A commenter on my latest examiner.com post asked "Who is killing the electric bicycle" and suggests it's the electric car.
The story is that last week the Obama Administration announced $2.4 billion in grants to support the electric car industry in the U.S. This is big news and as an EV advocate I'm jazzed about this. The article in question goes over the $1.5 billion of the total that's going to battery industry infrastructure. There are several companies gearing up to make lithium batteries in the U.S.
But. okay. Bicycles. What about them apples?
Basically as exciting as the announcement is - the result will be to reinforce the regime of transportation==cars on highways. I think cars and highways are ugly and degrade our quality of life. On the other hand they do offer a lot of freedom of mobility, that is unless you're stuck in a traffic jam 20 miles long snaking at 15 miles/hr. We get traffic like that in Silicon Valley during "rush" hour and it certainly doesn't feel like freedom to be crawling along at that speed constantly in danger of bumping the car in front of you if you misjudge what's going on.
In an earlier article I noted that Taiwan and Italy both have government incentive programs to buy electric bicycles and scooters.
(aside: one of the early failures of Vectrix was to close sales offices in Italy for some reason.. but if they were selling scooters in Italy today the Italian government would be giving an incentive for their scooters.. gaaaaah!!!)
$2.4 billion would buy a heck of a lot of electric bicycles, don't ya think?
Well that's not the whole story. To be effective the program would have to tie with improved mass transit systems which allow electric bicycles to integrate into the system as a cohesive whole.