Status of carbon pricing worldwide. IETA
Worldwide, carbon pricing has become a cornerstone policy tool for tackling climate change. Regions pricing carbon have grown exponentially since 2009—with the majority of this “bottom-up" growth taking the form of greenhouse gas cap-and-trade programs.
According to the International Carbon Action Partnership's Status Report 2016, 40 percent of global GDP is covered by an emissions trading system (ETS)—a figure projected to increase to 49 percent in 2017. By this time next year, some 16 percent of global emissions will be covered by ETS, up from only 4 percent in 2004. Eyes are especially glued to emerging market developments across the Pacific Rim, including the world's largest GHG emitter, China, which plans to launch a national cap-and-trade program in 2017.
At the international level, additional momentum for carbon markets came with the adoption of the Paris agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Article 6 of the final agreement signals a clear role that markets will play to help countries reach their national post-2020 climate targets (or “Nationally Determined Contributions" in UNFCCC speak). Specifically, Article 6 allows for cooperative efforts or emissions trading among “bottom-up" carbon markets and sets the general framework for a new UN global crediting mechanism to support sustainable development.
Paris also resulted in 18 national signatories, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico, to the New Zealand-led Ministerial Declaration on Carbon Pricing. The joint declaration supports the role of markets in the Paris agreement and will see signatories collaborate to on future market design, linking and common standards, rules and best-in-case tools.
On April 22, a number of countries will reconvene when the Paris agreement officially opens for ratification. This high-level New York ceremony is an important milestone, signaling the dawn of a new era for global climate cooperation and action. But after New York, the real work begins: negotiators now face a mountain of agreement implementation activities (e.g., form and governance of a new UN sustainable crediting mechanism) and governments must now follow through on national measures to achieve promised climate targets.
Today's action-packed North American carbon landscape gives reason for optimism. However, the regional fragmentation—combined with ebbs and flows of policy, politics and macro-economic trends—reminds us that considerable uncertainty remains to (and through) 2020.
The continent is characterized by a “mixed-bag" of subnational carbon pricing policies. In British Columbia, we see a carbon tax alongside a newly-implemented benchmark ETS (with only BC-based offsets) for growing industrial emissions. In Alberta, we see a long-standing, but now swiftly-evolving, benchmark ETS (with only Alberta-based compliance offsets) for facilities emitting more than 100 kt CO2 a year. We also have cap-and-trade programs in California-Quebec (and soon to be Ontario and Manitoba) and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, covering power sector only emissions across nine U.S. North East states.
Nationally, Canada has entered into a brave new climate world with a changing of the guard at the federal level. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with all 10 Canadian provincial and territorial Premiers in early March, resulting in the Vancouver Declaration—an agreement that commits federal and provincial governments to collaborate on a Pan-Canadian climate plan, which includes a future carbon pricing approach. Canadian leaders will reconvene in October 2016 to finalize the plan.
Beyond those listed above, many states are exploring emissions trading (or “trading ready") options to help meet future compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) rules. But, in a recent blow to some of this state-level momentum, February saw an unexpected decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to “stay" further CPP action by the federal Agency. As a result, states are no longer required to submit their initial CPP compliance plans until outstanding legal questions, namely related to EPA exceeding its regulatory authority, are resolved—questions unlikely to be answered until 2017 or 2018.
In the meantime, developments at the subnational level will continue to define North America's climate landscape:
- Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is moving forward with its comprehensive 2016 program review to map-out post-2020 cap-and-trade program modifications and CPP compliance options. California is also in the midst of exploring potential amendments to its cap-and-trade program for CPP compliance purposes, which are expected to be implemented mid-to-late 2017.
- California is also developing its 2030 Target Scoping Plan, expected to be adopted by late 2016. Alongside this process, the state is considering a suite of amendments to its cap-and-trade regulation while discussing linkage with potential jurisdictional partners.
- Washington will soon release a revised draft Clean Air Rule, expected to be market-based, with trading and offsets to limit carbon pollution.
In late-February, Ontario unveiled its provincial cap-and-trade regulatory proposal and enabling legislation. The province plans to hold its first allowance auction in March 2017, then link to Quebec and California as soon as possible and practical.
