Family Transportation in a Sustainable World

Sustainable World

Sustainable WorldWe all got used to driving large cars, SUVs and pickup trucks in the last few decades. There were times when the price of gasoline was quite low and sacrificing gas mileage for comfort seemed to be a worthwhile trade-off. Those days seem to be long gone as car makers have recognized the nationwide trend of driving more fuel efficient vehicles.  The market now demands a new generation of family transportation in a sustainable world.

Transport in a Sustainable World

Today, high gas prices have caused most families to think twice before deciding what type of new car to buy. The size of the family is a major factor in deciding just how big a vehicle to buy. If you have six kids, you will need something that can seat 8 and that limits you to a large SUV, minivan or a few crossover vehicles. While you don’t have to necessarily have a vehicle that can haul the whole family around, it is nice to have that option.

If you are a family with one or two kids, your choice of family transportation is virtually unlimited. Toyota is still amongst the leaders when it comes to producing a car with a minimal environmental footprint.

A Prius, in all of its various configurations will still get you 40 and maybe even 50 miles to the gallon. Most of the other car manufacturers have at least one vehicle for sale that gets at least 40 miles per gallon.

Family transportation is not just about getting the most miles per gallon. Sustainable family transportation that will do a good job of getting you from place to place should also keep with a green theme. It should have as low a carbon footprint as possible and also be designed and engineered to last a long time.

Probably just as important as how much carbon pollution is emitted in to the atmosphere is how long we keep our cars on the road. When a car has reached the end of its useful life it must be disposed of somewhere.

That means a few tons of metal, plastic and rubber will be added to the refuse of the world. It is true some parts can be recycled, but overall, a junked car winds up in a landfill or junk yard.

Families can buy electric cars or hybrids which use less gasoline. They can buy cars that run on ethanol. Perhaps the best thing they can do to reduce the environmental impact is to drive less. Stay home more as a family. Plan your shopping and other chores so you can make just one trip instead of 2 or 3. The less you drive, the better it is for the environment.

Reducing, Reusing and Recycling Excess Packaging

Recycling Excess Packaging

Recycling Excess PackagingConscientious consumers can easily minimize their household’s waste and carbon footprint by reducing, reusing and recycling excess packaging through creative and resourceful measures.

The environmental impact of waste begins in the supply chain, continues through the consumer’s home and ends hundreds of years later when plastics breakdown.  To reduce the environmental impact of consumer goods, manufacturers have been turning to lifecycle analysis programs to develop beneficial packaging and shipping materials.

These include reusable and recyclable glass containers, corrugated cardboard, which is ideal for recycling, and lightweight plastic designed to minimize transportation-related fossil fuel emissions.

Recycling Excess Packaging

Any household can minimize waste by choosing food items and food storage containers that are compatible with the reduce-reuse-recycle principal.

Reusable grocery bags and cloth produce sacs are ideal for minimizing unnecessary waste and trash. While plastic grocery bags can be recycled, lightweight produce bags are more likely to be thrown in the trash. Cloth sacs can also be used to transport bakery bread as an alternative to plastic sleeves and disposable bags.

Avoiding prepackaged produce items and salad mixes is another way to reduce waste from foam trays, plastic wrap, plastic bags and supplemental packaging. Purchasing economic family size containers rather than individual servings is one of the easiest ways to reduce packaging consumption and overall waste.

Large quantities of dry goods can also be purchased from bulk bins and transported in reusable sacs to reduce unnecessary packaging and prevent waste.

Many plastic, glass and metal containers can be reused or re-purposed before they are recycled. Plastic containers, glass jars and tin cans can be turned into garden pots or used to store and organize items.

Glass jelly jars can be turned into creative drinking glasses or used to store dry goods, spices and herbs.

Glass jars and food storage containers are among the best choices because they are reusable, recyclable and non-leaching unlike tin cans.

The hormone Bisphenol A also known as BPA is associated with plastics as well as the protective lining used inside metal cans. Studies show 90% of canned goods contained measurable levels of BPA, which leach from the plastic lining.

Although plastic wrap has a smaller environmental impact compared to tin foil, it has been named as a source of BPA. If possible, reuse tin foil that has not been soiled or cover dishes with a plate instead.

Wax paper, freezer paper and waxed bags are all eco-friendly alternatives for storing foods without risking exposure to toxins.

With a few simple steps anyone can reduce their household’s waste and carbon footprint. There are lots of other ways in which consumers can help with recycling excess packaging, and some are quite imaginative.  Share any tips you have in the comments below.

Sustainable Living – The Basics

Sustainable Living

Sustainable LivingSustainable living requires very little effort from an individual, but can have a dramatic, positive impact on the environment and a person’s bank account. No longer can homeowners turn a blind eye to the massive overuse of the world’s natural resources while polluting the earth with toxic waste.

Sustainable living can help preserve the precious, fragile ecosystems that are being destroyed little by little, everyday. Learning how to reduce the amount of electricity and other resources used, limiting the amount of waste, and using products made with recycled materials are all part of sustainable living.

