“Are Electric Bicycles the Future of Cycling?”
Bicycling magazine asked that question recently on Twitter in reference to an article on the growth of e-bikes as a category. The article by David Howard quotes Pat Hus of Interbike, who estimates that “there are now 150 million e-bikes in use worldwide, mostly in China. By 2025, industry officials believe there will be 650 million in circulation and will make up 50 percent of all bike sales.” I have mentioned before that I believe e-bikes have the potential to introduce cycling to many people who have never considered riding a bicycle as adults. Getting more and more people on bikes is the key to changing attitudes about transportational cycling in the United States (and elsewhere) and I think e-bikes can play a significant role in achieving that goal.
From a design standpoint, electric bikes interest me partly because they have a serious image problem to overcome in order to gain wider acceptance in the U.S. (and presumably in other western cultures). For that reason, I am interested in a design competition that is currently being run by the organizers of the eBikeTec Exhibition & Conference, which will be held in Paris, France April 16th through 18th.
Gaëtan Bayle of ExtraEnergy France, one of the sponsors of the B to B event, explains the idea behind the competition;
“We decided this year to set up a design contest with a short term vision: concepts ready for going to production, not design for a future vision. We want to boost the local manufacturing, so small scale production units, niche markets…
The goal of eBikeTec this year is to develop the e-2 wheels manufacturing in France, so the design contest is to bring fresh ideas, ready to use, to local manufacturing”
The deadline for the competition is March 5th, and after the entries are in the jury will decide on the winners in each of three categories- students, independent, and business. In addition to the jury picks, they hope to have public online voting for an extra award. The organizers want to get the winning entries in production soon, perhaps for the next Eurobike or Bike-Expo, so it is a good opportunity to see your design become a reality quickly.
More information about the competition is available at design.ebiketec.fr. The deadline is only a couple weeks away, so get your entries in soon.
Speaking of design competitions, you still have time to vote for your top pick in the Isuda mobile bike share competition staged here at Bicycle Design. So far, our jury pick is not leading in the reader’s choice poll, but the leader could change before voting closes a week from today.
Update 2/26: As I mentioned in the post, this is a topic that interests me greatly, so I am happy to say that I will now be participating on the jury for this competition. Along with the other jurors, I am looking forward to reviewing your entries in a few weeks.