E-Bikes Are More Important than Electric Cars for the transformation of transportation
We all want to reduce climate warming and make our towns and cities pleasanter places to live. To achieve this, we need to change how we get around, we need a transformation of transportation.
Transportation uses enormous amounts of fossil fuels. But simply moving cars and trucks from gasoline engines to battery-driven drivetrains is not enough. We need to fundamentally change how we view our entire transportation system.
That will mean embracing three key changes:
- Avoiding unnecessary travel
- Leaving our cars at home when we do need to travel
- Reducing our reliance on fossil fuel engines and switching vehicles to battery power
Increasing Bike Usage Requires a Change in Mentality: Cars Should No Longer be our First Choice for Getting Around
The world is car-centric.
When we need to go somewhere, our first thought is to drive there, or to have someone else take us as a passenger. It’s convenient, but not always efficient because cars choke our roads and slow down travel times.
On longer journeys, there is usually no other choice. No car, no trip.
Katja Diehl, from Germany’s transportation lobby group Verkehrsklub Deutschland (VCD) says government and industry need to reimagine how personal transportation should look.
“If we really want fewer cars, if we really want to change how people think about getting from point A to point B, we need more than just technical solutions. 21st century mobility should not be just about new technology. We need a change of attitude.”
Technical solutions, such as moving to battery-power, belong to point three in the list above. They are in third position for a reason. Humankind’s ecological future will be much more vibrant if we focus on points one and two – reducing how much we travel and finding better options when we do need to travel – which is where bikes and e-bikes come in.
Transformation of Transportation Means Switching From Cars to Bikes
Most cars on the road carry just one person, the driver. So, switching from a gasoline-powered car to a battery-drive one doesn’t improve much. A large number of resources are still needed to create that battery-driven vehicle, which rarely carries its maximum passenger load.
Cars also need an extensive road system to accommodate them. And then they need to be parked somewhere, which takes up large amounts of valuable space. So, even by switching to battery-driven vehicles, our cities and landscapes will continue to be subservient by the needs of cars.
Bikes and e-bikes could replace cars for many trips, especially in urban settings.
This would not only reduce emissions, but bikes are cheaper to buy and own. And we’d need fewer asphalted areas for parking lots. Many people in Europe say they would like to drive less. Improving bike infrastructure in cities to make cycling safer and more appealing would help those people make the switch.
How many Times Must We Be Warned? The Earth is getting Hotter!
The United Nations and scientists around the world are running out of ways to warn us how dire the climate situation is.
In February 2022, the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its sixth report. Its warnings are the starkest yet:
“Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks.” (Source: ipcc)
IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee says inaction to reduce climate change is endangering humanity.
“[This report] shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”
He adds that, if the Panel’s prediction of a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase over the next two decades comes true, the world will face irreversible damage and mass flooding along coastlines.
In May 2022, the World Meteorological Association (WMO) said extreme weather, the day-to-day ‘face’ of climate change led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses. It wreaked a heavy toll on human lives and well-being and triggered shocks for food and water security and displacement.
“Four key climate change indicators – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification – set new records in 2021. This is yet another clear sign that human activities are causing planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean, and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for sustainable development and ecosystems.” (source: public.wmo.int)
So, the need for change is pressing.
We need solutions now!
Battery-powered cars are making their presence felt. Increasing numbers of them are available, but they remain more expensive than gasoline-powered ones. It will take decades for the latter to be phased out and EVs also require much more resources and energy than bicycles.
Electric cars won’t save the planet, but bicycles will.
And for those who can’t imagine commuting on two wheels instead of four, e-bikes make the transition to a bike-centric world easier.
E-Bikes Play a Vital Role for the transformation of transportation
The COVID pandemic saw CO2 emissions decline as people stayed at home.
Hopefully, as we all head back to the office, we can find a hybrid model that reduces the need for people to travel unnecessarily to a physical workplace. A mix of office and home work would be beneficial.
For those times when we really do need to be somewhere, the planet will thank us if we switch from a car to a bike. That is why we need government subsidies for e-bikes. Bikes are a far superior transportation alternative to any car, whether that car is petrol or battery powered.
And as Podbike’s FRIKAR velomobile demonstrates, now we can even ride a stylish bike that keeps us warm and dry inclement weather.
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