E-bike Grand Prix: Racing for the future

The E-bike Grand Prix is a new technology-driven race series, established with a mission to showcase electric bike development. Judith Rowan, global host cities director of the event, sets out the future of e-bikes

This piece first appeared in our sister title BikeBiz’s April magazine – get your free subscription here

City cycling has long been accepted as an efficient and active way to get from A to B and the last two years have seen a significant increase in journeys by bike. 

Governments worldwide have been increasing their focus on tackling the climate emergency, and across Europe EVs are offered tax discounts, subsidised through government schemes and made exempt from toll payments. 

These factors combined have created the perfect environment for the electric bike market to flourish. So, what are the benefits of this mode of transport and why should we increase uptake further?

E-bikes are incredibly inclusive – possibly more than any other vehicle. The assisted power feature makes it easier for people to cycle up hills and steep inclines, putting less pressure on joints and enabling people to cycle for longer. 

US-based e-bike company Cowboy recently published research to support this, but also found that e-bikes have the potential to improve cardiovascular fitness as much as their non-assisted peers, so no-one is taking a health-hit when they opt for an electrically assisted pedaller.

As a result, older populations can experience a new form of independence and mobility whilst engaging with the outdoors – all of which has a positive impact both on their physical and mental well-being. 

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest benefits of e-bikes is how they can help cities across the globe meet their net-zero targets.

Data from the UK Government found that, in 2020, 59% of car trips were under five miles – a distance that can be achieved on an e-bike. Considering that an individual e-bike can provide an average reduction of 225 kg CO2 per year, carbon emissions could be reduced by 12% if just 15% of urban transportation miles travelled were made by e-bike as opposed to motor vehicle.

A recent study by the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds found that e-bikes also have the potential to help in rural communities and towns where people would struggle to make their journeys by walking or using a non-assisted bike. 

Whilst the cost of purchasing e-bikes might be inaccessible to some, micromobility operators, such as Tier Mobility, Nextbike and Lime, offer the opportunity to rent e-bikes for a short period – enabling riders to hop on and off at will, at a cost that suits them. 

The e-bike market looks set to soar, estimated to reach over $40m by 2030, but its success relies on the development and implementation of cycling infrastructure. 

There are encouraging signs from the US, where e-bikes are outselling electric cars, but their numbers still lag behind Europe, where cycling is much more popular, and supported with developed infrastructure and policymaking. 

This combination of advancing e-bike technology, and our determination to bring about a positive impact on the environment and tackle climate change, led to us developing the E-Bike Grand Prix. 

Through this ground-breaking global race series, we will raise awareness of the benefits of e-bikes, launch a new, exhilarating sport, and encourage people across the globe to make environmentally friendly choices when thinking about transport options. 

Through the sustainable and transformational plans that we ask host cities to sign up to, we will help global governments to deliver, implement and amplify sustainable solutions across all areas of city life, from transport to health, in our mission to create cleaner, greener cities.

The EBK GP is due to begin later this year with a showcase event in Dubai, taking place in 10 cities around the world across 2023. South Korea and the UAE have recently been confirmed as the first two nations participating in the series.

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