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E-bikes in the Mainstream: Reviewing a Decade of Research

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  • Elliot Fishman
  • Christopher Cherry

Abstract

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) represent one of the fastest growing segments of the transport market. Over 31 million e-bikes were sold in 2012. Research has followed this growth and this paper provides a synthesis of the most pertinent themes emerging over the past on the burgeoning topic of e-bikes. The focus is transport rather than recreational e-bike research, as well as the most critical research gaps requiring attention. China leads the world in e-bike sales, followed by the Netherlands and Germany. E-bikes can maintain speed with less effort. E-bikes are found to increase bicycle usage. E-bikes have the potential to displace conventional motorised (internal combustion) modes, but there are open questions about their role in displacing traditional bicycles. E-bikes have been shown to provide health benefits and an order of magnitude less carbon dioxide than a car travelling the same distance. Safety issues have emerged as a policy issue in several jurisdictions and e-bike numbers are now approaching levels in which adequate safety data are able to be collected. Research on e-bikes is still in its infancy. As e-bike usage continues to grow, so too will the need for further research, in order to provide the necessary data to inform policy-makers and industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Elliot Fishman & Christopher Cherry, 2016. "E-bikes in the Mainstream: Reviewing a Decade of Research," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 72-91, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:transr:v:36:y:2016:i:1:p:72-91
    DOI: 10.1080/01441647.2015.1069907
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cherry, Christopher & Cervero, Robert, 2007. "Use characteristics and mode choice behavior of electric bike users in China," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 247-257, May.
    2. Susan Handy & Bert van Wee & Maarten Kroesen, 2014. "Promoting Cycling for Transport: Research Needs and Challenges," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 4-24, January.
    3. Cherry, Christopher R. & Weinert, Jonathan X. & Yang, Xinmiao, 2009. "Comparative Environmental Impacts of Electric Bikes in China," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt16k918sh, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    4. Jonathan Weinert & Chaktan Ma & Christopher Cherry, 2007. "The transition to electric bikes in China: history and key reasons for rapid growth," Transportation, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 301-318, May.
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