Sustainable Living and Lifestyle

The idea behind this cost effective lifestyle is to leave less of an environmental impact on the earth. Millions of people over hundreds of years living carelessly without a thought about the environment are slowly depleting the earth’s natural resources and causing irreparable harm to this beautiful planet.

Homes can switch to alternative energy sources. Solar and wind powered homes are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, governments all around the world are offering incentives for those that switch to these green energy sources.

The cost savings to the electric bill will pay for the system in a matter of years. Solar power is one of the easiest systems to install and can even be used in densely populated areas. Panels are placed on the roof of a home to avoid taking up precious space. Solar shingles are another option a homeowner can choose to install.

Collecting Rainwater

Rain barrels are an ideal way to save money on the water bill, while preserving a valuable commodity. Rain barrels are very inexpensive and can be used to water lawns and gardens throughout the summer. There are numerous designs and sizes that are sure to suit any home’s style and meet any homeowner’s association laws.

Reducing Waste

Waste is quickly becoming a problem. Landfills are overflowing with needless garbage that will take several decades to break down. Recycling plastics, glass and paper products are a vital part the preservation of earth.

Consumers can help reduce the massive piles of waste by buying products made with recyclable materials. It is also important consumers send a message to wasteful companies by only buying products that are made with recycled materials.

Conclusion

Some of the above may seem very basic given the amount of awareness in the modern world, but even these fundamentals still allude some.  Others become complacent and switch back to old bad habits.  Review your household energy use and see if there are ways you could improve.

PV Cells – Helping Us Switch to Sustainable Living

pv cells

pv cells

It may seem hard to believe that just one hour of sunshine, if harnessed correctly, could supply the world’s power needs for an entire year. However, recent technological advances with photovoltaic or PV cells are creating new options and opportunities to save money, reduce waste and protect the shrinking natural resources of this planet.

Even in locations where there is not as much consistent sunlight as one might wish, the solar cell is offering flexible and adaptable solutions for expensive energy needs.

PV Cells – Power Generation

In the past, photovoltaic power generation has proven too costly to be worth the initial investment. Set-up alone would override long term benefits for too many years to represent a cost-savings. Today that has all changed.

More than 100 countries around the world have found ways to pull energy from the sun through a solar cell and into lighting, heating and other useful services at home, in the garden or at work. Now considered the fastest growing field of power generation globally, PV cells are no longer cost- prohibitive.

Prices have dropped because of better technology and increased manufacturer production as a response to demand. Solar power is no longer for the rich. Offering years of convenient, maintenance-free service, it is a viable consideration for anyone today.

Converting to solar energy is not just good for the individual budget, but it is also good for the ecosystem. Sunlight is a constantly renewable energy that cannot be over-used.

There are no harmful bi-products from solar power or PV cells, unlike batteries which need to be carefully disposed of once drained. It is estimated that the UK collects 20,000–30,000 tonnes of battery waste yearly, excluding car batteries which are recycled 90% of the time.

Each family averages 21 batteries a year that need to be disposed of judiciously. Currently less than 1,000 tonnes of these waste batteries are being repurposed. Solar power is a step away from storing used batteries in places where they may eventually leak into the water and/or the soil, hurting crops and wildlife.

Creating a sustainable lifestyle

Creating a sustainable lifestyle has become more important for many  citizens who feel the need to be responsible for themselves and maybe even to give something back to their communities.

Solar energy will never be slave to rising fuel or electricity prices. It will never contribute to the ugly carbon footprint the human race has been creating.

Whether you choose to supplement your current power source with solar utility or security lights, heating panels or small personal devices such as ankelites that protect the family cyclists and joggers, choosing solar power is a smart decision, and now is the right time to see how sun energy can make a difference in your life.

Everyday Uses of Wind Power

Uses of Wind Power

Uses of Wind PowerSeveral decades ago sustainable living was a buzzword that mainly traveled in limited circles. Few people without a social cause or a need paid much attention to how the electricity they used got into their homes.  Things have changed and it is now more important than ever before. In this post we glance at a few of the everyday uses of wind power in the home and elsewhere.

Uses of Wind Power

Wind energy is one of the most accessible forms of alternative electricity. Electricity from wind is available in almost all climates, elevations and locales, making it an excellent choice for the environmentally conscious family.

How Wind Generators Work

Wind energy uses a fairly basic and easy to understand technology to generate power. Most electricity from wind makes use of a wind turbine. The turbine has blades that turn when wind pressure encounters them. The turning blades transfer their energy to a rotor and shaft which, in turn, pass it onto a generator, creating usable electricity.

Because wind is a completely sustainable and renewable resource, the only expense is in installing and maintaining the wind turbine. There is less waste with a wind power system, because a more consistent flow of electricity is created, especially in ideal locations, meaning that less dependence on secondary battery storage is needed.

Like solar energy, the cost of wind power has been prohibitive to many homeowners, but the price is shrinking as alternative forms of energy are more widely explored for everyday use.

Green Gadgets for Your Home

Like all types of alternative energy, there is a limit to what wind power can produce at any given time. Most families who focus on sustainable living are also interested in keeping their carbon footprint small. Using a household energy meter can help you can help you keep an eye on your energy usage.

