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E-Bikes: An Electric Vehicle Everyone Can Afford

By Bill Moore

EV World's new spin-off is working to make electric vehicles affordable for everyone, not just the fortunate few who can own a $70,000 Tesla Model S.

We here at EV World seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time talking about Tesla Motors. There's certainly no denying they've done a masterful job of not only automotive engineering, but also garnering more than their share of headlines and free publicity. It can be argued that they've created one of the finest automobiles in the world, if not the finest in terms of where it sits in the sticker price spectrum. For somewhere around $70,000 you can own a car that a slew of automotive, environmental, consumer and engineering organizations have called the best in the world.

But it's also a car very few of us can afford, even in the affluent West. It simply is out of the league of most of us in the struggling middle class.

But there is an electric vehicle that far more of us can afford and while it may lack some the amenities found on the Model S - okay, a lot of the amenities - it doesn't cost two-to-three year's worth of the average working Jack or Jill's salary. It's called an electric bicycle.

Now before you scoff and move on to another article or - God forbid -- another web site, consider for a moment the advantages of an electric-assist bicycle. First of all, it's imminently affordable with some models costing in the $500 range. A pretty good quality model with lithium batteries, just like those that power the Model S, can be had for $1,500.

There is also something you can't get on the Model S that comes standard on every electric-assist bicycle: exercise. Now that may seem counter-intuitive, but research shows that you can get a good cardiovascular workout on a pedal electric-assisted bicycle or pedelec.

And talk about energy efficiency, an e-bike is as close to perfection for any motor vehicle as you can get. For less than a few hundred watt hours, you can ride scores of miles. That's something even the Model S can't do for all its technological sophistication and aerodynamic styling. Something like 30 percent of all trips are 3 miles or less, so even unplugging the Tesla to run a couple nearby errands is technological and, frankly, resource utilization overkill.

For these and many other reasons, we here at EV World are huge fans of electric-assist bicycles, which is why we're launching a spin-off called ePEDALER. We are developing an innovative way to put more American butts on e-bike saddles through a rental program, which we are aiming to launch early in 2014. This is not a community-type bikeshare initiative. This is a commercially-supported, short-term rental system aimed primarily at tourists and vacationers.

You, dear faithful reader, can help us with some of our product development research by taking a moment of your time to complete the survey below. We need to identify what type of bicycle people would be most interested in renting, especially while on vacation. We need to know if you want to wear a helmet and how safe you feel riding a bicycle in a new and different locale. How long would you want to use the bike and how far would you like to ride it; these are the questions we need to better understand as we begin issuing RFQs. I am not at liberty to reveal too much more detail at this point, but I can assure you that what my team is putting together will impress you. Also, I can tell you this, someone I deeply respect and who has a business track record to back it up, told me this is one of the 'best business plans' he's seen.

So, please help us turn this plan into reality. Complete the survey and we'll give you a free digital copy of the latest EV World Insider Illustrated as a token of appreciation.

Addendum

Based on reader feedback, we've removed several of the more technical questions and also made completion of the two demographic questions optional.

Times Article Viewed: 14346
Originally published: 04 Jul 2013

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