Another U.S. federal twist was added when, mere days after the Supreme Court decision, Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the strongest Court opponents to CPP, passed away. The plan's future now becomes entangled with the highly-politicized process of nominating Scalia's replacement amid a heated election year.
Although North America has been slow to embrace emissions trading as a tool to fight climate change, the swell of activity in recent years is encouraging. The fact that more policymakers are turning to markets instead of other pricing instruments is testament to the many virtues of cap and trade, such as lower cost, flexibility and achievement of environmental goals. The stage is set for markets to get even bigger in the Americas and beyond.
Katie Sullivan is the director of The Americas and Climate Finance at the International Emissions Trading Association.
The Climate Trust, a mission-driven nonprofit that specializes in mobilizing conservation finance for environmental benefit, announced its third annual prediction list of 10 carbon market trends to watch in 2016.
The trends, which range from climate change playing a larger role in federal decision-making to increased carbon market linkage and momentum in conservation finance, were identified by The Climate Trust based on interactions with their diverse group of working partners—government, utilities, project developers and large businesses.
The @climatetrust is excited to release our 3rd annual prediction list of 10 carbon market trends to watch in 2016! https://t.co/RqBGtuTtJV— The Climate Trust (@The Climate Trust)1452034521.0
“The trust pays close attention to market signals throughout the year, identifying areas where we can have the greatest impact,” Sean Penrith, executive director for The Climate Trust, said. “Each year, we look forward to putting together our team’s collective knowledge and sharing our industry insights.”
1. Carbon pricing will play a key role for many jurisdictions worldwide as they plan to meet their emission reduction targets from the Paris negotiations.
Roughly one-quarter of the world’s emissions now fall under some form of carbon pricing system. In the aftermath of the Paris negotiations, this percentage is only expected to grow, as countries will be examining low-cost, high-impact options to comply with the nationally-determined emission reduction goals that they have submitted to the UN. Several jurisdictions worldwide have expressed interest in cross-border emissions trading, to lessen the potential economic risks from acting unilaterally. The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, launched on the first day of COP21 in Paris, brings together key governments along with nearly 90 global businesses and NGOs to strengthen and expand carbon pricing worldwide. We expect to hear many more announcements of national carbon pricing initiatives in the coming year, as well as announcements of interest in linkages to and among existing systems. In addition, countries are confronting—for the first time—how setting and keeping emission reduction goals can be made easier by coordinating all their domestic climate policies in service of these goals; therefore, we expect to see more academics, industry groups and government coalitions weighing in on these opportunities for “complementary” policy.
2. In Oregon, policies related to clean energy will take center stage in 2016.
Importers of transportation fuels will be under obligation to comply with the state’s Clean Fuels Program in 2016. This program is designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels 10 percent by 2025, by integrating more low-carbon fuels (like ethanol and biogas) into the fuel supply. In addition, the 2016 ballot is very likely to contain initiatives that would increase Oregon’s acceleration of a clean energy transition, including phasing out the use of coal-fired electricity and increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Finally, carbon pricing will remain a topic of discussion during the 2016 legislative short session, as bills advance which could add enforceability to our state’s emission reduction targets by capping emissions from various economic sectors. We predict passage of at least one clean energy-related ballot measure this year. Carbon pricing in Oregon is still at least a year away, as even if a legislative bill were to pass in 2016, the state would need time to design and implement its optimal strategy.
3. Climate risk will get real for private industry.
Beginning with the groundswell at Climate Week in New York City in September 2015 and becoming more strident at the Paris climate summit, it is clear that the era of managing and disclosing a corporation’s exposure to climate risk has arrived. Nothing could have sent a clearer signal to the business community—Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, announced the establishment of the new Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures at COP21 in Paris. Their chief aim will be to evaluate how well the financial markets disclose their exposure to climate risk. Carney commented that this effort was in response to the current “market failure” of providing appropriate information to investors, insurers and lenders. Corporate leaders are realizing with stark clarity that a changing climate will have profound effects on business. Companies will continue to act with increasing velocity in 2016 to not only manage for risk but to monitor for opportunity.
