China's E-Bikes: Safer, Cleaner Than the Alternative

Wall Street Journal's Shai Oster responds to article in Journal critical of electric two-wheelers in China.

Published: 24-Jan-2010

Electric bicycles have changed the way Chinese people commute – and drawn plenty of criticism, too.

China’s experiment with electric bicycles is worth looking at because it represents the first-ever widespread adoption of an electric vehicle for commercial use. Their explosive development has posed all sorts of challenges, both in terms of regulation and pollution.
It’s a big technological jump to cars from the smaller electric bikes, scooters and tricycles on China’s streets today. But some of China’s e-bike makers are already looking at how to take part in that transition, including Luyuan Group by leveraging their experience in battery technology and electric motors.

The e-bike phenomenon is so big the Asian Development Bank prepared a study looking at their impact on China’s environment and transportation. Released last year, the study found that electric bikes are energy efficient and perform much better environmentally when it comes to some forms of pollution, like the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, compared to alternatives like buses or motorcycles.

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