E-bikes could cut car carbon dioxide emissions in England by up to 50% if used to replace car travel, University of Leeds researchers from the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) have found.
This equates to about 30 million tonnes per year, researchers said. Even replacing just 20% of car miles travelled with e-bike travel would mean four to eight million fewer tonnes of carbon emitted each year.
The greatest impact on carbon emissions would come from e-bike use outside urban centres. In Denmark, e-bike routes are already linking cities to towns and villages. E-bikes can help people make longer journeys than conventional cycles and could bring new transport options to people living outside urban centres.
Researchers also found that e-bikes could help to cut the costs of travel in neighbourhoods characterised by low incomes, limited access to public transport and where many car journeys could be replaced with e-bike use.
Dr Ian Philips, University of Leeds and CREDS, who led the research, said: “The strategic potential of e-bikes as a mass-transport option has been overlooked by policymakers so far. The research began as a way to measure the potential carbon savings that e-bikes can offer, but as we emerge from the lockdown, e-bikes can be part of the solution to getting people safely mobile once again.
“We’re recommending that Governments across the UK should find ways to incentivise e-bike use to replace car journeys. As well as lowering carbon emissions from transport, e-bikes have the potential to improve the mobility options for people and communities at risk of transport poverty.”