Spoiler alert: Electric cars are the future, and they’re destined to replace fossil-fueled cars. Unless you bury your head firmly in the sand, it won’t shock you.
But credit where credit is due. We humans, we are a very clever animal. We figured out how to build huge communities fueled by a large portion by punching holes in the ground and then burning prehistoric ultra-pressure algae. That was a great trick, until we realized it had one small downside of destroying the world we leave for our children. Excuse me.
We are now in the process of correcting this error. Some embrace change wholeheartedly, others are dragged into the future, kicking and screaming. But make no mistake, it is the future and it will come.
But here’s the other little thing: While electric cars are undoubtedly the future and will represent the single biggest shift in the private transportation sector as we move away from fossil-fueled cars, they aren’t Just The solution.
But it’s certainly promoted as it is, because few people make that much money buying an electric car. However, there are other alternatives to shifting your transportation towards an electric future and away from fossil fuels, even without owning an electric car. This is exactly what I did.
Every day I drive around my city by electric car. In fact, I have several electric cars. They just aren’t electric cars. They are a wide range of smaller personal electric vehicles.
Electric bikes. Electric bikes. Electric bikes. Electric bikes. Electric skateboards. I own them all and use them all the time for my personal transportation. Each one costs me just a fraction of a Tesla or any luxury electric car you hear about today. And each one of them takes me around town faster, using less energy, less money, and a bigger smile on my face when I arrive. Well, except for the electric skateboard on that last note – this is equal parts fun and terrifying depending on which roads I skate. So maybe that’s part smiles, and part grimace of slow-moving horror.
I listed electric bikes first because e-bikes make up the bulk of my urban rides.
If there is a true miracle pill that can solve the biggest problems of urban transportation, this is it. The humble electric bike is the answer.
Don’t like to be stuck in traffic? Riding an e-bike.
Expensive cars? Riding an e-bike.
No parking? Riding an e-bike.
No time in your busy schedule for some light exercise or physical activity? Riding an e-bike.
Electric bikes are the great drug for solving the biggest inconveniences of getting around the city. I’ll never be able to smile because I’m able to take the bike lane and fly past some nasty nonsense in the BMW department because it’s stuck in traffic.
Sure, e-bikes were all very expensive once upon a time. But those days are over. The prices of good and affordable electric bikes are constantly improving. One of my favorite e-bikes for city commuting costs 25 miles per hour and barely costs a thousand dollars. For the cost of one Tesla, you can give an entire apartment building full of people their personal electric car.
But even more than the cost and convenience savings of e-bikes, they also solve long-term problems that we don’t like to talk about.
While finding easy and free parking or using a cheat code to skip morning rush hour traffic are the flashy benefits of electric bikes, other big upsides like not leaving your grandchildren in the fiery hells of the planet are great perks too.
As I mentioned, I use all kinds of personal electric vehicles to get around my city. When I need to travel at higher speeds, I jump on my electric motorcycle or electric bike.
For utility, I can’t beat the NIU NQi GT Extended Range. It reaches nearly 50 mph (80 km/h), has a cargo box in the back plus more room at my feet to carry larger items, and has a range of about 60 miles (100 km) on a charge. All for a fraction of the cost of an electric car.
Oh yeah, and I love the way my wife hugs me so tightly when she rides on her back.
As much as I love my electric bike, my NIU is one of my personal favorite electric vehicles. It may sound silly, but it’s a two-wheeled electric minivan. Check it out in my trip video below.
For shorter trips when an electric scooter or e-bike is more than I need (and don’t want to lock an e-bike outside), I’ll ride a smaller electric scooter or electric skateboard. Both can usually be brought into multiple businesses or offices without anyone knocking.
I’ve even tried electric unicycles, which are actually incredibly convenient as a full-size, bag-portable passenger vehicle.
But overall, e-bikes are my favorite form of electric vehicle. And since it happens to be National Bike to Work Day (look at how well that worked, almost as planned…), maybe it’s a good time to think about how the e-bike can work for you, too.
As explained by Dan Dumansau, Bird’s Vice President of Consumer Products, via email to Electric“We believe National Bike Action Day should be every day! Every short drive that takes place with an eco-friendly bike contributes to cleaner air and safer streets for communities.”
I can’t agree more with Dan. I’ll be riding his Bird V-Frame electric bike soon for a review, but in the meantime I’ve reviewed hundreds of electric bikes and just about everyone can make a great alternative to a car for getting around town (although some might be a little overkill to do the job).
In the end, we are all collectively staring down the barrel of climate disaster. just us. Changing our transportation habits is one of the many ways we can make a meaningful contribution to not completely destroying the livability of our planet.
But while electric cars are often promoted as the brilliant solution, sometimes no cars are the best solution. Instead, smaller personal electric cars (or even non-electric pedal vehicles for the fittest) are the better solution for cities around the world.
There are many other useful solutions that should not be overlooked. Improving public transportation systems to reduce dependence on the car would be another big step in the right direction.
Even areas that do not include transportation should be screened. Taking a closer look at how and where we produce our food and its impact on climate change would have another massive impact. Personally, I just celebrated one year of switching to a largely vegan diet (I cheat with ice cream), and I’m proud to say I’ve avoided even the common pitfall of smugly telling the world. oh wait, Curse.
The point is, there are a lot of steps we can all take, some small and some big, that can help us move toward a future with a massive reduction in human impact on climate change. But flashy “switching to an electric car” commercials don’t provide the panacea many hope.
Change starts small and starts locally. And when it comes to reducing the impact of our transportation needs, small and local are essentially synonymous with personal electric vehicles. They go together like hikers with sandal and granola.
And whether it’s throwing your leg over a budget electric bike or strapping it on to an exciting commuting motorcycle helmet and jacket to work on an electric vehicle that takes up only 20% of the space of an electric pickup truck (and that only costs 10% of the bill) to charge), there are plenty of fun and effective alternatives. that tend to sell themselves.
Speaking of which, we just now need more state incentives to make it more affordable. While there are great electric bikes available at literally every price level, there is likely to be something for you already.
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