22 Apr 2013: Report

Will Electric Bicycles Get
Americans to Start Pedaling?

Electric bicycles are already popular in Europe and in China, which has more e-bikes than cars on its roads. Now, manufacturers are marketing e-bikes in the U.S., promoting them as a "green" alternative to driving.

by marc gunther

Most Americans know about Tesla, the Chevy Volt, and the Nissan Leaf. But what about Evelo, the eZip Trailz, and the Faraday Porteur?

The first three are, of course, electric cars. They benefit from a lot of media attention and generous government subsidies, including a $7,500 tax credit for buyers in the United States. The latter are electric bicycles, and they attract neither.

Yet Americans bought as many electric bicycles as they did electric cars last year. About 53,000 electric bicycles were sold, according to Dave Hurst, an analyst with Navigant Research who tracks the industry. Electric car sales came in at 52,835.

Globally, electric bicycles outsell electric cars by a wide margin. An estimated 29.3 million e-bicycles were sold in 2012, with perhaps 90 percent of those selling in China, which has more electric bikes than cars on its roads. E-bicycles are popular in Europe, too, selling about 380,000 a year in Germany and 175,000 in the Netherlands in 2012. By comparison,
Dashboards on some electric bicycles include a ‘carbon footprint savings’ function.
about 120,000 electric cars were sold worldwide.

All of which raises a question: Can electric bicycles help solve big environmental problems? The industry — which is making a push to expand its sales in the U.S. — says e-bicycles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and traffic congestion, while enabling Americans, two-third of whom are obese or overweight, to become more active. In Europe and China, most electric bicycles are sold to commuters, although it’s not clear whether they are replacing conventional bikes, mopeds, or cars.

E-bicycle makers eagerly market themselves as “green.” Dashboards on e-bicycles sold under the Polaris brand and made by a Miami-based company called EVantage include a “carbon footprint savings” function to calculate how many pounds of CO2 are saved by using the bicycle in place of a gasoline-powered car. Evelo, a Boston-based startup, recently launched a 30-day electric bike challenge, asking people to give up their car keys and blog about using their electric bikes. “We don’t want to wean people from bicycles,” says Boris Mordkovich, Evelo’s founder, who previously worked at car-sharing company RelayRides. “We want to wean people from cars.”

Yet if electric bikes end up replacing human-powered bikes, or if they are used only for exercise or fun, they could well add to pollution because they consume electricity, much of which comes from burning fossil fuels. Only if electric bicycles replace cars will their environmental benefits materialize — and that’s the goal, say bike makers.

Evelo Aurora Electric Bike
Evelo
An Aurora, produced by the Boston-based start-up, Evelo Electric Bicycles.
“Traditionally, people don’t use bikes for transportation,” says Larry Pizzi, the president of Currie Technologies, a leading e-bicyle manufacturer based in Simi Valley, California. “We’re trying to change a paradigm.” There are reasons to believe that the e-bicycle industry may be able to do just that.

Before explaining why, let’s make clear what we mean by an electric bicycle. These are not mopeds or motorcycles, but bicycles that can be pedaled with or without an assist from an electric motor. They’re sometimes called “pedelecs” or “pedal assist” bicycles because in Europe the boost from the motor only kicks in if you pedal; in the U.S., most e-bicycles also come equipped with a throttle to turn on the motor without any pedaling required. Riding an electric bike feels a bit like riding a conventional bike with a brisk wind at your back; the motor helps you go faster and climb hills, but it’s not the primary source of propulsion. Unlike mopeds or electric scooters, e-bicycles are typically permitted on bike paths, and they can’t travel faster than 20 mph.

Like electric cars, electric bicycles are manufactured by a mix of startup companies and established players, including Schwinn, Trek, and Giant. Industry executives cite several reasons why e-bicycle sales are poised to take off in the U.S. Most important is the fact that more Americans than
E-bicycles can be pedaled with or without an assist from an electric motor.
ever already bike to work, and that cities and towns are building infrastructure to accommodate them. According to the League of American Bicyclists, bike commuting grew by 47 percent nationally between 2000 and 2011, and it grew by 80 percent in communities designated as “bicycle friendly” by the league. Cities including New York, Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles are building dedicated bike lanes, like those found in northern Europe, to make commuting safer and easier.

