Greenwashing or reality? To say that electric bikes are 100% eco-friendly is too good to be true. With the boom of electric bicycles, the environemental argument of e-mobility comes up (maybe a little too often). So, is riding an e-bike really a good choice for the environment?
Since the publication of the Charlie Hebdo’s article on electric cars, I see a lot of different information passing by about the consequences that electric bikes have on the environment. I would therefore like to share with you my research and documented elements. It is a subject close to my heart. Ready to find out if electric bikes are really good for the planet?
The CO² emission of building an electric bike
When you build an electric bicycle, you use more carbon dioxyde than for a mechanical bicycle but carbon dioxyde than for a scooter or a car. But what about usage-related expenses?
Carbon impact of the electric bike VS mechanical bike VS other means of transport
When we analyze the CO² emissions during use, we realize that electric bikes emit much less C0² than any other means of thermal transport (scooter, car, bus, etc). The European Cyclists Federation (ECF) the European association which promotes urban mobility by bicycle throughout Europe, highlights that an electric bike emits 50% more CO² than a mechanical bike but emits (be careful…..) 30 time less CO² than a car! A traditional (mechanical) bicycle remains the best option for ecology. If you leave your car at home and take your electric bike instead, the environment will be very grateful to you. 👍
Can the electric bike help reduce the carbon impact?
The english study “E-bikes and their capability to reduce car CO² emissions” carried out in 2022 also shows that e-bikes have the capacity to reduce CO² emissions from cars by 24.4 million tonnes per year.
The study also shows that the carbon-reducing ability of e-bikes is greatest in rural areas, and 3400 census areas have high ability to replace car travel with e-bikes and economic vulnerability to car addiction.
Electric bike batteries
We often hear about the majority of batteries being built in China with energy from coal, which is highly polluting. If it is currently true, that should change in a few times. Here are the future openings of battery factories in Europe:
For your information, the battery of the Renault Megane car is currently manufactured in Poland, but will soon be manufactured in France. The movement will therefore also start for electric bikes.
Batteries: the negative aspect of electric bikes?
Are e-bike batteries bad for the environment? Yes but not as bad as it is often said in the media. New generation electric bikes batteries (after 2020) are much more durable than in the past: they can now last up to 5 years (up to 1000 recharges).
In addition, the environmental impact remains quite low because the batteries are recycled efficiently, most of the materials in each battery can be reused.