4. Addressing climate change will play a larger role in federal decision-making and political platforms in 2016.
With the energy created by the COP21 gathering in Paris still buzzing around us, a presidential campaign well underway and a little more than a year left for members of the Obama Administration to leave their full mark on history, it seems clear that 2016 will be a year of climate action. Obama’s Clean Power Plan and his recent rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline paint a clear picture of how the 44th president wants to be remembered with respect to climate change. In June 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will take additional steps to integrate climate change adaptation into its programs and operations. Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has a little over a year left to make good on this promise. The Democratic candidates for president have also clearly indicated that climate change is an important part of their respective campaigns. On a state level, California is working to extend the Global Warming Solutions Act beyond the current 2020 deadline with major decisions expected in 2016. Legislators in Oregon are hoping to implement a similar cap-and-trade program. In the Northeast, states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are also seeing success—A Duke University led study suggests that emissions would have been 24 percent higher without the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and an article published by the Energy Collective claims that early adoption of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative puts northeastern states ahead of the curve with respect to Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
5. U.S. carbon market linkage will increase as states prepare for the Clean Power Plan.
The final draft of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan was released in 2015, with 24 states filing a lawsuit against the plan questioning EPA’s authority. The lawsuit is unlikely to succeed. In fact, many of the states involved in the lawsuit are still drafting compliance plans. 24 other states launched a countersuit in support of the plan and George Bush’s EPA chief reminds the states that EPA’s authority has been upheld by the Supreme Court twice before. The plan allows states to choose a mass or rate based approach to compliance. Many states will likely elect a mass based approach, because it allows for interstate trading, making compliance efforts more efficient. New York Gov. Cuomo announced October 2015 that the state would explore the possibility of linking the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—a cap and trade program comprised of nine Northeastern states—and the California/Quebec program, as these programs will likely be leveraged to comply with the Clean Power Plan. New Jersey is seeking to re-enter RGGI after Christie elected to remove the state from the initiative. We anticipate that in 2016, the opposition to the plan will fail, states will seek a mass based approach to compliance and the use of carbon markets across the U.S. will grow as a result.
6. Conservation finance will be spurred by divest/invest movement.
There has been a marked amount of movement in the finance arena. 2016 will see this turn to a flood coming out of the climate summit talks in Paris. The International Energy Agency has estimated that we need investment flows of $53 trillion by 2035 to mitigate the projected catastrophe of runaway climate change. The divest/invest effort has brought urgency to the need and we saw many major institutions, such as the World Council of Churches, California’s Public Employees Retirement System and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation all rise to the commitment to divest from fossil fuel as part of the transition to a clean energy future. DiCaprio’s divestment from his fossil fuel holdings has led to increased investment in renewable energy companies. To date, 430 institutions across 43 countries and representing $2.6 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies. Ahead of the Paris climate talks, we witnessed a fifty-fold increase in the combined assets of those entities pledging to divest from fossil fuels. The Climate Trust predicts that this momentum will gain significantly in 2016. The divestment movement is providing a vital market signal to support the needed flows of conservation finance. These divestment dollars will continue to seek out a home investing in a low carbon economy that includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart agriculture, clean transportation and forestry.