“It’s happening in every major city, and a lot of secondary cities around the country, and it’s causing people to think differently about getting around on two wheels,” says Pizzi. “If you don’t have safe infrastructure, people don’t feel as if biking is safe and secure.”

Electric bikes make commutes more inviting by easing worries about hills, headwinds, and fatigue. “They increase the distance that people can ride comfortably,” says Evelo’s Mordkovich. Commuters on e-bicycles are also less likely to arrive at the office dripping with sweat. “It seems like a small detail,” Mordkovich says, “but it’s a big deal to a lot of people.”

Electric bicycle China
Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images
China has more electric bicycles than cars on its roads.
Baby boomers are an obvious market for electric bicycles. “We’re seeing an aging population, and a growing number of people getting back into cycling,” says Bill Moore, an Internet publisher who recently launched ePEDALER, an electric-assist bicycle retailer. Urbanization will be another driver of electric bike sales, Moore said, as will the obesity crisis, rising health care costs, and the desires of employers to encourage their workers to become more active.

Like electric cars, electric bikes are pricey. A basic e-bike can be had for as little as $499 on Amazon, but sturdy, well-designed models with better-quality batteries cost between $2,000 and $3,500. (Conventional bikes sell for an average of about $450 in speciality stores and about $100 in retailers like Walmart and Target where most bikes are sold.) Prices could come down as batteries and electric motors become more efficient, and economies of scale come into play. “The technology is getting better, rapidly,” says Dave Hurst of Navigant.

Unlike drivers of electric cars who are plagued by “range anxiety,” electric bike owners don’t have to worry about running out of electricity: They can travel under their own power, assuming they’ve got the energy to pedal a bike that weighs 45 to 60 pounds. Batteries typically deliver 20 to 40 miles
Unlike drivers of electric cars, e-bike owners don’t have to worry about running out of electricity.
of assisted riding, and they can be recharged in a few hours in ordinary power outlets.

While some companies are emphasizing the practical benefits of electric bikes — they’re good for your health, good for the planet and a low-cost way to get from here to there – others focus on fun and style. They are targeting urban buyers in their 20s and 30s, without a lot of money to spend, for whom the allure of owning a car has diminished.

“We want our bike to be a sexy product, one that everyone will want,” says Daniel Del Aguila, a co-founder of Prodeco Technologies, which is about to open a new factory near Fort Lauderdale. By squeezing efficiencies out of its supply chain, Prodeco sells a number of models for $1,000 to $1,500 that, Del Aguila contends, compare favorably to bikes selling for $2,000 or more.

For the premium buyer, there’s the Faraday Porteur, the brainchild of Adam Vollmer, a mechanical engineer from Ideo, the famed design firm. First launched as a Kickstarter project last year, Faraday is now taking pre-orders for the Porteur, which is priced at $3,500. It weighs less than 40 pounds, features a leather saddle and bamboo fenders, and its Web site promises that it is “crazy fun.” Even more expensive is the $4,000 eFlowE3 Nitro from Currie, which was designed by a Swiss firm, Flow AG, and promises “fast, powerful and nimble handling.” And if you’ve really got money to burn, there’s a German e-bicycle called the Blacktrail BT-1 that claims a top speed of 65 mph and retails for $80,000. Think of it as the Tesla of electric bikes.

POSTED ON 22 Apr 2013 IN Business & Innovation Climate Policy & Politics Policy & Politics Urbanization Asia North America North America 

COMMENTS


E-bikes do not address the main reason that Americans do not use bicycles for transportation - the lack of bicycle infrastructure. Riding on roads designed only for fast car traffic can be a terrifying experience. Once an E-bike buyer realizes that he is limited to puttering around his residential neighborhood, the E-bike will go into the basement with all the other disused exercise gear...

Most common destinations (to grocery store, restaurants, etc.) are not so far from home that a person in normal health needs electric assist. For people with certain physical limitations, who also happen to live in the very few areas that have safe cycling routes, E-bikes could make sense for transportation. But my guess is that this demographic is very small.

