Thursday, November 29, 2007

11-29-07: Electric Bike Gets 110 Miles Per Charge

I was watching DiggNation the other day and saw an interesting article about a Japanese scooter-like motorbike that was entirely electric-powered and got 110 miles to the charge. Pretty decent, especially considering the price tag of $2100. That’s pretty remarkable. Imagine what the price would be if this thing was mass produced.

Things like this bike get me thinking about how much money we could all save if more people bought in to this sort of innovation. I’m not referring to how this could save our environment or stop global warming or any of that bullshit. I’m talking about saving some cash. What if companies started to offer incentives for employees to use these bikes to commute? You’d need to charge them up, so why not let employees do that at work? There’d have to be some logistics to work through, but it’s an idea. What about a tax break for people who buy these, like they already offer for hybrids? Give the people a $500 tax credit. That’d cut the price by ¼, probably over 1/3 by the time these things hit the streets in the U.S. Even if it’s just for the summer, I’d ride one of those puppies to work.

There are situations where this doesn’t make a lot of sense, such as winter time in the Northeast. That’d be just insane, unless these things could handle the snow really well. I’d doubt it. But still, if more people used electrically powered transportation, it would at least cut down on fuel consumption. It would also reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Sure, it would require some fossil fuel burning (nuclear power, anyone?), but the net cost of coal is lower than oil.

On the other hand, there are situations where this is ideal, like for those people who live in or near cities. If your city has public transportation, that should be your first option, but how about one of these neat bikes? You can probably take these on the highway, too, because from what I’ve heard they can go over 90 miles per hour. That should be fast enough for anyone.

This may just be an electrical engineer talking, but this sort of innovation is going to help move society forward. Look out for more of this in the near future.

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