Bicycle Industry Submission Says E-Bikes Critical to EV Transition

Canberra, ACT

A finalised bicycle industry submission to the Federal Government’s National Electric Vehicle Strategy (NEVS) and discussion paper says incorporating micromobility into the NEVS, and its recommended actions, is critical to the Government’s ambitious plan to accelerate transition in the transport sector.

The submission was prepared last week by national peak bike advocacy group We Ride Australia in collaboration with AusCycling and the State and Territory cycling peak bodies, and with input from bike and e-mobility companies.

“An average e-bike is up to 80 times cheaper than a standard electric car, which might explain why the number of e-bikes purchased in Australia in 2021 (75,000) was three times higher than electric car sales.”

The resulting document strongly supports the Government’s goals to make all electric vehicles more affordable and expand uptake.

It goes on to say micromobility could provide a much more rapid, cost effective and accessible solution than electric cars, which until now have dominated public discussion about a shift to EVs.

We Ride’s submission says it will take more than a decade for Australia’s internal combustion engine (ICE) car fleet to be replaced by electric cars – even with rapid uptake – and the current cost of electric cars put them out of reach of many Australians.

An average e-bike is up to 80 times cheaper than a standard electric car, which might explain why the number of e-bikes purchased in Australia in 2021 (75,000) was three times higher than electric car sales.

It was a similar story in the US, where 880,000 e-bikes were purchased during 2021, almost double the previous year, and comfortably ahead of the 608,000 electric cars sold last year.

We Ride last month put out a call for bike industry members to provide input to help inform the submission, which comes on the eve of the inaugural Micromobility Conference & Expo in Sydney on 25th and 26th November.

We Ride is a partner of the conference and its submission says there is considerable opportunity for micromobility to replace the millions of short journeys Australian make by car each day.

The Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity (VISTA) in 2018 found the average car journey in Melbourne was just 4.3km, “indicating there could be several other modes suitable to complete those trips if their use was supported and incentivised”.

Nationally, 15% of all trips are less than a kilometre, 30% are shorter than 2km and 55% are within 5km.

We Ride says there is also massive potential and huge emissions savings to be made by using e-cargo bikes for parcel, food and other deliveries in urban centres.

“Demand for urban last-mile delivery is expected to grow by 78% by 2023, leading to 36% more delivery vehicles in the world’s top 100 cities. This will result in a 30% increase in carbon emissions,” the report says.

Not only will switching to e-cargo bikes bring a 90% cut in emissions, a review of last-mile deliveries in London found e-cargo bikes can complete deliveries 60% faster than delivery vans.

The review found electric cargo bikes were capable of making 10 deliveries per hour on average in urban areas, while delivery vans recorded six deliveries in the same period.

One of the world’s leading authorities on last-mile deliveries, Jules Flynn, will be a presenter at the Micromobility Conference, showing how e-cargo bikes are transforming fleet management and delivery services, with reducing their CO2 emissions by up to 75%.

The conference will examine many topics set to boost the market for bikes and other forms of e-mobility, including:

  • New e-scooter technology that detects different path surfaces and obstacles and automatically limits the scooter’s speed accordingly, to improve the safety of riders and other path users
  • New data collection and evaluation tools to better plan the implementation of active transport infrastructure and increase rider safety
  • A study of the UK Healthy Streets approach and how it is being applied in Australia
  • How cities around the world are collaborating proactively with e-bike and e-scooter share service providers to achieve mutual benefit.
  • New apps helping riders find the safest or easiest routes to their destinations and inspiring them to travel by micromobility
  • New parking and docking solutions for e-bikes and e-scooters
  • Measures to make commuting to school safer for students and their parents

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