Posted by Holly Martins on 22 Apr 2013


@Holly Martins, as mentioned in the article, safe cycling infrastructure is foundational to getting people out of their cars. Thanks to the great work of organizations like Bikes Belong Coalition, the League of American Bicyclists and state and local bicycle coalitions all around the country, huge progress has been made over the last ten years. E-Bikes can help overcome the other objections that many Americans have to substituting car trips for bike trips when terrain, distance and weather come into play.

Posted by Larry Pizzi on 22 Apr 2013


I believe that the situation in the U.S. is still fundamentally different than in Europe or China. Bicycle mode share here, even though it has grown a lot, is still tiny, with most transportation cyclists IMO being dedicated individuals who are not intimidated by the bad infrastructure.

In NW Europe, mode share is *far* higher, and the people riding are not especially "cyclists", they are just people who decide on a given day that the bike is the easiest way to get from A to B. There, I see a lot more potential for E-Bikes if you want to ride to the next village in Germany, you usually have a safe route, but there may be a huge hill between that would be much easier to handle with electric assist...or maybe your knees aren't what they used to be, etc.

To sum up, my proposition is that NW Europe and some other places probably have the "critical mass" of decent infrastructure and cycling culture that will allow the E-bike to become a car-substitute, while the U.S. (unfortunately) still does not.

Posted by Holly Martins on 22 Apr 2013


As the CEO of largest electric bicycle dealership in Silicon Valley, I attend many events on business campuses like Google, HP, Apple, Symantec as well as on college campuses like San Jose State, Stanford, and Santa Clara University.

From this experience I can state that one of biggest barriers with selling electric bicycles is the lack of awareness that these products even exist. Once people actually ride electric bicycles and realize they can get exercise when and where they want instead of always having to pedal all of the time, they understand the value proposition and start to research which electric bicycle is right for them

The second biggest barrier in increasing sales of electric bicycles in the US is having more locations which stock multiple brands and models for customers to test ride. Unlike electric cars, there are many more manufacturers of electric bikes, some offering offering 10 or more models to select from. We carry Currie Tech, Pedego, eMoto, VeloMini, BH Emotion, Hebb, Hero, Stealth, and Optibike allowing us to offer over 50 models for customers to select from with prices ranging from $599 to over $10,000. Many times a customer will come in to buy one brand and model and end up going home with a different model either from the manufacturer they researched or from another manufacturer they did not know existed.

Posted by Douglas Schwartz on 22 Apr 2013


E-bikes are one of the best ways to commute to work without arriving all sweaty, even in the mountains of Colorado. My wife and I purchased the Giant Bicycles Companies' La Free Lite electric assist bikes years ago. They were the only mid or crank mounted bikes available in the USA at the time. Although Holly is correct that there needs to be more bicycle trails and lanes, don't let it stop you from having the time of your life. Like my wife says "It's like being a kid again because you can ride like the wind and not get so tired".

I am on my second e-bike after just about wearing out my La free with over 7,000 miles traveled. A little advise for the newbies: The crank mounts with the Panasonic or Bosch drives are the best and have been time tested. They are used by the higher quality bikes made most everywhere except China. Several bikes such as EVELO are made in China with mystery motors. The hub mounted motors do not take advantage of your gears like a mid drive or crank mount does. Buy a bike from a well known company!

Posted by Mike on 22 Apr 2013


Excellent article. I visited China 6 times in the last 11 years and could see the usage of normal and electric bikes on a large scale.

Dr. A. Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

Posted by Dr.A.Jagadeesh on 23 Apr 2013


Electric bikes sound good. Unfortunately, when most people really stop and think about it, I think they will come to the conclusion that they possess the same drawbacks as regular bikes with a couple of others added on.

Here are some things to consider before purchasing one.

Is safe storage available at both ends of the trip?

Will it have to be schlepped up and down stairs?

Electrics are heavier. Are they harder to pedal if the battery runs down?

Will an extension cord need to be carried in order to charge away from home?

Is the package carrying capacity suitable?

What would annual theft insurance cost on a $2000 bike?

Is the climate such that they are usable for a sufficient part of the year?

They may be suitable for some, but not for me.

Posted by Bob K on 24 Apr 2013


Very interesting comments, thanks, all.

