New Poll Shows 70% of Brits Think E-Bikes Will Help Reduce Carbon Emissions More Quickly than Electric Vehicles
March 14, 2022 - by Fusion Media Client News
Research prepared by #BikeIsBest and the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy shows the general attitude in the UK towards e-bikes as well as a huge variety of their benefits, including the reduction of carbon emissions in comparison to electric vehicles (EVs).
A poll of adults conducted by YouGov, suggests a broad support for e-bikes as a means of reducing carbon, even amongst those who are not currently considering purchasing an e-bike. According to the YouGov poll, one fifth of adults who did not currently or previously own an e-bike were considering purchasing an e-bike in the future, while 67% of participants stated cost was the biggest obstacle preventing them from making a purchase.
With simple policy improvements to address the cost factor as well as improved infrastructure, e-bikes have the ability to transform the way we live.
As part of a rapid evidence assessment, the #BikeIsBest and Active Travel Academy report highlighted the benefits of e-bikes:
According to research by Philips et al., “e-bikes are substantially lower emitters of carbon across their lifecycle when compared to both fossil fuel and electric cars.”
While e-bikes perform the same as battery electric vehicles in producing 0kg Scope 1 per km, research by Fyhri et al, states that they have substantially lower Scope 2 carbon emissions than electric vehicles due to their lower electrical power requirements. Additionally, when considering their full lifecycle emissions, including manufacture, maintenance and disposal activities, e-bikes are substantially lower emitters of carbon in comparison to both fossil fuel and electric cars. According to the report prepared by #BikeIsBest and the Active Travel Academy, achieving widespread use of e-bikes as well as conventional bikes could replace three million car trips to work, and 10% of carbon emissions from commuting.
“Enabling more people to commute to work using e-bikes would increase life-expectancy and reduce absenteeism, with a potential health economic benefit of £2.2 billion per year,” according to the #BikeIsBest report.
E-bikes present potential economic benefits besides those associated with improved health and reduced carbon. According to the #BikeIsBest and the Active Travel Academy report, in 2019, road congestion imposed an average of 115 hours of lost time to the average UK driver. This congestion is largely due to the lack of road space, which could be freed up if more space-efficient solutions were adopted, such as e-bikes. This not only applies to cars, but also, according to research by Verlinghieri et al., the use of (e)-cargo bikes could counteract even more congestion by replacing LGVs.
According to the #BikeIsBest report, “because of their potential to reduce the physical exertion of cycling and therefore overcome barriers of fitness, topography, and proximity of housing to employment and other activities, users of e-bikes can encompass a wider diversity of age, gender, physical fitness and economic demographics than conventional bicycles.”
E-bikes make it easy and practical for more people to make a wider range of trips by bike. A Swiss study found that middle-income groups were just as likely to use a conventional bike as an e-bike, both high- and low-income groups were more likely to use an e-bike (Rérat, 2021). This suggests that whilst e-bikes may appeal to higher earners as an additional transport option, they are also used by those on lower incomes as an alternative to more expensive transport options. As stated in research by Philips et al., e-bikes have been identified as a means to alleviate the economic vulnerability to increased motoring costs for those living in areas in the UK of high car dependency and low income. Adding to this, the research also suggests that e-bikes could appeal more to people of different ages and genders – as opposed to the predominantly male appeal of conventional bicycles.
He added: “We are lagging behind countries in Europe who have used subsidies to accelerate the shift to e-bikes. Given rising living costs, this report shows that an e-bike subsidy would have a very positive impact across a range of backgrounds, as well as reducing congestion even for people who don’t cycle.”
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