74 hours in Munich. 71 hours in Berlin. 56 hours in Hamburg. According to the Inrix 1 study, commuters in German cities spent this much time in traffic jams last year. In other words, commuters in Munich spent just over two average German working weeks in traffic jams. What a waste of time when you think of what they could do in that time. Now the question is, are there alternatives?
The electric bike as a comfortable and eco-friendly alternative to the car
German commuters travel around 17 kilometers 2 on their way to work. We admit that the electric bike loses out in terms of time, especially on longer journeys. In this case, it is a decision in favor of exercise and fresh air and against commuters getting to work as quickly as possible. However, when commuting routes take you through a city or a conurbation, the electric bike has a clear advantage. There is an alternative route for almost every commuter route, enabling you to avoid congestion on the main traffic axes.
How environmentally friendly is an electric bike compared to a car?
In terms of the CO2 emitted, riding an electric bike is much better than driving a car or traveling by bus and train. This is the conclusion reached in a study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg. Figures from the Vrije University of Brussels from 2020 also corroborate this finding. According to this study, the CO2 emitted by an electric bike is between 7 and 7.8 grams per kilometer. The figure for an electric car is around 15 times higher. And with a combustion engine that runs on diesel fuel, 28 times higher.
Let’s try a simple calculation example:
We assume that an electric bike emits 150 grams less CO2 per kilometer ridden than a car on the same route. In addition, we expect an average commute of 17 kilometers and 20 working days per month.
CO2 advantage of electric bikes compared to cars per kilometer 150 grams
CO2 benefit for an average commuter in one year 612,000 grams or 612 kilograms.
By way of comparison:
On average, every person in Germany eats a good 50 kilograms of meat. One kilogram of beef emits 12 kilograms of CO2. In total, this results in CO2 emissions of around 600 kilograms.
If you travel to work on an electric bike, you save about the same amount of CO2 as if you did without meat for a year. 3
So far, so good. This raises the question of which technology is behind this environmentally friendly method of transport and for whom an electric bike is suitable.
How does an electric bike work?
As the name suggests, an electric bike, also known as an e-bike or pedelec, is a bicycle that is electrically powered.
The built-in motor assists riders in their journey and ensures that they can either get to their destination faster, can take part in a longer tour or simply travel more comfortably than on a bicycle without assistance. The electric bike obtains the necessary electricity from a built-in battery. The sophisticated software, the “system”, ensures that all components work together perfectly.
As soon as an electric cyclist pedals, the system analyzes torque, speed and pedaling frequency. Only as much assistance as necessary is provided. On the electric bike tour, this is demonstrated by the fact that the motor pushes powerfully at low speeds and high pedaling frequency; for example, when driving off at an intersection or on steep inclines. Or that it reduces assistance at high speeds and high pedaling frequencies (e.g. on a flat track). With different assistance levels, it is also possible to vary how intensively the system should provide assistance.
The intensity of the assistance always has a direct influence on the range of a battery charge. The batteries of electric bikes are, of course, not inexhaustible and have to be recharged after a certain number of kilometers. To make sure you don't get a rude awakening, the electric bike system calculates the remaining range for you. This is shown on the display.
Here we have put together eight tips for you on how to optimize the range of your electric bike:
Who is an electric bike suitable for?
The simple answer is: for (almost) everyone. For your own safety, however, as a future electric cyclist, you should meet the following basic requirements:
- You can ride a bike and have an intact feeling for balance and speed.
- You can get on and off the electric bike without any problems.
- You can quickly and safely stop the electric bike in an emergency.
- You know the rules of road traffic.
- You show consideration for other road users, hikers, animals and nature.
- You have a driving license which allows you to ride an e-bike with pedal assist at speeds of up to 45 km/h.
If you meet these basic requirements, nothing stands in the way of your electric bike adventure. In different life situations, an electric bike can simplify and enrich your everyday life. Here are some possible uses as inspiration:
- Go to work on an electric bike instead of taking the car, clear your head early in the morning and avoid traffic jams.
- Go on a long tour on an electric bike and discover the beauty of a new region with ease.
- Use your electric bike as a means of transport in your everyday life – thanks to the right accessories, for example, for weekly shopping or transporting children.
- Extend a mountain bike tour in terms of distance and total elevation gain in order to enjoy nature even more intensively.
Find out how to find the right electric bike here.
What do you exercise when riding an electric bike?
Electric cyclists are not sporty, lazy and wouldn’t be able to move without a motor. A prejudice that persists with some “non-electric cyclists”. A study by the University of Basel has clearly refuted these prejudices.
Riding an electric bike regularly has comparable health and fitness benefits
The study by the University of Basel examined how the oxygen uptake capacity of test subjects changes. Half the test subjects regularly rode an electric bike and the other half regularly rode a bicycle without a motor. After one month, both groups of subjects showed an equal improvement in their capacity for oxygen uptake. If the subjects maintained constant exercise, the risk of cardiovascular disease would be reduced. The study concludes that the heart therefore works more economically. 4
Various muscle groups are also trained when riding an electric bike. First and foremost, your leg muscles. Your arm and torso muscles also ensure stability and balance on the bike. In addition, riding an electric bike is a particularly gentle workout for the joints.
Fresh air is good for you
When you commute on an electric bike, you automatically spend a few minutes in the fresh air. Fresh air has a positive effect on mood, the immune system and brain functions. 5 The body can recharge its batteries with fresh oxygen and is ready for a challenging day at work. And on the way home, the fresh air helps to reduce stress so that you can enjoy the evening with an easy mind.
Health & FitnessFresh air is good for you
Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular
According to an ADAC study, 20% of all respondents are considering buying an electric bike. Almost three quarters want to do so by the end of 2023. Three quarters of people who want to buy an electric bike also indicated that they do not yet own an electric bike and would like to find out more before buying an electric bike.6
Electric bikes: buying from your trusted specialist dealer
The results of the study show that future electric cyclists have a strong need for information. After all, buying an electric bike is a considerable investment that you want to enjoy for a long time to come. Two-thirds of those surveyed and who intend to buy indicated that they will seek advice from a store based specialist dealer. 6
Purchasing from a specialist dealer has the advantage that your electric bike is adjusted by a professional to suit your size, weight and personal preferences. This guarantees an optimum seating position and unlimited riding enjoyment. The specialist dealer also offers the necessary assistance in the maintenance of the electric bike. They ensure that the pleasure of an electric bike lasts a long time.
E-bike 150 g less CO2 than car per kilometer traveled.
Commuting: 17 km per day: 20 working days per month = 340 kilometers per month x 12 months = 4'080 kilometers
150g x 4080 kilometers = 612'000 grams = 612 kilograms
1 kg beef = 12 kg CO2
612 / 12 = 51
Meat consumption by Germans per year: 55 kilograms (https://www.ble.de/)