7. New legislation in 2016 will extend California’s cap-and-trade system to 2030 or beyond.
California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets currently end in 2020. Existing legislation gives the California Air Resources Board the authority to continue to enforce the 2020 emissions target (a return to 1990 emissions), even after 2020. However, without new legislation ARB cannot require deeper cuts beyond this 2020 target. California is working now to create new, more stringent emission reductions targets for 2030 and 2050. In April 2015, Gov. Brown issued Executive Order B-30-15, which solidified this commitment by calling for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990 levels by 2030. With the cap-and-trade system as the backbone of California’s strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the continuation of their successful system will be essential to meeting these goals. As mandated by this executive order, the California Air Resources Board is currently developing a scoping plan to meet these 2030 emission reduction goals. New legislation is needed to give the board the statutory authority to solidify the 2030 and 2050 emission reduction requirements in an extended cap-and-trade system. Senate Bill 32, authored by Sen. Pavley, proposed to give the California Air Resources Board this authority. It codified 2030, 2040 and 2050 emission reduction targets. On Sept. 13, 2015, the bill failed to pass the Senate floor after being read for a third time and Sen. Pavley announced she would present the bill again in 2016. We predict that 2016 is the year in which these new targets will be captured in legislation and any uncertainty about the future of California’s cap and trade system will be significantly reduced. Stacy Swann of Climate Finance Advisors, LLC, said:
“There really is a transformation afoot. Not only is there momentum around the issue of divestment out of fossil based energy and a surge in renewable investment, but there is also a growing recognition that finance must incorporate climate risk considerations. This means that all investments—from buildings to roads to hospitals and schools–need to build-in resilience. This is a huge opportunity for orienting the entire financial system to become more sustainable and climate-friendly in both the short and long-term.”
8. The tight spread between California carbon allowances and California carbon offsets will continue.
The California Carbon market took a surprising turn in 2015. California carbon offsets, which have historically been valued at a 25 to 30 percent discount to California carbon allowances, shot up in the latter half of the year to a discounted value of 10 to 15 percent. A big reason behind the reduced spread was the Nov. 2, 2015 deadline for compliance companies to surrender offsets and allowances to demonstrate compliance with the first compliance period reduction target. The big question going into 2016 is whether this tight spread will continue or dissipate, as the second compliance period surrender deadline isn’t until late 2018. Despite the availability of allowances, offsets will show some staying power in 2016, as compliance buyers continue to search for lower cost compliance options. With offset supply forecasted to remain below the 8 percent limit, offsets that are issued and tradable in 2016 should expect to obtain prices that have a discount in the mid-teens range relative to allowances.
“One of the main factors contributing to this tight spread is the longer than expected lead time to verify and receive issued offsets through the Air Resources Board process,” Chandan Kumar of Californiacarbon.info, said. “Therefore, this trend is expected to continue until the volume of projects increases, while the lead time for verification and issuance falls.”
9. California will lead the way in using shorter-term global warming potential (GWP) values.
As the effects of climate change are increasingly felt and action is demanded, there is an increased focus on “short lived climate pollutants” like methane. To compare methane to the heat-trapping ability of carbon dioxide, it is assigned a global warming potential (GWP) or equivalency value for the amount of warming compared to carbon dioxide. Because methane has a short lifetime in the atmosphere and carbon dioxide has a very long one, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes different GWPs for different time periods. Recent data shows that over a 100-year period, methane causes 28 times as much warming as carbon dioxide. Compared over 20 years, however, methane is 84 times as potent. It is up to regulators and policy-makers to decide which time period is the most appropriate to use for comparison. This is a subjective judgement, trading off how to weigh the impact of warming in the short term versus warming in the future. The 100-year GWPs are by far the most commonly used—in California’s cap-and-trade offset protocols, in the inventory for reporting the U.S.’ GHG emissions and throughout the Kyoto Protocol and other emerging international agreements. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change writes, “there is no scientific argument for selecting 100 years compared with other choices” and California is intelligently beginning to question this paradigm. The Climate Trust predicts that in 2016 policy makers and regulators become increasingly aware of this nuance and begin to use GWPs with shorter time periods. A shift to 20 year GWPs could have a massive impact on the trust’s ability to invest in projects. Offset protocols currently use the outdated 1995 100-year global warming potential for methane: 21. Updating protocols to use the current 20-year GWP, 84, would immediately quadruple the number of offset credits livestock digesters generate every year. Even with these outdated GWPs on the conservative 100-year time frame, carbon credits for the avoided methane emissions of digesters currently make up 20 percent of the revenue of projects. By quadrupling this revenue, many more of the potential digesters in this country could be quickly built.
10. The volume of forestry carbon offsets will continue to significantly increase in the California cap-and-trade program.
