch.