Skip to comments.For e-bikes, no easy ride in tough times (“subsidize me please”)
Posted on 01/25/2012 8:20:44 PM PST by Olog-hai
Europes motorcycle industry is having a tough ride in the current economic times despite being touted as one of the solutions to road congestion and pollution.
Sales of motorcycles and similar light vehicles have plummeted in the past five years, from 2.7 million in 2007 to 1.7 million last year, industry figures show, hampering efforts to roll out a new generation of hybrid and electric transport.
The crisis has deeply, deeply affected the European market, said Hendrik von Keunheim, president of ACEM, the European motorcycle industry trade group. Many European suppliers are struggling.
The European Commissions 2011 transportation White Paper and roadmap for a low-carbon economy both promote development of electric and alternative transportation to gradually reduce fossil fuel consumption. The White Paper calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 60% by 2050.
Development of electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles that operate at a fraction of the emissions of traditional combustion engines is a central part of the shift away from gasoline. The EU executive says petroleum still accounts for 96% of transport needs.
But high initial costs of greener transportation and infrastructure needsincluding fueling and recharging stationsare putting the brakes on some developments, prompting manufacturers to call for national government and EU incentives.
We need to get the consumer to change and they need to be encouraged, Tim Meisner, manager of engineering strategy for Yamaha Motor Europe, said at an industry exhibit in Brussels.
Meisner, showing a visitor a new Yamaha Eco-3 electric scooter, said public subsidies like those provided for electric cars would help, big time.
But subsidies are no certainty. Tax incentives are not that easy a thing in todays economy, Paul Verhoef, head of research at the European Commissions mobility and transport directorate-general, told an ACEM conference.
Electric bicycles are just as impractical as electric cars. Expensive and limited range. The Green Weenies need to rediscover gas powered mopeds. I owned a French-made Velosolex in college. It was a bicycle with a tiny .7 HP engine mounted atop the front wheel. Its speed was restricted to 20 MPH, but it could have gone faster. My careful tests proved it got 240 miles per gallon on extended trips!
Why subsidize anything?
An ebike makes financial sense.
You can plug it into a battery charger, and get a reasonable distance - without buying even a quart of gas.
It’s easy and almost free to use.
So why pay taxpayer money to subsidize it. It’s a good idea, and can swim on its own.
We need to stop subsidizing things.
Let competition win. Let the market provide.
Current lower-cost electric scooter/bike technology is pretty affordable.
Mostly sealed lead acid batteries. Simple to recharge, heavy. Limited range.
Rechargable lithium ion batteries have been in bikes now for a shorter while, much more expensive but better performance. The batteries are significantly lighter, per available power.
IMHO electric scooters/bikes are about to become the first widely used all-electric mode of transportation.
After all - if you miscalculate your charge on an electric bike, you can peddle home in a pinch.
Not an option, with an electric car...
I am aware of the electric bike’s abilities and limitations, believe me. I studied them very seriously, right down to the idea of installing solar panels to charge them. It would be fun, but impractical. Their range is very limited, 10-25 miles unless you spent a fortune on oversized lithium batteries, then a lengthy recharge. Okay for short hops in town, but incapable of trips through the countryside such as I have done on a moped. Mopeds were still commonly used in Europe when I toured there in the early 1970’s.
Electric scooters/bikes are not ready for touring. No question. Impossible yet.
They’re aok so far though for quick errands.
I’ve got a 24v scooter (like a Razor, with a seat) I use for errands nearby. Quicker than walking, and why drive a 4x4 a mile for a few groceries?
It takes a few hours plugged into the wall, to bring it back up to charge.
No way it can be a mode of actual travel yet though. Already ended up pushing it home once, after going too far to get back on the charge.
(which is a big plus, vs an all-electric car)
Funny I actually do have a solar charger I rigged for it.