Electric Revolution – Why eBikes are the way of the future

 

Bike SA’s CEO Christian Haag talks about the eBike revolution and how it could be good news for the South Australian economy. 

They call it “the E-Bike smile”. It’s that look you get when you turn your first pedal on an electric assisted bicycle. And it’s a truly universal human experience.

It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young, an experienced bicycle rider or not, E-Bikes are redefining how citizens transport themselves through their daily lives.

Across the globe, cities are transforming their transport networks and how their citizens move. While the detail of this transformation varies from city to city, a clear consensus has emerged. A government with a ‘steady-as-she goes’ strategy towards transport is delivering a recipe for a city in decline.

As the disruptive ride sharing economy takes hold with the likes of UBER and Lyft and the holy-grail promises of electric and autonomous vehicles tantalise government, it’s a little known fact that the electric mobility revolution is already well underway with the humble E-Bike.

Globally, E-Bikes are the highest selling electric vehicles on the market, with 35 million sold in 2016 alone and economists forecasting $24billion in sales by 2025. That’s double-digit growth, year on year.

E-Bikes represent a wave of transport transformation steadily sweeping across the globe, from Asia-Pacific into Europe and more recently the US, it’s clear the wave is now reaching Australian shores.

Why all the fuss? It’s about affordable, accessible, low cost transport.

No need for that sweaty commute thanks to the electric assisted motor, no more hills to push up, pesky head-winds are a thing of the past, no additional infrastructure is required, you don’t need a licence, it makes car ownership discretionary and E-Bikes deliver a low carbon footprint. And for older Australians, these bicycles provide more years of healthier and more active mobility.

Business has already seen the value for their transport fleets. Australia Post is among many that are counting the cost benefits of services being delivered by electric utility bicycles.

In all of this, there are tantalising opportunities for South Australian industry, particularly in light of the impending Holden closure. Of high value is our skilled automotive manufacturing and allied industry workforce, leading battery cell innovators and our universities that continue to produce world-best graduates creating new and disruptive solutions to address old problems.

The Australian bicycle industry is a significant and dynamic sector, with $2.7 bilion in revenues and over 10,000 employees. Nationally, cycle tourism is valued at $2.4billion to the economy each year.

It is therefore timely that the government has announced a Bike Economy Summit to grasp the growing economic opportunities of getting more people on bicycles, not just in SA but across the region.

Now that’s something that is going to put a lot smiles on a lot of faces.

Become a Bike SA member and help create a brighter future for all road users. 

Christian Haag

Christian Haag is the CEO of Bicycle SA and while he doesn't wear lycra - he does ride a Mountain Bike.

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12 Comments. Leave new

Brian Acland
May 12, 2017 5:24 am

Enjoying my 2 e-bikes, which have rekindled commuting and touring.
Interesting the gear implications for different drives. Keeping the triple chain wheel on the mountain bike, with a front wheel motor (able to be changed back to original wheel, e.g. if wet off-road beckons), allows for trails and steep hills. Whereas a Bafang hub motor with its single chainwheel, on a converted hybrid, means speedy efficient commuting, but less suited to mountains and tracks.

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Brian Acland
May 12, 2017 5:28 am

Recharge opportunities at cafes, restaurants, camping grounds, caravan parks etc. need to be publicized for touring.

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David Metzke
May 12, 2017 5:55 am

Speaking as an ex Holden employee who left to start an electric bike company, (Dyson Bikes) I can see merit in trying to harness the knowledge of the auto industry to improve on electric bike technology.

Glad to hear the SA government looking into how they can tap into the growth of the industry.

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Alister Davies
May 12, 2017 6:21 am

Agreed. I make Bafang mid drive conversions for the Adelaide Hills as well as the plains. They are so much fun. The smile is evident on the first revolution. It puts people back on bikes just when they thought their cycling days were over.

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Heinz Huxholl
May 12, 2017 9:11 am

Mine is going great, a real fun ride without the worry of ‘will I make that hill’.

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Alister Davies
May 16, 2017 8:36 pm

Great to hear Heinz. I often now ride with people who would never get on a bike.

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Alister Davies
May 12, 2017 6:22 am

Happy to assist anyone who wants one. Especially if you live in the hills,

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A complete convert to an e-bike, can’t smile enough as I cruise up hills. At 65 it will keep me riding for decades to come. Disappointing that some lycra riders show their jealousy by labelling me a “cheat”. Hope Bike SA will embrace this revolution and encourage e-bike riders to participate in odysseys and special events. Was once discouraged from taking part in an odyssey as “there would be no where to re-charge it as most people need the available sockets to re-charge their phones” ???? Jump on board Bike SA.

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Who are you cheating? Maybe your GP or chemist. It doesn’t matter how you choose to be active.

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Rob Atkinson
May 13, 2017 5:46 am

We have killed over 100 OZ with Quad bikes over the last 10 years or so.
Let’s not follow this path with Ebikes which have great potential.
We need to produce Road Safety guidelines first. Anecdotally they are “mowing ” down pedestrians in China!!
Eg a speed cap at 25kph. Walking pace if pedestrians about and a warning noise for pedestrians like a forklift.
Food for thought.

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Rob we all need to look out for each other whether riding ebikes, ordinary bikes, motorbikes, gophers, driving cars or walking That way we can all safely share the roads and paths. Unfortunately laws do not stop the idiots.

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ancheer folding bike
July 1, 2017 3:21 pm

This is true!

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