e-bike - Google News

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Electric bike an environmental carbon 'game changer': report

Luyuan, the Chinese eBike manufacturing giant, was recently cited in research as a cultural, environmental and economic "game changer" for China's carbon-emissions programmes.

Two models of the company's low-priced Gio brand of eScooter are sold in Canada.

The report lists seven carbon-emissions game changers that it says " have each developed a low-carbon innovation that has the potential to make a significant contribution to emissions reductions and the move to a low-carbon society. In five years time, five of these innovations could together be saving up to 66 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year."

The other two game-changers, it says, "could have total savings of 270 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year... These are equivalent to the greenhouse-gas emissions of 25 million and 100 million Chinese homes respectively, or 4% and 16% of total Chinese emissions in 2006."

Carbon changers

The seven companies listed in the report,  commissioned by the United Kingdom's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts:
  • Global Environment Institute (GEI) is a Chinese NGO that has set up a full low-carbon agriculture system for poor farmers in the south-western province of Yunnan.
  • Himin is one of China’s largest producers of solar-thermal water tanks, a market that is in turn dominated globally by Chinese companies.
  • Hangzhou ISAW Technology Corporation (ISAW) has a range of products that build on chief executive Yuan Yijun’s scientific expertise to exploit “psychrometric” principles, regarding the different physical and thermodynamic properties of vapour mixtures, to provide low-cost, relatively low-tech and low-carbon alternatives to a range of processes that are usually extremely energy intensive, such as air-conditioning and solar desalination of salt water.
  • L├╝yuan is a major manufacturer of electric bicycles and was the first Chinese company to develop an e-bike. 
  • Pearl Hydrogen is also targeting the e-bike sector, amongst its various products, but using its innovative, but low-cost and simplified, fuel-cell technology.
  • Shengchang Bioenergy is making high-quality pellets from agricultural residues that would otherwise simply be burned in the field, as well as the stoves and boilers to maximise the efficiency of combustion. 
  • ZNHK (Beijing Sinen En-Tech) offers a water purification system that allows the high temperature recycling of water in industrial processes.


The report concludes with four observations on how the carbon-emission benefits from these game changers can be maximized:
  1. New policy options could create more opportunities for innovation and growth in these areas.
  2. Policymakers need to enable, rather than to restrict or control the sectors.
  3. Encouraging widespread participation could improve governance.
  4. Promote partnerships with smaller innovative business, research organizations and small-to-medium-sized local and international business, rather than government-to-government or via large multinational corporations.
Not just carbon

As increasing numbers of eBikes switch from lead-acid batteries to lithium-based cells, the value of lead futures and lead mining stock is falling like --- er, lead.

According to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group’s (ILZSG) findings as reported in a Reuters article, the price of lead is "set for further declines."

Lead pollution from unrecycled batteries has often been cited as a negative factor for promoting eBikes as an environmentally beneficial transportation.

Many jurisdictions, however, have introduced easier recycling methods and more facilities to deconstruct the batteries to minimize environmental leakage. 

eBikes 'a unique experience': Kawartha journalist

Reporter Joel Wiebe takes an e-bike down George 
Street in Peterborugh.  Photo: Lance Anderson
Central Ontario writer Joel Wiebe recently took to the roads in Peterborough to, as the MyKawartha article puts it, "check out the fuss" about the new cycles.

Wiebe, who does have experience on licensed motorcycles, initially scoffed at the low-speed, under-powered eScooter "wannabees," especially after learning that his photographer colleague had just spotted a senior citizen riding one.

However, after a brief acculturation period riding downtown, he relaxed and enjoyed the eBike for what it is, rather than what it is not.

"Extreme it isn't," he wrote in MyKawartha, "it's not a motorcycle (though it does have a motor), a bicycle or a moped... it's a unique experience."  He continued, "it's for peaceful cruising."

Tries Electric Assist

Wiebe's second ride was on an electric-assist pedal bicycle, sometimes called a "pedelec," with a traditional open frame and "less storage", as local sales agent Vern Windrem observed.

The second ride challenged his long-disused bicycling skills. "I'm a lazy cyclist when I do ride. I find no shame in walking a bicycle up a hill," he commented. The pedelec motor engaged, "I had no trouble climbing to the top without breaking a sweat."

Wiebe's one regret is that of many commuters: "I remain envious of those who live near enough to their workplace to commute on an e-bike. My 38-kilometre drive is a little too far."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Celebrity eBiker uses it for work

Mercedes Formula One driver Michael Schumacher 
of Germany rides his e-bike as he inspects the race track
of Hockenheim in advance of the 2010 German Grand Prix.
Image Credit: Reuters
Formula One driver Michael Schumacher was recently pictured using his eBike for a pre-race track inspection.

Schumacher, pictured by Reuters in this Gulf News article, brings his bike with him to all his races. He and his crew use them as the most efficient commute vehicle on the site. 

eBike Hill Challenge: Pedal-Assist versus Old-School

The U.S. Electric Light Vehicle Association (LEVA) has issued a competitive challenge for September, 2010 in Las Vegas: let's race uphill.