I think the key driver of all bicycle transportation, electric or conventional, will be the growth of safe infrastructure--which is happening, and it seems to be picking up steam. Bike sharing is very popular in DC where I live, and it's coming to New York. We're seeing a virtual circle unfolding - more bikers, more infrastructure, more bikers, all leads to safer and easier biking.

I don't think biking in New York, DC or LA will ever be like doing so in Amsterdam or Copenhagen, but there's plenty of upside potential.

Posted by Marc Gunther on 24 Apr 2013


Electric bikes make sense and safe infrastructure is the key for mass adoption. If you visit the major cities in China it is obvious that the bike lanes (filled with electric bikes and scooters) are reducing the number of higher polluting vehicles of the cars lanes. It's simple... more electric bikes and less cars is a good thing. Visit www.-E-BikeKit.com for electric bike conversion kits that offer the opportunity to convert the bike you already have and save a lot of money.

Posted by Jason Kraft on 25 Apr 2013


Here is our customers experience with e-bikes. Price does not seem to be an issue as long as there is a perceived value. They usually want at minimum of a 350 watt motor, throttle, pedal assist and 20-30 miles range. Ideally the bike should weigh less than 55lbs, including the battery. The preference for battery location is one that is incorporated into the frame near the center of gravity. A rack mount can be ok, but it needs to look like it is part of the rack. Batteries in a canvass bag may work for an e-kit but not on a manufactured e-bike. Most of the leisure riders don’t want a lot of gears however, the younger commuters want their e-bikes to look as close to their road bike as possible and weight is extremely important.

Posted by Gary DiVincenzo, Hybrid Cycles Electric Bikes on 26 Apr 2013


First, a strong frame should be mandatory. You're not racing the machine, you're slogging the commute and shopping. Good performance with a load (saddle baskets full of groceries, rider in early spring or late fall in heavy clothing, hilly streets) should be a premium factor.

Second, what sort of boost is best. Just having a decent range of ratios (3 forward and 6 to 10 rear sprockets, depending on the spread and terrain) should be plenty for a reasonably fit rider. Electric drive can be suitable for short commutes where sweat is a problem or hilly terrain, and also for use by handicapped or elderly riders.. Small (chainsaw level) engines (the Tanaka Bike Bug and the Whizzer come to mind) allow use of the bicycle over a long range. Battery packs, battery-motor combos, or booster engines should be easily removable both for ease in service or recharging and to lighten the frame for unboosted pedalling. Security frames that easily lock to a bicycle that is itself locked to a rack or sign prevent theft.

Finally there is the pollution situation. An electric assist or drive includes battery systems that need renewal every 5 years or so, plus it contributes its share to the stack emissions at the electric power plant. A small (49cc or smaller) engine still puts a bit of pollution out, especially if it's a 2 stroke. A human pedaller requires more food, connecting through the grocery store to the farm. Of them all, the human without assist does least harm. The periodic replacement of the e-bike batteries (lithium, cadmium, lead, and other toxic components) can be a source of pollution, as can spent oil, evaporating fuel, and exhaust from even a small engine.

Using clean burning mini engines, nickel iron battery systems for e-bikes, and people dedicated to being fit enough to pedal their own 15 to 30 'speed' bicycles might together bring down the car addiction pyramid scheme.

Posted by MalikTous on 26 Apr 2013


I have a Prodeco e-bike and love it. I had to give up biking because of CFS but now can ride as easily as I did in my 20's.

Posted by Dennis Stansell on 27 Apr 2013


Check out this company based in western North Carolina:

www.outriderUSA.com

Posted by Stephen Sollenberger on 08 May 2013


I installed a Hill Topper kit on a Specialized mountain bike I've had for 20 years. It consists of a 250w front hub motor and a lithium ion battery in a bag that hangs from the frame. The installation took me abut 40 minutes, most of that spent tidying up and securing the long wiring harness. It's a very simple set-up and if the battery dies I just have to pedal a heavier bicycle.

I ride the bike to and from work most days, only a couple of miles each way, and also home for lunch - 4 trips/day. I started out with panniers but now just wear a backpack to carry my computer, files and rain gear.

