EBike performance in urban commuting: how does it compare to motorised modes?

The current technology for Electric Bicycles (sometimes referred to as “Pedal Assist” (Pedelec) Bikes or EBikes) is exceptionally well resolved, to the point where their range is not that far off electric cars. Mainstream EBikes now offer a pedal assist range on full charge of up to 110km, and provide amazing operating endurance with continuous average speeds of at least 25km/h throughout their range when operating in assist mode, even when negotiating gradients which would reduce a human cyclist to walking pace. The manufacturers of mid-market EBikes also claim outstanding operational performance more akin to what one would expect with a motor vehicle than a bicycle, with electric assist motors built to provide a serviceable life of 100,000km and battery life of up to 20,000km. Given the fact that cyclists use commuter bicycles for short to medium length urban trips, this impressive serviceability means that an EBike can provide a potential service life that is on par with the expectations for a conventional motor vehicle. With all the advantages that an EBike offers, why have they failed to make significant inroads as a modal choice in Australian urban areas? If EBikes were widely adopted (at least by the cycling fraternity), what changes to our transport system would be needed to make them a realistic urban travel mode? How effective is the road and cycling network in catering to EBikes? This paper compares the performance of EBikes as a travel modal choice compared to other travel modal choices in terms of travel efficiency and discusses the implications for Adelaide’s transport networks to accommodate this travel mode. Finally, this paper concludes with transport policy recommendations for improving the modal share of electric bicycles for urban commuting in Australian cities.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 21p
  • Monograph Title: 38th Australasian Transport Research Forum (ATRF 2016), Melbourne, 16th - 18th November 2016

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01627485
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 27 2017 10:14AM