E-bikes better than cars – but they are not bicycles

Bikes are good because they have minimal effect on the environment, they are good because they take up minimal space in a city landscape that gets more dense as urbanization accelerates and they are good because they increase health and decrease society´s cost of healthcare.

They are good because workers who commute by bike are more productive.

There are apparently alot of good stuff going on with bicycles.

But the big hype now seems to be around batterybikes. Or electrically assisted bicycles. And let me just say this: they are a not bicycles. They are motorized bicycles. They do not bring the same advantages as bicycles do.

Mainly because they have a battery and require external energy.

The manufacturing of Li-ion batteries – the most common battery type used in e-vehicles – is energy intensive, expensive and requires mining that in many cases has severe effects on the health of workers and the people. Also lithium is a scarce natural resource. In short, battery production has clear negative effects on the environment, on people´s health. And they use natural resources in a way that regular bicycle production doesn´t come close to.

And of course, the electricity that goes into the battery has to be produced. That is surely a different issue, but one that should be included when assessing the ”good” of e-vehicles.

So. E-bikes are of course far better than oil burning vehicles or even e-cars. But they should be compared to the latter, not to bikes that moves by pure leg power.

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