Electric bikes (e-bikes) provide low-cost, convenient, and relatively energy-efficient transportation to an estimated 40 million–50 million people in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), quickly becoming one of the dominant travel modes in the country. As e-bike use grows, concerns are rising about lead pollution from their batteries and emissions from their use of grid electricity, primarily generated by coal power plants. This report analyzes the environmental performance of e-bikes relative to other competing modes, their market potential, and the viability of alternative battery technologies. It also frames the role of e-bikes in the PRC’s transportation system and recommends policy for decision makers in the PRC’s central and municipal governments.
This report is part of Sustainable Urban Mobility in Asia, a program supported by the Asian Development Bank through a grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. It was prepared by Christopher Cherry of the University of Tennessee–Knoxville; Jonathan Weinert, independent consultant; Yang Xinmiao of Tsinghua University; and Eric Van Gelder of the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis.
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