It makes the bicycle a useful replacement for the car because I can get anywhere in town without arriving sweaty, having exerted myself at the level of a fast walk to go about 15 mph (for up to 20 miles). I get more exercise because I ride much more.

While an honest evaluation of the environmental impact of the bike should include periodic replacement of the battery the biggest battery problem I have encountered is the often dead one in the seldom used Ford Explorer that sits in the driveway.

The e-bike is big fun and a viable alternative to the car around town. I'm 64.

Posted by David King on 09 May 2013


It is not only physical infrastructure that limits ebike adoption, but political will. Several jurisdictions have either constructively banned ebikes through onerous legislation, or have failed to update their legislation that previously made ebikes illegal. This means that even though there might be a bike lane or two, it does not necessarily mean they are legal to use. One might decide to use an ebike but find it difficult or illegal to use in their municipality or state. Same in Canada, for example ebikes are constructively banned in Windsor and Toronto, able only to use motor vehicle lanes, and banned from bicycle lanes and trails.

Ebikes should be considered as substituting for a car, as people willing or fit enough to use a bicycle are probably already doing so, and the amount of people you can tweeze out of their cars onto bicycles has probably already reached a saturation point. However for those who can't or won't you have a better chance of getting them to ride an ebike.

Posted by mariposaman on 24 May 2013


Studies show that ebikes use the same amount of energy and pollute the same as a traditional bicycle. Ebikes use electricity, and very little of that. Traditional bicycles use food as energy, and it has a large petroleum content to plant, harvest, transport, store and process before it even gets to the cyclist. In certain cases ebikes can be more efficient than traditional bicycles by opting for renewable electricity generation, or even a rooftop solar panel.

@MalikTous I doubt there is such a thing as clean burning mini engines, nickel iron batteries do not have enough energy to weight ratios to be practical for ebikes, lithium batteries are being used to great effect because they are light and energy dense. I can ride all week on the amount of electricity you use to cook your Christmas dinner. Nobody seems to be concerned about stack emissions for that or their new plasma big screen. Besides, the most populated areas in USA have the least coal power plants so emissions are a straw man argument.

A Dutch study shows ebike owners use them to go farther and more often than traditional bikes, and that is even in a bicycle rich culture, besides more people can and will use ebikes over traditional bikes. I just cannot fathom why ebikes are not encouraged.

Posted by mariposaman on 24 May 2013


Electric bikes are illegal in New York.

Posted by Patrick McCann on 24 May 2013


I just purchased a Pedego e-bike and plan to ride it as much as humanly possible for the rest of my life. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the furthest northern city in of its size in North America. I bought the bike because I am poor ($15,000-$30,000 Cn per year income) and can't afford an electric or hybrid car. I also have bad knees- I am 47 creaky years old. The winters here are harsh. But I will be riding my e-bike all winter and summer because I believe that our beautiful planet is being destroyed by overpopulation, global warming, and deforestation, and the current political will is too far behind the curve to save it in time.

The battle to preserve our planet as it now exists is going to take place incrementally in the minds and hearts of its citizens, and every time one individual decides to put their need for convenience and ease BELOW their concern for this world's future, there is a small but significant victory. I have heard so many casual rationalizations voiced (as by Bob K. above) as to why to ignore the frightening truth about our situation, and believe that they are either ill informed, or blinded by consumerism. I don't know whether or not our struggle as environmentalists will be successful, but I, personally, want to go to my grave knowing that I did the best I could for my children, and for the generations to come. Plus, riding an electric bike is fun, and not that darn hard, for goodness sake!

Posted by Julien Arnold on 09 Jul 2013


The E-Assist bikes are not just good as the common sense goes, they are great health boosters! After my heart attack in 2006, I commuted to work on a giant bicycle fitted with a 350 watts Bionx Kit for 5 years, averaging 3000 miles a year. I consider living in Colorado a blessing since the population here is ready and eager to accept my approach to an alternative to regular "Troop Transports." Adopting it is a different story for them. Past 7 years I have only spotted 2 E-assist bikes in my 30-mile biking range.

I am on my second Bionx Kit which has a 40 miles range on the same 350 watts motor, and I'm working to get the total weight (Biker+ Bike+Assist Kit) down to 180 lb. Past experience, every 6-lb drop adds a mile to my general commute.

