Electric Bicycles Gaining Traction in Bay Area

The benefits of an electric bike are economic, environmental and health-related. Despite its high sticker price - the models he sells range from $800 to $1,500 - that's nothing compared to the yearly cost of owning an automobile which AAA estimates at $7,834.

Published: 15-Jan-2007

LIKE a lot of folks on the Peninsula, Brian Howell is concerned about the environment. So, when Howell's Acura Integra died last January, he started shopping for a Toyota Prius.

But Howell, who has degrees in physics, mathematics, material science and engineering, found the Prius a disappointment. He wanted a car that didn't rely on the petroleum that sets U.S. policy and spurs international wars; he wanted to be free of the carbon dioxide bringing our planet toward climate catastrophe. What he wanted, he said, was an electric car.

When Howell couldn't find one, he purchased an electric bicycle and began commuting 7 miles from his home in Belmont to his job as a Sony engineer in Foster City.

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