The race will be held in late September, in conjunction with an international trade expo.

According to LEVA, "the course for the LEVA Hill Climb Challenge takes racers up a nearly six per cent grade," followed by a 700 metre climb.  The Association says the race provides a fun "opportunity to test the electric power of pedal-assist bikes against the power of cyclists on regular bikes."

More info on the race, suppliers or being part of it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

'Rules Clear' on eBike use say Hamilton Police

(Photo of Spectator reporter Jeremy Grimaldi
 by Gary Yokoyama, 
The Hamilton Spectator.)
The rules of the road, the legalities of riding an eBike are "clear and adults and teenagers should know those rules or they could be surprised by a very big bill," Hamilton police spokesman Claus Wagner told the Hamilton Spectator  in a recent article.

Constable Wagner went on to remind readers that "once that bike exceeds 32 km/h it will be treated as a road vehicle that needs both a licence and insurance."

Obvious legal infractions include (in Hamilton): riding on sidewalks and riding the wrong way on a one-way street, something pedal bicyclists have been getting away with for years. However, eBikes are more conspicuous and their attractive colours may garner the attention of police officers where a pedal bicycle wouldn't.

The Spectator also advises Hamiltonians of a "crackdown" on eBikers, although it has remained mum on the issue of pedal bicycle infractions and safety.

Weak writing, poor logic

A recent, poorly-researched online editorial that doesn't allow reader feedback, written by Lee Prokaska, posed the rhetorical question "who, if anyone, is liable..." when an eBike is involved in a collision or damaging accident?  The author needs to spend more time with Spectator colleagues who cover the courts, who could have deflated half of the article by informing Lee that the courts decide who is liable, and the liable person pays the damages.

Also, depending on the particular insurance company or policy, many licensed drivers are insured no matter what vehicle they are driving.

That's how it works in Canada. The rules are clear and it says so right in the same newspaper as the weak editorial.

Modifications catch eye of St. Catharines police

Oddball, and not so oddball, alterations to two-wheeled vehicles have caught the eye of St. Catharines police.

According to the St. Catharines Standard, police have cracked down on people adding gas engines and electric motors to conventional bicycles, and on eBike riders who have removed their pedals.

Both of these kinds of modifications change the vehicle's legal status, upgrading it to a "low-speed motorcycle (LSM)" in Ontario. LSMs require license plating and collision insurance.

Ontario's position

Although many jurisdictions allow eBikers to remove the pedals on eBikes, Ontario does not.  The Ontario government FAQs about eBikes outlines the rules for eBikes in the province.

Onteba welcomes enforcement of all the cycling laws of Ontario, as long as officers are not on an eBike-only blitz and will promise to serve and protect us all from every kind of lawbreaking cyclist including the hundreds of pedal cyclists who break traffic laws every day.

The more people on the road who obey the traffic laws, the safer all two and three-wheeled riders will be.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Belleville hotels rent sightseeing eBikes

According to a local TV report, three hotels in Belleville, Ont., are renting eBikes to guests so that they can get around the community and do more sightseeing. Belleville's waterfront features bike paths and trails popular with tourists.

According to hotel manager Ron Anderson at the Holiday Inn Express, patrons can rent one of his eBikes by the hour or day.

The bikes are styled as "pedelecs," a conventional-looking pedal-powered bicycle with a small drive motor fitted to the hub of the rear wheel.

"This initiative promotes Belleville and Quinte's bike trails with a bike that can be used by any skill level," Ryan Williams of Williams Hotels and tourism chairman for the Belleville & District Chamber of Commerce said in the Belleville Intelligencer.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Windsor sushi delivered by eBike

A Windsor, Ont. sushi house has started using an eBike to deliver sushi.

According to the Windsor Star,  the Oishii Rock 'n' Roll Sushi Bar now rolls out its products on a specially-designed eBike built for cargo.

Co-owner Mat Mathias says his Thrust Eco-Delivery Electric Bike, made in California, is the first of its kind in Canada. He had it specially delivered to Windsor in time for Bike Month.

He says that the delivery eBike has twice as much torque and Lithium battery power as a standard recreational eBike, and can make deliveries where automobile traffic or other barriers would block a car or van. Also, he says, it can park easier.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shimano moves into eBike market

Traditional bicycle accessory and parts maker Shimano has introduced an eBike like of products.

According to Bicycle Retailer, Shimano's components are marketed as STEPS—short for Shimano Total Electric Power System.

The system includes a 250-watt motor to drive the front wheel, with a maximum speed of 25 km/h, the European maximum speed allowed for power-assisted bikes.

"It can be combined with several shifting options, including Shimano’s 8-speed internally geared hub with electronic shift buttons, and options for V brakes and roller brakes are available. STEPS can also be combined with Nexus internal geared V-brake and roller brake hubs and with existing rear derailleur systems," says the industry magazine.

WIRED magazine reports that the system will be powered by lightweight Lithium-Ion batteries.

The Shimano eBike product line will be officially introduced at the European bicycle show in Germany in September, and is scheduled to be on sale in time for Christmas.