Transportation is a critical element of urban infrastructure and the urban mobility habits of a population have a direct impact on its social, economic, and environmental health. With the emissions from conventional fossil-fuel-based mobility being one of the major contributors to climate change, there is an urgent need to find alternatives. This is where changing mobility habits from cars to e-bicycles can be a major boost.
Electric cycles are not an anomaly. The first attempt at powering a bicycle with electricity was in the year 1895, but the only reason that this didn’t become mainstream was the lack of supportive infrastructure and the right technology. In 2022, we don’t lack in either.
The biggest catalyst to e-cycle success is the improvement of battery technology. You couldn’t possibly ride a bicycle with the bulky and heavy lead-acid battery. However, with the emergence of Li-ion battery technology and smart AI integrated Battery Management Software, e-cycles have now become more viable, affordable, efficient, and durable.
E-cycle makers are also making the adoption more appealing by offering a wider range of models and customizations to suit the needs of users. It is expected that by the end of 2023, the number of privately and commercially owned e-cycles can touch 500 million units globally.
Let’s take a look at some of the key factors that make e-cycles such an appealing proposition for the average urban commuter.
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Top benefits of electric bicycles for the average urban traveler
Typically, riding a bicycle is considered to be a good workout and can be tiring for those not habitual to so much exertion. However, electrification ensures that pedaling becomes optional. If you want to just enjoy the ride without exertion, you can ride the electric mode.
This could also make the e-cycles more fun when one needs to ride uphill, carry something heavy, or both.
E-cycles can move at speeds of up to 20 kmph which makes them a fast enough mobility option for urban environments. The AI-powered Battery Management System enables a cruise option where the e-cycle is powered to the desired speed and then that speed is maintained. It is easier to stop at traffic signals and accelerate when the signal turns green.
Democratizing personal mobility –
E-cycles are a truly democratic option for urban commuters. They are easy enough to operate even for people who might not use a bicycle otherwise.
For instance, people who are aged or unfit to undertake the exertion of cycling can ride an e-cycle. It is a motorized vehicle with controlled speed, affordable pricing, and ease of ownership. One doesn’t need to apply for a driving license or get the e-cycle registered, the way other vehicles including electric two-wheelers or cars are required to.
The convenience offered by e-cycles goes beyond physical convenience. They can be safely operated through integrated smartphone apps. From monitoring battery levels to navigation or even tracking your e-cycle, there are various features that a top-of-the-line model can offer.
They would also come with options such as LED headlights and tail lights for safer night-time usage. During rush hour, e-cycles are a lot easier to navigate through traffic jams than even the typical 2-wheelers. E-cycles are evolving rapidly, and it is quite likely that they can become an ideal last-mile delivery option for e-commerce or food delivery platforms as well.
We have built our cities with cars and buses being considered the primary modes of local commute. However, the road space is finite, and millions of new cars are added to the cityscapes each year. Thus, congestion and emissions have created a scary scenario where a 5-10 km commute within the city can take as much as an hour in peak traffic.
E-cycles will eliminate such a situation. They are very easy to park, and the lower acceleration makes them safer for all commuters. Once the authorities such as the Government of India, state governments, and municipal corporations start promoting e-cycles the way they promote other EVs, it won’t be difficult for commuters to switch their habits and discover the joy of local commutes.