Here Comes the Era of the Electric Bicycle
s with an electric-motor assist are beginning to change the way people get around town, according to experts who declare the age of the e-bike is upon us.
E-bikes look and operate similar to their traditional pedal-powered equivalents, but contain a battery-powered motor that kicks on when, for example, pedaling up a menacing hill.
"The attraction is related to overcoming a lot of the barriers in bicycling," Christopher Cherry, a civil engineer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, explained to me today.
He did his dissertation research on e-bikes in China where, over the past decade, their use grew from practically nothing to more than 100 million. "They are ubiquitous in every city on every street," he said.
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Twenty percent of the 480,000 bicycles bought in 2011 were electric-assist.
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