Don't sit in your "Troop Transport" contemplating road dangers. Get an E-Assist bike and embrace life, once again.
Posted by Fransic on 09 Feb 2014


In my opinion the pedal assisted versions of e-bikes are the most valuable when it comes to environment friendliness. It also forces the driver to move his body and most of us are really in need to do that. I love the German law with the 1 percent regulation which enables employed people to save taxes while leasing an e-bike. Now it's finally possible to finance my favorite ZEMO ZE-10 (www.zemo.com) including zero trouble insurance for a fraction of the costs.
Posted by Lars Fuhrmann on 10 Mar 2014


I recently bought a Brompton folding bike fitted with a 250-watt brushless motor on the front hub and two small 4.4 Ah batteries carried in side-pockets in a detachable Brompton bag below the handlebars. I use it for commuting to work and back, twice a day, about 13 miles in total, or 6 hours a week of exercise. Having used a regular Brompton for 4 years prior to this, covering about 10,000 miles, the electric up-grade was totally worth it. I can do in 12 minutes what used to take 20 if I select the high speed option. Steep hills or a strong wind are no problem. You can beat those red lights more easily with rapid acceleration. I can ride comfortably for a couple of hours at a steady 12 or 13 mph, covering 20 miles or so, whilst dealing with sciatica in my left leg. I can choose how much of a workout I want just by adjusting the power on demand from low, to medium, to high. The Brompton fold allows you to wheel the bike around into shops, supermarkets, etc — it fits under the shopping cart. I don't need to carry a bike lock. The shopping can go into bags on the front and the rear rack — it can carry 20, 30 lbs, no problem, and the battery makes it less of a sweat if you need to cover several uphill miles with an adverse wind. The battery recharge takes about 2 hours when drained of maybe half the power. This has to be the ultimate in flexibility for urban commuting — I could easily get rid of the car with this bike. E-bikes really should be the future of urban commuting.
Posted by Phil Adams on 19 Aug 2014


My name is Pradeep Kumar Reddy, and I live in Visakhapatnam. I had modified an electric vehicle — when the vehicle is on the battery it will be recharged automatically. I have not used a dynamo, and I have test driven it up to 180 km, and still the battery remains 90 to 95%. I have designed a circuit for auto-recharging the battery. If you are interested please contact me: 8790050338
Posted by pradeep kumar reddy on 27 Aug 2014


This is an interesting blog that you have posted. You share a lot of things that are very informative for us. Thanks.
Posted by Chris Karasavvas on 03 Oct 2014


This is an interesting blog that you have posted, you share a lot of things are very informative for us. Thanks.
Posted by Chris Karasavvas on 15 Oct 2014


POST A COMMENT

Comments are moderated and will be reviewed before they are posted to ensure they are on topic, relevant, and not abusive. They may be edited for length and clarity. By filling out this form, you give Yale Environment 360 permission to publish this comment.

Name 
Email address 
Comment 
 
Please type the text shown in the graphic.


marc guntherABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc Gunther is a contributing editor at Fortune, a senior writer at Greenbiz.com and a blogger at www.marcgunther.com. His book, Suck It Up: How Capturing Carbon From the Air Can Help Solve the Climate Crisis, is available as an Amazon Kindle Single. In previous articles for Yale Environment 360, he has reported on how technology can help consumers make greener choices and explored why a promising electric car start-up is failing.
MORE BY THIS AUTHOR

 
 

RELATED ARTICLES


He's Still Bullish on Hybrids,
But Skeptical of Electric Cars

Former Toyota executive Bill Reinert has long been dubious about the potential of electric cars. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about the promise of other technologies and about why he still sees hybrids as the best alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.
READ MORE

Why Pushing Alternate Fuels
Makes for Bad Public Policy

Every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan has backed programs to develop alternative transportation fuels. But there are better ways to foster energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions than using subsidies and mandates to promote politically favored fuels.
READ MORE

Why a Highly Promising
Electric Car Start-Up Is Failing

Better Place was touted as one of the world’s most innovative electric vehicle start-ups when it launched six years ago. But after selling fewer than 750 cars in a major initiative in Israel and losing more than $500 million, the company’s experience shows that EVs are still not ready for primetime.
READ MORE

