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Electric Bikes in the People's Republic of China: Impact on the Environment and Prospects for Growth

Publication | June 2009
Electric Bikes in the People's Republic of China: Impact on the Environment and Prospects for Growth

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.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Energy Use and Emissions of Electric Bike Life Cycle
  • Environmental Impacts of Alternative Modes
  • Influence of Electric Bikes on Motorization Trends
  • Electric Two-Wheeler Battery Technology Status
  • Conclusions and Policy Recommendations
  • References