I've been writing a lot about electric cars and electric car charging infrastructure lately, but I'm still in agreement with Lloyd on this matter: Our society could definitely use a break from car addiction, regardless of the fuel used to power them.
Specifically, says Lloyd, we need an "all of the above approach", in which as much attention is given to walkability, bike infrastructure, cargo bikes and e-bikes as it is to Teslas and superchargers and autonomous vehicles.
Luckily, I believe some of that is happening already. True, we see many more blog posts about the demand for the Tesla Model 3, but sales of e-bikes have been exploding in recent years and now Brompton—the makers of one of the nicest folding bikes out there—are entering the fray too.Shipping in 2018, the Brompton Electric is built very much like the iconic, existing Brompton folding bike which you'll see hundreds of at any London train station around rush hour. Featuring a 250W front hub motor, 25 to 50 miles of range and a removable battery pack, the Brompton also offers the option of a 4A "fast charger" providing 80% charge in 1.5-2 hours, and 100% in somewhere around 2.5-3 hours.
Now, having read the rather mean spirited comments on Clentechnica's article about the Brompton Electric, I'm preparing to duck for cover before a barrage of "it's too expensive" complaints come rolling in. And it's true: with US prices coming in at $2,900 to $3,400, this is by no means a cheap bike.
But you don't have to buy it.
As someone who has owned a Brompton, and loved it, I would say that there have always been cheaper options out there. (Indeed an earlier version of the Brompton website used to include a summary of the competition, and why you should consider them.) This company builds really nice, sturdy, well-designed products that have earned a well deserved following and excellent resale value.
They're not for everyone. They might not make sense outside of urban environments with a high rate of both transit use and apartment dwelling. But the addition of a powerful, electric-assist option of an already popular folding bike should empower even more people to leave the car at home or even forego owning one entirely. Simply knowing that you can pedal to work in a suit without breaking a sweat, and fold your bike up to get in a taxi or train should you need to offers a level of flexibility and freedom that many will appreciate.
As Brompton's managing director told Wired in their extremely positive review of the Electric, this isn't "some gimmicky fluffy-duffy bikey-wikey thing. This is serious."
E-bikes are increasingly a serious transportation choice in cities around the world. And once you view them as such, the price tag on this beauty starts to make a whole lot more sense.