Category Archives: Environment

Can e-bikes help in the fight against climate change?

E-bikes are criticized by traditional bickers as somewhat in between a car and a the common bicycle. It is clear that they do not pollute as much as a car, but neither do they use they only the energy of your legs. Rather, they need electricity for a propel functioning and all depends on the pool of energy the electricity comes from. For example, if you live in a country where all the energy is produced by renewable energy, that is OK, but if your country generates 20% of it from green sources and 80% from pollutant origins, then the e-bikes are not so environmentally friendly as one can thought. Still, it is better than a pollutant car, and environmental activism should be done to contribute to the change of the energy sources in the last country.

Some figures I have found on the carbon footprint related to e-bikes are the following:

– 75% is generated in the production process

– 15% goes to the batteries charging

– 10% compromises logistics, packaging and the recycling of the e-bike at the end of its life

– The carbon footprint of an e-bike is around 14 CO2 grams/km. Compare it with 150 CO2 grams/km of a car or the 60-80 CO2 grams/km of the public transport

Moreover, an e-bike consumes about 7 Wh. If a 500 Wh battery is incorporated to the same bike, it can travel more than 80 km. For a comparison purpose, this energy cost is similar to a microwave working for 30 minutes, a computer for 2 hours or a refrigerator for 60 minutes.

Besides, the cargo e-bike allows transporting impressive loads from common shopping to a piano. Indeed, more a more parcel deliveries are using them in what is called the last mile delivery which is usually done inside cities and villages.


Most of us enjoyed putting together toys pieces when we were young or joined machine parts when adults. Now, imagine you could make the same with bicycles provided you do not work in a production line. Would not it be marvelous? Well, you can do it thanks to the Openbike project.

Raquel Ares and Iñaki Albistur are the founders of Arquimaña (Basque Country, Spain), an architecture study with digital manufacturing workshop since 2010. The idea under Arquimaña is simple and powerful: To create original bicycles from wood, plastic or aluminum, and by using common tools that you can find in a digital manufacturing workshop such as 3D impression or CNC cutting. Besides, they opt to free design, so whoever wants to contribute is welcomed.

Knowledge is the inner source of the Openbike project. Thus, what you need to do is go to the webpage project, select the REV bike model you want, download information and e-handbooks, and start creating your new bicycle. Arquimaña also encourages to modify the REV models so that more original vehicles are created and share with the Openbike project. Hence, the community increases month after month. If you access the webpage project, you will see all the REV models are built in wood. This way your bike will be more environmentally friendly.

The bike footprint

Protecting the environment is urgent and challenging for human beings as numerous international administrations have been demonstrating, although there are still some dumb who denied it. Some firms are taken it seriously by doing specific actions, changing processes, looking for green providers, etc., while some others practice the greenwashing in order to try their customers believe they are green. What is important is not words or advertising, what really matters is deeds.

If we take into account the whole lifecycle of a bike, that way of transport contaminates even if we consider a traditional bicycle (ebikes pollute more). Think in the raw materials it needs, the industrial processes, logistics and so on. However, some companies are taking steps to fight against climate change. Trek Bicycle is implementing actions to diminish their footprint. Firstly, they hire a consultant firm to know its carbon footprint at worldwide level: 300,000 tonnes of CO2 yearly. They discovered that pedaling 692 km in bike instead of in car compensates the carbon footprint of that bicycle. Secondly, once knowing these figures they cudgeled their brains and determined the 10 commandment of sustainability:

  • Get bigger the use of bicycles

  • Increase shared bicycles

  • Ban plastic in packaging

  • Build and protect new environmentally friendly paths

  • Create production factories with zero residues

  • Augment the use of alternative, green materials

  • Reduce the business trips

  • Boom the use of renewable energies

  • Group deliveries to stores

  • Diminish the use of airplane

From a firm point of view, I would personally add additional points like use green materials like wood, or recycled ones. Finally, public organizations and governments should strain to create and improve bike infrastructures.