Forest project offsets were the most rapidly growing project type in the California compliance market in 2015. As of December 2015, ozone depleting substances, livestock and mine methane capture consist of 12,957,201 (aout 38 percent) of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) offset credits issued. U.S. forests constitute 20,933,016 (or 62 percent) of the issued offsets, approximately double that of all other project types combined. The Climate Trust expects this trend to continue in 2016. There are still several Early Action Eligible Projects in the queue to be reviewed and potentially approved by ARB staff. These projects, which have been approved by voluntary registries for greenhouse gas reductions that occurred between January 2005 and December 2014, will add a significant number of offsets to the market in 2016. The cap-and-trade regulation requires that early action projects be reviewed and approved by ARB by August 2016. In addition, ARB adopted new Common Practice Values for all U.S. Assessment Areas on Nov. 2, 2015. More than 65 new forestry projects were listed as potential ARB compliance projects before this date in order to make use of the older Common Practice Values, which in many instances are lower and thus more favorable for many projects. This includes more than 35 projects with Climate Action Reserve and more than 30 with American Carbon Registry. Not all of these projects will move forward, but it will be an option if the landowner decides the economic benefit is worthwhile. These newly listed projects will increase the offset volume from forestry projects in 2016 as well. In late October 2015, ARB staff held a public workshop to present a white paper on the possibility of including international sector-based offsets in California’s cap-and-trade program. While ARB has not yet approved these offsets for use to meet compliance obligations under AB 32, ARB staff have presented a compelling argument for why Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) offsets should be allowed for the third compliance period starting in 2017. Despite the challenge of ensuring that these offsets meet the same standards as CCOs, the trust expects that ARB staff will establish the framework by which REDD offsets can be approved for compliance in the state’s cap-and-trade program in 2016.
“In 2015, a number of our predictions came to fruition, including increased public sentiment and political will around the impacts of climate change, the extension of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program and approval of a new compliance offset protocol for rice cultivation projects,” Sheldon Zakreski, director of risk management for The Climate Trust, said. In late 2015, the trust was awarded a $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to build an innovative conservation investment fund for biogas, forestry and grassland conservation projects; offering a tremendous opportunity to cost-effectively mitigate and sequester carbon emissions.
For a full accounting for how The Climate Trust measured up to our 2015 predictions, take a look at our hindsight assessment from Executive Director Sean Penrith.
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Riding a bicycle is one of the most sustainable ways to get around. If you need a little more oomph than legs allow, an e-bike conversion kit is a great way to supercharge your pedal bike with electricity.
Whether you're plugging in to renewable energy sources or drawing from a conventional electric grid, electric bike kits produce far fewer emissions than fossil fuel-powered alternatives and allow you to keep your old bike you know and love.
An e-bike conversion kit makes use of your existing bike frame by replacing your standard tire or pedals with a motorized hub. Here are the best e-bike kits on the market today.
Best Electric Bike Kits
When choosing the best e-bike conversion kits, we considered elements including ease of installation, power output, ease of control, design, extra features, cost, customer reviews and more. Based on these factors, these are the top e-bike kits on the market.
|Best E-Bike Conversion Kits||Our Award||Buy Now|
Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit
|Best Overall||Check Price|
48V 500W Front Hub Motor Electric Bike Conversion Kit
|Best Front-Wheel Conversion Kit||Check Price|
26" Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
|Best Rear-Wheel Conversion Kit||Check Price|
8FUN BBS01B 36V 250W Mid Drive Motor Conversion Kit
|Best Mid-Drive System||Check Price|
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Best Overall: Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit
The Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit offers a solid, feature-packed motorized wheel hub unit to easily convert any pedal bike into a hybrid e-bike powerhouse. A weatherproof design and powerful 1,200W motor mean you can take electric propulsion anywhere your adventures take you, from street to trail.
The Ebikeling is packed with plug-and-play features like cruise control, pedal-assist mode and all of the parts needed to hook up to your bike and a battery. We especially like the multiple throttle options this unit offers, including front thumb, rear thumb and front twist. An LCD display gives you essential information on battery levels, speed, error codes and more right on your handlebar. The only downsides to this awesome package are you'll need to purchase a separate tire and battery (48V or 52V is recommended), and it's expensive.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 160 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit is powerful enough to tackle the toughest trails and subtle enough to cruise city streets. Simple installation and intuitive operation make this a hands-down best performer for e-bike conversion kits. If you have the budget to buy a battery (not included), the Ebikeling conversion kit is as deserving on your favorite bike as it is at the top of our list.
