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Electric Bike Sales Soar Worldwide

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Electric Bike Sales Soar Worldwide

Photo credit: Pressebild Eurobike

While data from the National Bike Dealers Association shows that Americans bought nearly 19 million bicycles in 2012, electric bike sales finished at less than 1 percent of that amount

However, the 159,000 e-bikes sold from 2011 to 2012 in the U.S. still show plenty of growth. Americans purchased just 70,000 e-bikes the previous 12 months, according to EV World.

"That's not a big market, but it is a market that just doubled," Ed Benjamin, chairman of the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA), told EV World. "That's an important piece of data."

Meanwhile, e-bike sales are booming in the 27 states that comprise the European Union (EU). Consumers in those states bought 854,000 e-bikes, according to COLIBI, the Association of the European Bicycle Industry. Benjamin expects that number to soar to 2 million by the end of this year. In 2004, about 200,000 were sold.

Benjamin told EV World that the same sort of growth is possible in the U.S., but on a much smaller scale.

"[In Europe] we have a nine-year period in which sales went up to 10 times what they were in 2004," he said. "We're going to see something similar in the United States, but it'll be a little bit slower. The United States is not a bicycle-as-transportation culture. We are a cars-are-transportation culture."

Electric bike sales in the European Union's 27 states (x 1,000) during 2012. Graphic credit: COLIBI

Benjamin spoke with EV World for more than a half hour about the trends that could push U.S. e-bike sales in the coming years:

Though e-bike growth is not as explosive in the U.S. as it is in Europe, clearly its popularity is on the rise worldwide.

Visit EcoWatch’s TRANSPORTATION page for more related news on this topic.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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