Electric Bikes: A Summary of Existing Research

Electric bikes are becoming an increasingly popular way to get around. Electric bike (sometimes known as Pedelecs) are defined as cycles using power to assist pedalling.


On the continent their popularity is seen amongst all sectors of society and particularly amongst those taking up or returning to cycling. They are seen a valuable tool for:

  • Encouraging those who feel less confident about their fitness to cycle;
  • travelling further;
  • cycling in hilly areas;
  • cycling without getting too tired or sweaty.

Research detailed below shows how electric bikes have been shown to widen the appeal for cycling and encourage women to cycle more often and men to cycle further.

Worldwide research studies:


Health benefits of electric bikes research


The research project ‘Electric bicycles as a new active transportation modality to promote health’ studied electric bike usage in hilly cities to understand the difference they made to commute comfortably for sedentary lifestyles. The method involved sedentary subjects performing four different trips at a self-selected pace: walking   Read more »»

Berlin electric bike loan study


324 commuters were lent electric bikes over an 8 week trial period resulting in a significant modal shift. Participants were recruited through employers. 18% of participants went on to a purchase an electric bike after the trial, a further 36% were considering purchasing one. The   Read more »»

Smart e-bikes project suggests electric bikes can widen the appeal of cycling


The Smart ebike project in Brighton has shown that people given access to an electric bike for a trial period indicated that it increased their likelihood to cycle in the future. However the higher price currently put them off buying one themselves. 70% of participants   Read more »»

Sales of electric bikes

Credit Dom Bush pls

According to Navigant Research (2014) are expected to grow from nearly 32 million in 2014 to over 40 million in 2023. China is the lead market (although their definition includes bikes which don’t require always pedalling), followed by Western Europe with increasing sales in the   Read more »»

Presto Project Rotterdam


In Rotterdam, 25 e-bikes (pedelecs) are being used as municipal vehicles. The conclusion of the initial evaluation is that: “The potential of the E-bike is high among people who now travel by car, especially under car users with a commuter trip between the 9 and 19 kilometre.   Read more »»

The Go Pedelec project


The Go Pedelec project encouraged new users of e-bikes through a series of test rides (Daggers et al, 2012). The aim of the test rides was to change awareness and attitudes towards e-bikes. Across the project (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands)   Read more »»

Dutch study indicates electric cycle more often and for longer distances


A Dutch survey in 2008 (Electric Cycling: market research and exploration of prospects) amongst 1,448 e-bike users who identified the reasons for using an e-bike to be: Conventional cycling is too difficult (66%); To make cycling with a headwind easier (52%); To make it easier   Read more »»

Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics study indicates electric bikes increases frequency of cycling


This study identifies dramatic changes in cycling habits with the introduction of the electric bike. The research showed that women increased the number of trips they used the bike for and that men travelled longer distances. According to Aslak Fyhri who worked with 66 existing   Read more »»

Cycle boom: Ebike users experience increased health and well being


The research of people older than 50 trialling electric bikes shows that many of the participants who have been loaned an ebike have experienced increased psychological wellbeing, fitness and cognitive ability. The majority of the participants have indicated they will continue to cycle and some   Read more »»

Electric Bikes and Carbon emissions


A European Cyclist Federation study concluded that after factoring in CO2 emissions produced during electricity generation, an e-bike’s carbon footprint is just 2.6-5 grams of CO2 per mile (depending on the source of the electricity), compared to 150 grams for most electric cars and 136   Read more »»

PRO E-BIKE project


The PRO E-BIKE project provided several public authorities and private companies across Europe in Croatia, France, Sweden, Italy with subsidies for the trial of electric bikes and cargo bikes. The result was that 4 out of 5 eBikes tested continued to be used after the trial period,   Read more »»



Shared Electric Bike Programme


About bike share


Bike share map


Global electric bike share schemes

Operators & suppliers


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Brompton Bike Hire

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Hourbike  (Bikeplus Accredited)

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Nextbike (Bikeplus Accredited)


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