CHINA’S CYCLISTS TAKE CHARGE

Grrwat story about cyclists and electric bikes in China.

It’s 8 a.m. and Shanghai is moving.

For the cars and trucks crammed together on the elevated highway cutting through downtown, it’s a slow crawl. On the smaller roads below, traffic is rolling at a steady 10 to 15 kilometers per hour in what looks like a more traditional Chinese street scene. Vying with the cars and trucks for the same strip of pavement are a motley assortment of two- and three-wheeled vehicles–everything from simple steel-frame bikes and heavily laden pedal-powered carts to motorized scooters…

For all the talk of China’s growing infatuation with automobiles, the world’s most populous nation continues to roll primarily on two wheels–and, increasingly, an electric motor drives them. The China Bicycle Association, a government-chartered industry group in Beijing, estimates that last year manufacturers sold 7.5 million electric bikes nationwide–nearly double the sales in 2003–and they are likely to ship more than 10 million this year. That’s three times as many as the most optimistic projections for auto sales in China.

There’s a powerful desire for motorized personal transportation in China. In addition, especially now as its cities sprawl. The electric bicycle is that attractive option for commuters, service people, and couriers [see photo, “Pizza! Pizza!”]. At 1500 to 3000 yuan (US $180 to $360), an electric bike is buyable at a small fraction of the cost of an automobile. It is also exhilarating. Hop on and crank that throttle. With an electric motor built into the hub wheel watch out. That motor will propel you to speeds of 20 km/h or more.

Despite the obvious appeal of electric bikes, some Chinese cities have banned them altogether. In addition, they alleging environmental drawbacks and concerns about public safety. But that hasn’t stopped millions from buying electric two-wheelers in China—an astonishing development for advocates who have struggled for a decade to build a market for electric bikes in the United States and Europe.

BY Peter Fairley // June 2005

Written by greenlivingguy

The Green Living Guy, Seth Leitman is a green living expert, celebrity and Editor of the McGraw-Hill, TAB Green Guru Guides. Seth is also an Author, Radio Host, Reporter, Writer and a Environmental Consultant on green living. The Green Living Guy writes about green living, green lighting, the green guru guides and more. Seth's books range from: # Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant and Seth Leitman (2nd and 3rd editions) # Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman # Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel # Green Lighting by Seth Leitman, Brian Clark Howard and Bill Brinsky # Solar Power For Your Home by David Findley # Renewable Energies For Your Home by Russel Gehrke # Do-it-Yourself Home Energy Audits by David Findley # Build Your Own Small Wind Power System by Brian Clark Howard and Kevin Shea # and more green living books to follow.

One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this fascinating essay!I’ve blogged about it this evening. ;-DWith seemingly a zillion people in that county, Bicycles will always be a part of the culture over there despite the economic changes the nation, and its people are undergoing.

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