Best Front-Wheel Conversion Kit: Bafang 48V 500W Front Hub Motor Electric Bike Conversion Kit
Surprisingly simple to install and use, the Bafang 48V 500W Front Hub Conversion Kit is easy on the wallet and your mechanic skills. We love the multiple battery options this product offers, and a wide offering of rim sizes means you'll never find a bike that can't be e-converted. The waterproof motor and connectors make this a great front-end, go anywhere conversion kit.
The Bafang kit replaces your standard brake levers with units that communicate with the motor, but if you want to keep your hydraulic brakes, just let Bafang know in your order, and the company will ship you a brake sensor instead. Also, while this front-motor drive is designed for disk brake rims, if your bike has a V brake, Bafang's got you covered — just let the company know via email, and it'll make sure you get the right rim.
Customer Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars with about 60 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The sticker price may shock you at first glance, but don't be fooled: Other cheaper options don't include the battery, nor come close to matching Bafang's quality and performance. The Bafang 48V 500W conversion kit is the best front hub conversion assembly that's truly ready to go out of the box.
Best Rear-Wheel Conversion Kit: Voilamart 26" Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
Voilamart makes top-shelf e-bike performance attainable for your old velocipede with a capable 1,500W electric motor and envelope-pushing quality, and the waterproof motor kit and connectors mean you can take that 1,500W of power anywhere.
Unlike other models listed here, the Voilamart comes with a pre-installed nylon tire, sparing you the hassle of self-installation or a trip to the shop. The LCD display clearly indicates battery level, pedal assistance settings, speed and modes. Cyclists get excellent control over battery life with adjustable amp modes, but keep in mind there is no battery included — you'll need to purchase one separately.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with nearly 100 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Voilamart's rear-wheel e-bike conversion kit offers a range of premium features at an attractive price point. The powerful motor offers enough juice to climb, splash and cruise through any terrain or street, and a wide range of modes allows great flexibility of battery life, speed and more. There are a few reported issues with design and the manual definitely needs a facelift, but most problems reported are fixed with a bit of patience and elbow grease. Overall, the Voilamart offers a compelling package at an even more compelling price point.
Best Mid-Drive System: Bafang 8FUN BBS01B 36V 250W Mid Drive Motor Conversion Kit
Balance, power and multifunctionality combine with the Bafang Mid Drive Motor conversion kit. With a few simple tools and a couple of hours, the Bafang mid-drive conversion kit replaces your existing crankset and shaft with a 250W motor ideal for cruising at moderate speeds and with light loads.
It can be installed on any road bike, mountain bike or cruising bike with a standard JIS 68-73mm bottom bracket, but isn't the best fit for rugged biking or high-speeds and shouldn't be used on fat-tire bikes or carbon frames. As far as riding modes go, the Bafang mid-drive kit is as simple as it gets with electric or pedal-only operation. Installation hardware and display are included, but the battery is sold separately.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with about 120 Amazon ratingsWhy Buy: The Bafang 8FUN BBS01B Mid Drive conversion kit honors your bike's center of gravity and aesthetics while providing the functionality and power of a hybrid motor conversion system. Bafang's mid-drive kit is a dream come true for urban commutes and light trail riding, but you might need something with a bit more pizzazz if you're hitting the mountains.
How to Choose the Best E-Bike Conversion Kit
As you can see, there are plenty of quality electric bicycle kits on the market. But which is the best for you? Here are a few things to consider when choosing your new e-bike kit.
1. How Will You Use Your E-Bike?
The most important factor to consider when purchasing an e-bike conversion kit is how you plan to use it. More powerful units are better suited for high-speed and trail riding, while lighter motors are a great option for urban commutes or cruising.
