In addition to the lives lost and the economic damage, the COVID pandemic has wrought untold environmental disaster. Plastic bag bans have been reversed, discarded masks now litter sidewalks and parking lots, and factories worldwide are busy turning petroleum into Plexi for cashier sneezeguards. These effects will linger for generations.
One bright spot: For urbanites seeking personal transportation sources, e-bike uptake is positively soaring. Dutch manufacturer VanMoof, who produces what may be the prettiest models on the market, is riding the upswing. “In March 2020, sales of e-bikes in America soared by 85% compared with the same month a year earlier,” the company writes.
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VanMoof’s share of the pie was even larger: “Our global Q2 (Apr-June) sales growth for e-bikes year-on-year was 379% (overlapping strongly with Covid), [and] our US sales increase, year-on-year, 2019/20 (Jan to June) was 91%.” Not bad for a company with just two models, the standard-sized S3 and the compact-sized X3, both of which retail for $1,998 and come with an e-shifter that automatically changes gears, as well as an alarm and location tracking feature to stymie thieves.
As evidence of their success, last week VanMoof opened a new store in Seattle, their third in America following Brooklyn and San Francisco outposts. Between the U.S. stores and the ones in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris and Tokyo, as well as the ability to order online, the company says their “long-term goal is to fully democratize cycling, and ultimately get the next billion on bikes.”
As e-bikes begin to increase on our urban streets, we’ll just have to make sure they don’t come into conflict with other types of electric vehicles.