The world we know and love is dying, but we’re working on fixing that. Humanity is pushing inexorably towards electrified vehicles, trying to get those hydrocarbons and greenhouse gases from combustion engines out of our atmosphere. But are we doing the right thing? Are EVs the only way to preserve our world for future generations? Or should we be looking at e-bikes instead?
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So far, the former has been our focus, but more and more people are pushing for smaller, less energy-hungry methods of personal propulsion. From members of the House of Representatives on down to Twitter meme-makers, more and more Americans are hopping on the e-mobility train. A new report from Slate shows just how popular the movement has become — and how much it could help our planet.
Slate discussed the push towards e-bikes as transit from a number of different angles. First, the legislative side — the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment Act (Get it? EBIKE Act?), proposed by representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jimmy Panetta, and its initial failure as part of the Inflation Reduction Act and eventual resurgence as a standalone bill in the House. The bill would partially subsidize e-bikes for American buyers, with the hope of pushing more people out of gasoline cars — or out of cars entirely.
Slate also covered the environmental side, referencing a study from the University of Toronto that claimed electric vehicles alone aren’t enough to limit climate change — we can’t just limit ICE engines, we need to limit driving. It makes sense, if you think about it: Moving 150-pound people with 4,000-pound vehicles was never going to be the peak of efficiency.
The full piece from Slate is worth a read; their research and interviews with experts paint a very clear picture. Much of humanity’s railing against climate change has focused on the electrification of the motor vehicle. But if we can consider replacing the motor vehicle with something smaller, more efficient, and less wasteful, we may stand a better chance of keeping this planet alive a bit longer.