For Electric Car Batteries,
The Race for a Rapid Charge

The amount of time it takes to recharge lithium-ion batteries has been a major impediment to consumer acceptance of electric vehicles. But a host of companies and researchers are working intensively to develop a battery that can recharge in 10 minutes and power a car for hundreds of miles.
READ MORE

Self-Driving Cars: Coming
Soon to a Highway Near You

Vehicles that virtually drive themselves are no longer the stuff of science fiction, with Google and other companies working to develop self-driving cars. These automated vehicles not only offer improved safety and fewer traffic jams, but real environmental benefits as well.
READ MORE

 

MORE IN Reports


Drive to Mine the Deep Sea
Raises Concerns Over Impacts

by mike ives
Armed with new high-tech equipment, mining companies are targeting vast areas of the deep ocean for mineral extraction. But with few regulations in place, critics fear such development could threaten seabed ecosystems that scientists say are only now being fully understood.
READ MORE

Electric Power Rights of Way:
A New Frontier for Conservation

by richard conniff
Often mowed and doused with herbicides, power transmission lines have long been a bane for environmentalists. But that’s changing, as some utilities are starting to manage these areas as potentially valuable corridors for threatened wildlife.
READ MORE

With the Boom in Oil and Gas,
Pipelines Proliferate in the U.S.

by peter moskowitz
The rise of U.S. oil and gas production has spurred a dramatic expansion of the nation's pipeline infrastructure. As the lines reach into new communities and affect more property owners, concerns over the environmental impacts are growing.
READ MORE

How Norway and Russia Made
A Cod Fishery Live and Thrive

by john waldman
The prime cod fishing grounds of North America have been depleted or wiped out by overfishing and poor management. But in Arctic waters, Norway and Russia are working cooperatively to sustain a highly productive — and profitable — cod fishery.
READ MORE

A New Frontier for Fracking:
Drilling Near the Arctic Circle

by ed struzik
Hydraulic fracturing is about to move into the Canadian Arctic, with companies exploring the region's rich shale oil deposits. But many indigenous people and conservationists have serious concerns about the impact of fracking in more fragile northern environments.
READ MORE

Africa’s Vultures Threatened
By An Assault on All Fronts

by madeline bodin
Vultures are being killed on an unprecedented scale across Africa, with the latest slaughter perpetrated by elephant poachers who poison the scavenging birds so they won’t give away the location of their activities.
READ MORE

As Small Hydropower Expands,
So Does Caution on Its Impacts

by dave levitan
Small hydropower projects have the potential to bring electricity to millions of people now living off the grid. But experts warn that planners must carefully consider the cumulative effects of constructing too many small dams in a single watershed.
READ MORE

Why Restoring Wetlands
Is More Critical Than Ever

by bruce stutz
Along the Delaware River estuary, efforts are underway to restore wetlands lost due to centuries of human activity. With sea levels rising, coastal communities there and and elsewhere in the U.S. and Europe are realizing the value of wetlands as important buffers against flooding and tidal surges.
READ MORE

Primate Rights vs Research:
Battle in Colombian Rainforest

by chris kraul
A Colombian conservationist has been locked in a contentious legal fight against a leading researcher who uses wild monkeys in his search for a malaria vaccine. A recent court decision that banned the practice is seen as a victory in efforts to restrict the use of monkeys in medical research.
READ MORE

Scientists Look for Causes of
Baffling Die-Off of Sea Stars

by eric wagner
Sea stars on both coasts of North America are dying en masse from a disease that kills them in a matter of days. Researchers are looking at various pathogens that may be behind what is known as sea star wasting syndrome, but they suspect that a key contributing factor is warming ocean waters.
READ MORE


e360 digest
Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter

CONNECT

Twitter: YaleE360
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Bookmark
Share e360
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
rss


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

e360 PHOTO GALLERY

“Peter
Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places.
View the gallery.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 VIDEO

Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Watch the video.


header image
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland. © Google & TerraMetrics.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado River Video
In a Yale Environment 360 video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.

OF INTEREST



Yale