DeBunking Myths about Electric Bikes

Myth 1. At some point,  toxic lithium batteries will just end up in a landfill. Companies are forming now to recycle the valuable rare earth and other minerals contained in lithium batteries. They not only are very recyclable but they are valuable to recycle. Used electric bike  batteries are going to be a huge business opportunity for the recycling industry. Myth 2. No one wants to ride electric vehicles. Nissan reached its goal of 20,000 reservations for its all-electric LEAF,  three months ahead of schedule. They are back ordered and so are we in the electric bike business. When fuel prices go up, and they will, people want to get out of the expense and bother of petrol vehicles for the economy of electric bikes and cars. Myth 3.Electric bikes and cars are no less pollutive than conventional vehicles because most of our electricity is generated from coal. This would not be true even in a country burning all coal for its electricity but is far off the mark in New Zealand.  We generate about 70% of our power for our electric bikes and cars  from renewable resources, making it far and away more green, and inexpensive, to ride on electric power. In a 2006 DOE report, researchers noted that although most of today’s power plants emit greenhouse gases, with electric vehicles, the overall levels of greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced to about 1/3 the current petrol version, because the entire process of moving a car one mile is more efficient using electricity than producing gasoline and burning it in a car’s engine. Also worth noting is that as many of our older fossil fueled power plants retire, new solar, wind, and geothermal operations will pick up some of the slack, thereby increasing the amount of clean energy being sent to the grid and on to our electric bikes and cars.  Our grid will be managed better as well. New Zealand stands to gain the most from the conversion because of our high level of electricity generated from renewable sources. Myth 4. The grid will be overtaxed if we start using electric bikes and cars. According to a 2007 U.S. study conducted by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, if every vehicle on the road was a plug-in electric vehicle, today’s grid could support more than 75% of them charging at night without adding a single power plant. As New Zealand  gradually shifts its transportation needs to electric bikes and cars, the grid will be made smarter, with new green generation coming online, and general efficiencies will increase to offset the use of power in our electric bikes and cars. Myth 5. Electric cars are not as energy efficient as gasoline-powered cars. The U.S. Department of Energy has done an exhaustive study on this issue and according to them, about 20% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank actually gets used to move your car or run accessories; the remainder is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling. Electric drive systems, however, see about 75% or more of the energy from a battery reaching the wheels. So even with transmission and distribution losses, electric bikes and cars still come out well ahead. Myth 6. Electric bikes and cars are very expensive. When making the calculation of relative cost, one has to factor in the fuel cost over the life of the vehicle.  When you add up all the fossil fuels consumed in your current car, money that flies away to remote countries and corporations, with the very lost cost of charging your bike or car from our locally produced power, the true economy of the electric vehicle comes into focus. For us, here in New Zealand, the purchase price of electric bike  will be one of the soundest investments you could make, for your pocket book, for your national economy, and for the climate your children will inherit.