Human Power vs Electric : Bicycles are still the future. 

OUR CO2E TARGET IS 3 TONNES.    ON AVERAGE WE CURRENTLY PRODUCE 10 TONNES OF CO2 PER PERSON...

We all need to have to stop burning fossil fuels by 2050.  We need to drop our CO2 consumption by 60% by 2050.  This is going to require a  re-orientation of human values and consumption.

  • 3 tonne target limit per year = this is the CO2e allowance per person per year 
  • 3 metric tonnes as apposed to the imperial ton.
  • 1 metric tonne = 1000kg (1,000,000 grams) so the maths is very easy..
  • 10 tonnes of CO2 is currently the UK average...
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At the moment the UK makes electricity from mixed sources including coal and gas.  Both of which produce CO2. 

The UK currently produces 0.507kgCO2 per kWh

A bicycle has a CO2 footprint of less than 100kg.  How does an E-Bike compare to that?  

Assuming that the frames will weigh slightly more and adding the CO2 footprint of a battery.  Batteries are also a major components at present are nickel, lithium, copper, cobalt, graphite, and aluminum, and sometimes manganese which all involve the exploits of mining.  

Manufacturing a battery emits an average of 150 kg of CO2 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of battery capacity.

A 500Wh battery produces 75kg of CO2 per to make. This is a larger CO2e footprint than any frame material.  Batteries also need replacing every 5 years, but overall this is not bad compared to car production.

Another thing to consider is the extra weight that you need to carry.  Can you lift this extra weight onto a roof rack, into your house, up the stairs?  

Mountain biking??  500Wh would not get you across the South Downs Way (160km / 100miles).  

The best estimate for hilly and gravel surfaces is 140km at 10km/h.  This is a popular ride for the charity British Heart Foundation and many rider complete this in one day.

So a carbon footprint for an e-Bike is 250kg or 1/4Tonne of CO2e.

However if an E-Bike means 1 less car then that is a good thing.  There is a market for electric freight bikes that would replace those short distance shopping trips.

E-Bike vs E-Car Comparisons:

  • An E-bike has a 0.5kWh battery producing 250g of CO2 per charge (with a 140km range).
  • Nissan Leaf has a 30kWh battery producing 8.5kg of CO2 per charge (172km range).

If we all used a combination of walking cycling and e-Bikes then the transport infrastructure would be under pressure to change.  This would make things cleaner and safer for everybody.