E-bikes are fun for leaf-peeping, exercise, and going to town on errands. You can ask our editor, Nancy Rae Mallery, about this. They can be peddled up hills nearly as easily as on level roads, they have a 40-mile range, and they can be charged for pennies. Ever since she got her e-bike, it has been hard to keep her back.
Nancy Rae is not the only one benefiting from e-bikes, however. True to its commitment to alternative energy sources, Green Mountain Power purchased two-state-of-the-art electric bicycles for staff to use around the city. This made biking just got a little easier for Rutland-based employees of Green Mountain Power.
“We have roughly 300 employees in Rutland on two campuses and we are constantly traveling back and forth between the two,” said Jenn Cortez, Innovation Champion. “Additionally our staff is always out and about off to meetings and running errands. We’re hopeful that many of our co-workers will choose to travel using the electric bikes rather than by car.”
The bikes are made by EVELO, based in Cambridge, MA. They are supplied and maintained by Zoombikes, of Middlesex, VT. The bikes have 250 watt motors powered by 36-volt lithium-ion batteries. The bikes are pedal-assisted which means they have to be pedaled to activate the motor. “You get exercise and you don’t use a car,” Cortez said. “That’s good for the individual and for the environment.”
Electric bikes are beginning to gain acceptance in the United States. Last year, according to Navigant Research, about 55,000 electric bikes were sold across the country. That is much fewer than Europe, where electric bikes are everywhere. In fact, 10% of all bikes sold in Europe are now electric, according to Navigant.
“Electric bikes are a great tool for Vermont,” said Larry Gilbert, owner of Zoombikes. “They make it possible for the average person to get up hills. Many people have given up on biking because of the challenging terrain. E-bikes make biking fun. GMP should be congratulated on embracing this new technology and introducing it to frontline workers. I think we’re going to see more and more people who are looking for alternative transportation start looking at electric bikes.”