Are e-bikes eco friendly? The facts.

In 2022, it’s hard to ignore growing global environmental concerns.


Whether it’s the sequence of ever more regular climate disasters, the stalling of legislation at last autumn's COP26, or concerning levels of air pollution, being eco-friendly at both Governmental and individual levels is becoming more than just something to be desired - but an absolute necessity.


While some reject the burden for tackling climate change being placed on the individual, it is irrefutable that each one of us can make a difference to our environment and be more eco-friendly. 


One of the principal ways of reducing your carbon footprint is to drive less. It’s time for bikes to take centre stage! 


Unsurprisingly, at Eco Bike Co HQ, we’re often asked whether e-bikes are eco friendly. 


Short answer? Yes! But let’s look at the facts as to why e-bikes are an eco-friendly transport option.


Zero emissions - cut your carbon footprint with an e-bike


The link between carbon emissions and global warming is well established. 


While many things can contribute to your own carbon footprint, including diet and even clothing choices, for many, the use of carbon emitting transport has the biggest impact.


In the UK, 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from motor vehicles.


With the IPCC aiming to limit global warming to 1.5°C and the UK Government targeting net zero by 2050 everyone needs to play their part.


With Statista reporting private vehicle emissions significantly outstripping those of public transport, opting for a zero emission solution such as an e-bike has never been a better idea.


E-bikes reduced harmful congestion on the roads


Congestion is a serious issue in the UK. 


While the multiple lockdowns of the past two years will have skewed traffic data, UK citizens spent 115 hours in traffic in 2019 - at a total cost of £6.9 million - £894 per driver (not far off the price of a brand-new, high-spec e-bike!)


Traffic increases journey times, in turn increasing the amount of emissions released. Not only is this harmful to the planet, but drivers and passengers suffer, too.


It’s also been noted that traffic causes significant wear and tear to tarmac surfaces - requiring high-emission, heavy-duty repair vehicles to take to the road.


Being emission-free, lightweight and barely impacting traffic levels, an e-bike is clearly the eco-friendly option when it comes to harmful congestion.


Is charging an e-bike from the National Grid eco-friendly?


Okay, the electricity for charging your e-bike battery has to come from somewhere - and you can’t always guarantee how green this energy is.


However, we’ve been encouraged to see the energy mix in the UK notably shifting towards renewable sources. 


Record-breaking levels of green energy use have been recorded, with the National Grid suggesting they will be able to operate the system carbon free by 2025.


Comparatively, the environmental impact of charging from the National Grid is non-existent when compared to the alternative of using a petrol or diesel vehicle.


What’s more, as e-bikes continue to become more technologically advanced, their range per charge continues to improve.  Sustainability Times recently reported how even the most basic e-bikes “offer a range of 20-30 miles on a single charge” - a trend we are also seeing at Eco Bike Co. HQ. 


Increasingly, you’ll find options to charge your bike independently of the grid, using solely renewable energy. For example, this charging station in Tyneside runs exclusively on wind and solar energy with many more such initiatives in the pipeline across the UK.


But wait, are e-bike batteries eco friendly?


Lithium batteries, used in most e-bikes and electric cars, have raised some red flags when it comes to the environment.


There have been legitimate concerns as to how they’re produced, as well as disposed of.


The lithium mining process has been criticised for its impact on surrounding ecosystems, including water supplies - and issues around worker’s rights have been raised. Additionally, the battery recycling industry is still somewhat emergent.


Naturally, this is concerning to us at Eco Bike Co. - however, things are changing.


The composition of minerals in e-bike batteries is shifting to less environmentally impactful combinations, while lithium battery recycling is moving towards greater sustainability.


The fact of the matter, as stated by David Deak, chief technical officer of Lithium Americas and former Tesla employee, is that while lithium batteries may not be perfect, the huge offsetting potential of carbon emissions through electric vehicles when compared to any kind of hydrocarbon combustion engine, more than mitigates their use.


What’s more, any negative impacts of a lithium battery can be immediately reduced by ensuring it is used for as long as possible.  There are a variety of ways to extend your e-bike battery’s life, such as charging at a neutral temperature.


Note: Eco Bike Co. only work with brands whose batteries are produced to the highest environmental and quality standards,


Are e-bikes eco friendly? Final thoughts


While there is still work to be done in terms of making e-bike batteries more eco-friendly - we’re really pleased to see significant steps are already being taken in this department.


Similarly, as the UK’s energy mix continues to become greener, any concerns about charging your e-bike can be alleviated.


Essentially, e-bikes are almost entirely eco-friendly. An emission-free mode of transport, with negligible impact on congestion and road quality, they’re a no-brainer for individuals looking to reduce their carbon footprint.


And we’ve not even begun to talk about the other, numerous, benefits of owning an e-bike.


Why not get in touch with one of our experts today to talk through how an eco-friendly e-bike should be top of your wish-list for 2022?

January 24, 2022 — Sasha Daley