Electric bikes are becoming a part of daily life throughout the world. A sustainable, low-cost form of transport which is gaining momentum across the globe. Asia is the driving force behind eBikes, as of 2012 one hundred million are bikes produced annually for international markets.
as of 2012 one hundred million bikes are produced annually for international markets
Across Europe the uptake of electric bikes has been substancial with Italy and Germany now selling more electric bikes every year than conventional push bikes. With The Netherlands, Austria, America and Canada also following these trends it is clear to see why motor vehicle companies such as Audi, BMW, Ducati and Mercedes along with electronic componentry companies Panasonic and Samsung have joined the electric bike market.
Unlike the rest of the world, Australia is well behind on the uptake of electric bikes. The main objective of Australia's first Electric Bike Trial which will run for four years is to increase awareness of electric bikes though participation while better understanding rider behaviour and ideals with the assistance of quality data collection.
For the trial we have selected a style of electric bike specifically designed for corporate advertising, this allows specific messages and trial branding to be displayed on the bikes. The bikes standout when being riden enabling successful promotion of electric bike use. The bikes are supplied by local electric bike specialist Dolomiti in Carlton, Victoria.
For the first intake into the trial over 400 applications were received from the Melbourne area through social media and online advertising. The first group consists of 17 trial participants who were put through an interview process to qualify entry requirements and a spread of demographic to enable valid data. Participants who were selected generally live between 5 and 15 kilometers from Melbourne's CBD and commute into the CBD every day via public transport.
Each electric bike is fitted with a GPS tracking device. The GPS receives coordinates every two seconds, via GPRS tracking of paths traveled, distance covered and current speed are pushed out to a server which logs the data. Alongside the GPS data each participant will complete a behavioural survey before, during and after their trial period. The survey, designed in collaboration with The University of Monash, consists of questions on:
The GPS and survey data from some 200 participants over the four years is processed by systems at Monash University's Institute of Transport Studies. We hope government, council and corporate bodies will be able to use this data to better understand electric bike use and how to successfully implement this sustainable transport solution