Previous research shows that e-bike owners use private cars less than other transport user groups, and also report to have changed from motorised to non-motorised transport. A challenge with many studies is that they are either retrospective or cross-sectional, thus giving little control over confounding factors.
The study found that people who purchased an e-bike increased their bicycle use from 2.1 to 9.2 km per day on average, representing a change in bike as share of all transport from 17 to 49 percent. The comparison group had negligible changes in cycling during the same time period, and the choice of comparison group had a very marginal effect on the results. The results show that the large change in cycling we previously found of a trial scheme with e-bikes is replicated with actual customers. The change in cycling share is somewhat larger than it was for the short-term users, showing that mode change from e-bikes is not just a novelty effect.
Summary: The E-Bike Potential: Estimating regional e-bike impacts on greenhouse gas emissions.
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) have been found to offer a promising solution to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of a region’s passenger transportation system. Using data from a North American survey of e-bike owners, a mode replacement model was adapted and augmented to consider the case of Portland, or for various levels of e-bike person miles traveled (PMT) mode share penetration.
It was estimated that for a 15% e-bike PMT mode share, car trip mode share could be reduced from 84.7% to 74.8%. Total car PMT per day could be reduced from 28.9 million to 25.5 million. Furthermore, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from passenger transportation could be reduced by 12% after accounting for e-bike emissions from electricity generation and induced e-bike trips. An individual e-bike could provide an average reduction of 225 kg CO2 per year.
These estimates show that e-bikes have the potential to help cities and regions achieve their climate goals. Additionally, this research can be used to support policies and programs necessary to facilitate the growth of this emerging mode to realize carbon reduction impacts.