2. What Kind of Battery Pack Do You Need?
Batteries are something you don't want to skimp on. You may be able to cut a few corners with a motor and get away with it, but you'll regret buying a budget battery. Look for well-known battery brands like Panasonic, LG and Samsung. Certain batteries perform better in terms of the distance you can travel (specific energy), how they handle high-load situations like accelerating or traveling uphill (specific power) and safety. Picking the right battery is a balancing act of the activities you plan on doing with your e-bike. Nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry offer the best overall value for the average e-biker, providing a happy medium of capacity, power, safety and price.
Voltage and amps are important considerations when choosing a battery. Choosing the wrong volt/amps rating may damage your e-bike or even start a fire. E-bike motors require specific battery volts, and you should choose a battery that falls in the range of your motor's voltage requirements. Choosing a battery within the higher voltage limits of your motor's range usually translates to greater speeds.
Amps are the measure of current flow at a specific voltage. In simplistic terms, amps can be thought of as a measurement of your e-bike's torque. The higher the amps, the higher the current, and the more torque you'll have.
Watts (W) is a combination of volts and amps. Battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and can tell you the theoretical capacity of your battery. Some manufacturers will claim 50-mile travel distances, but don't be fooled: Real-world biking scenarios are very, very different from sterile lab conditions, so most 6- to 8-pound lithium-ion batteries will actually have about a 20-mile range.
3. How Easy Is it to Install?
If you're buying an e-bike conversion kit because a dedicated e-bike isn't in the budget, you may also opt to install the kit yourself, so ease of installation is a must. All of the conversion kits listed above have glowing reviews for no-sweat installation, but there are a few reported hiccups: Some filing may need to be done here or there, a spacer or washer may need to be added and the manual's language may be difficult to follow.
Watch as many tutorial videos as you can (hint: search "your bike model" + "your e-bike conversion kit"). And as always, be patient and consult a bike repair professional if necessary.
4. How Much Speed Do You Need?
In more than 30 states, e-bikes are organized into three classes as defined by speed, wattage and operation. Typically, Class I and II bikes are allowed wherever regular pedal bikes roam. Here's a breakdown of each class:
- Class I: E-bikes that are pedal-assist only, having no throttle and attaining a max speed of 20 mph
- Class II: Throttle-equipped e-bikes with a max speed of 20 mph
- Class III: Pedal-assist only with a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph
No class can exceed a max motor power of 750W (one horsepower). In some states, e-bikes over 750W are considered motor vehicles, making them subject to certain laws and regulations. Check your state's motor vehicle department to see if these rules apply to you.
5. What Intuitive Features Do You Want?
Each manufacturer designs its e-bikes differently. Some control features are simple, such as pedal-activated assist modes. Others require you to toggle the settings from a control monitor. Consider other control designs like throttle and braking configurations. The last thing you want are controls that make you think twice while on the road, creating an unsafe and cumbersome riding experience.
6. What Design Are You Looking For?
There's no sugar-coating it: Your classy old Schwinn road bike is going to look different with a motor and battery strapped to it. If you prefer to not wear your tech on your sleeve, there are plenty of options for as sleek and low-tech a look as possible, such as hidden batteries, low-profile or no-profile speed displays and more. If performance is your salient consideration, a slew of techy add-ons are at your disposal.
7. What's Your Budget?
Finally, cost. Balance the considerations above and choose an e-bike conversion kit that fits your budget. If you need to skimp a bit on price, don't do it with the battery.
FAQ: Electric Bike Kits
How much does an e-bike conversion kit cost?
The best e-bike conversion kits cost between $320-$700.
What is the best electric bike conversion kit?
We recommend the Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit to turn your regular bike into an electric bicycle.
Are e-bike conversion kits worth it?
If you have a pedal bike you love, conversion kits are an excellent investment, offering solid performance at a price point significantly lower than a brand new dedicated e-bike. E-bikes allow you to go farther, faster and longer than pedaling alone but still provide great exercise.
E-bikes are also an inclusive means of getting around, as they open the world of cycling to those who may otherwise be unable to ride a bike due to age or physical abilities. They're a safe, affordable and efficient way to supercharge any old bike into a trail-crushing, commute-slaying, road-riding machine.
How fast does a 1000-watt electric bike go?
A 1,000-watt e-bike can reach a top speed of 35 mph.