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.

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