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The benefits of hybrid commuter vehicles: electric bikes and tricycles

Electric bikes and tricycles have become environmentally responsible hybrid commuter vehicles with excellent mileage and very low operating costs - 3 miles per penny!


Both ebikes and tricycles might transform urban mobility, as more and more people take to them. As a replacement for short car rides, they emit minimal carbon dioxide, compared to a car ride, and help residents reduce their total carbon footprint. Image from Schwinn.com


In addition to environmental benefits, ebike lovers indicate 5 more reasons to prefer electric bike or trike:


(Click here to read about electric bicycles environmental benefits)


1) Health benefits – Electric bikes enable people with temporary or long-term physical limitations to enjoy biking. Many ebike models offer simultaneous motor and pedal use for some degree of physical activity.2) Convenience – It’s always there for you and enables easy riding around town, running errands, and even shopping (it can fit a small load of grocery bags). Parking is never an issue. Some models fit child-seats or a trailer. For longer trips, most models are light and easily fit into an average car trunk.3) Money consideration - Cheaper than a car and you don’t need to pay for car insurance, taxes, and maintenance costs, even parking tickets. There are also considerations of rising gasoline prices.4) Saves time – We’ve all been there: driving around searching for a vacant parking spot! Whether it’s in a busy business district, the mall, gym or library – ebikes eliminate the time needed to find parking. They also eliminate time waiting for the bus or BART.5) Hills - For many people living in the hills of the San Francisco Bay Area (or other hilly parts of the country), an electric bike can make it possible to ride a bicycle when it wouldn't otherwise be an option.


The electric tricycles enable a full-body low-impact fitness by utilizing a combination of arm thrust, twisting, shifting of body weight and coordinated timing, while the three wheels provide a stable riding platform. Coordination, balance and agility are also developed as riders learn to turn, lean and transfer weight at just the right time to create the forward momentum.


Nowadays the electric bike industry offers many options: models run from 250 to a 1000 watts power capacity. Prices run from under $ 500 to an average of $ 2500. High-end brands sell for over $ 10,000. Additional rechargeable batteries are extra.


When selecting a model, take into consideration power (Watts), size and type of battery (SLA - Sealed Lead-Acid, NiMH - Nickel-Metal Hydride, Li-Ion - Lithium Ion, LFP - Lithium Iron Phosphate), gearing (depends on the Terrain, speed, wind conditions, if pulling a trailer, weight of rider and baggage, etc.), and motor control (pedal-assist, throttle, both). Most models’ speeds range from 12 mph to 25 mph. The speed you go affects how far you can go. Users recommend getting a battery pack that goes at least twice the range you usually expect to ride.


Many countries have Electric bicycle laws, which legislate aspects of the legality of electric bikes. In the US, there are federal regulations governing the safety requirements and standards of manufacturing, however, since the legality of road use is governed at the state level or by county municipal laws and restrictions, there is still confusion over the various legislations involving Electric Bicycles.


California electric bicycle code:No license or registration is required to ride an electric bicycle in California, although the rider needs to be at least 16 years old.For more information about the law in California, go to the California Law Legislation Information on the ca.gov website.


Check the following:• MEASURE : A.B. No. 1501 (08/21/95).• LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST- AB 1501, Bordonaro. Motorized bicycles: electric motor: definition.• Sections 406, and 24016.


Note that electric bicycles are allowed in bike lanes that are attached to roadways, however, they are not allowed on hiking or recreational trails.


Legislative source: http://www.electric-bikes.com/bikes/legal.html and http://www.electric

Tags: electric bicycle, electric bike, tricycle, electric motor, motorized bicycle, motorized tricycle, motorized bike, power grid, energy, alternative energy, energy mix, electric vehicles, electric tricycle, trike, light electric vehicle, LEV, greenhouse gas emissions, GHG,  automobiles, pollution, zero emission, greenhouse, CO2, emissions, utilities, carbon dioxide, carbon footprint, fossil fuels, gasoline, global concern, renewable energy, battery, environmentally responsible, hybrid commuter vehicles, mileage, low operating costs, urban mobility, urban vehicles, selecting model, environmental benefits

Comments

Commuting to work, getting to

Commuting to work, getting to school, trips to the store, cruising the neighborhood, having fun, reducing stress, saving on gas - electric bikes are great for a variety of uses! They're quiet, efficient, affordable to operate and release no harmful CO2 emissions. Great article! Keep spreading the word!

A great option ...

These are a very interesting option.  For instance, I have bad knees and I love to bike, but steep hills cause me problems.  I'd love to try one out (I can still get the benefits of biking but only kick in the engine when I need to). 

That's the idea - even people

That's the idea - even people with various degrees of physical constraints will be able to bike, and also, if road conditions require help (such as a hilly terrain), yoo can switch to electric-mode (i.e. motor).

The Electric Auto Association - Silicon Valley Chapter meets every 3rd Saturday of the month in Palo Alto and can be a resource for anyone who wants to learn more about electric vehicles (of any type) as well as a networking opportunity:

http://www.eaasv.org/meetings.html

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