Lighting is another area where the modern homeowner will need to adjust. While lighting doesn’t create a huge draw on an alternative energy system, it is a constant need. Pairing wind power with some solar products is especially useful with lighting.

Outdoor lights, for example, can run entirely on solar power without tapping into any of the electricity from wind created by your turbine system. Inside, a combination of both high-efficiency bulbs and supplemental lighting systems is a good option.

Conclusion

When it comes to sustainable living, it really is the small things that make the biggest difference. Adapting your home to wind energy is a big step. However, even homes with on-the-grid systems can make a positive difference. You can also make an impact by choosing easy to install and maintain green gadgets in your office, yard and garden.

An introduction to Solar Hot Water Heaters

A large portion of a home’s energy use can be attributed to heating water for all the various domestic uses; showers, washing dishes, and laundry. Typical electric hot water heaters can be expensive to run. Gas powered hot water heaters cost a bit less, but they’re still not as efficient as other means which are available in today’s world. Solar hot water heaters are a good example of how solar power is one of the best renewable energy sources available and here we examine their advantages.

Solar Hot Water Heaters

Solar hot water heaters normally operate alongside of conventional ones, since weather can affect their efficiency. There are a lot of advantages to owning a solar powered water heating system. However, there are also some disadvantages.

The question is, would it be logical to install a solar powered hot water heater on your home? The objective of this article is to shed a little light on this subject. Hopefully after finished, you will have the knowledge necessary to make a sound decision.

How it Works

First of all, it’s important to note that there are two types of solar hot water heaters – passive and active. The basic set-up is a tank to hold the water, a solar collector, and a series of tubes that allow for water flow. Now let’s take a closer look at the two distinct types of solar hot water heaters.

Passive Systems

Passive solar water heaters use nothing but the forces of nature to heat water. This is definitely the least complicated of the two. Batch hot water heaters are the most basic of all designs. A tank is filled with water and the solar collector heats the water up while inside of the tank. Then gravity takes over and feeds the heated water to the home.

A Thermosiphon hot water heater is another form of passive. In this design, cold water moves through a series of tubes, where it is heated and then send to the storage tank.

Active Systems

Active systems are the opposite of passive – they use electricity to help with their job. This type of solar hot water heaters can be separated into three categories. The first is direct, where water is pumped through solar collectors in order to heat it.

The second is indirect, which the solar collectors heat a fluid instead of the water itself. Then the heated fluid is used to heat the water without mixing with it. Finally we have drainback systems. Drainback systems are almost exactly like indirect, except that it is equipped with a drainback tank.

Benefits of a Solar Hot Water Heaters

First and foremost, solar hot water heaters are a greener option – green as in both environmentally friendly and saving money. In fact, you might see your light bill cut in half. It’s said that using solar powered hot water heating systems can reduce your energy usage by half.

Of course, that number will be entirely dependant on where you live. If you live in a sunny area where days are longer, then you will save more. On the contrary, a place where the days are shorter would save you less money. But the average is a 50% decrease.

That would also mean that you will be responsible for less CO2 emissions. Another added advantage is that installing solar powered systems on your home will increase the value.

Disadvantages of Solar Powered Hot Water Heaters

Of course, there are going to be some disadvantages to using solar power to heat your water. At the top of that list is the high cost of getting it installed.

However, this money will be made back over time so you could look at it like an investment. But how fast you save the money you invested depends on your location. If you live in a sunny place like Arizona or Florida, then the saving would be seen very quickly.

On the other hand, if you live in Alaska, then it might take a while to get your money back.

There are some other disadvantages too. First of all, everything is dependent on your location. Here’s some examples of how your location can affect your decision.

  • Temperature.  Living in a very cold location can make direct models not available since the cold weather can freeze them.
  • Design.  Your home has to be set up efficiently in order to gain the most exposure possible from solar panels.
  • Regulations.  Some places have specific laws concerning a home’s design. An area that’s prone to earthquakes would be a good example of this, as placing a solar hot water heater on the roof would put the home over the weight limit.

Conclusion

A solar hot water heating system can be installed yourself, saving you a lot of money. However, you must carefully do your homework before attempting this task. Also, since it involves roof work, you need to take extra precautions.

Solar power is becoming one of the most sought after renewable power sources. In a world where being green has become the goal of a lot of people, a solar powered hot water heater is a huge step in the right direction.

The Solar Powered World is Emerging

Solar Powered World

Solar Powered WorldNot so long ago the idea of multiple uses of solar energy was a thing of the future, but that future is now here.  Solar power is used in an increasing number of ways and on a growing number of devices.  Where is solar power used?  Well, probably in more areas than you imagine.  Let’s look at some of the more common examples of the solar powered world.

Solar Power Stations

There are already quite a few solar photovoltaic power stations that have been built. Although these stations were mainly in Europe at one time, they continue to spread throughout the world and examples are appearing in many other countries

The design of these stations allows the solar panels to actually follow the sun’s path across the sky, which generates even more electricity than mounted systems. And since there is no fuel consumed to operate solar powered stations, there is no pollution or waste expelled into the atmosphere.

Solar Powered Buildings

Solar panels are often integrated into corporate buildings to increase efficiency. Normally, they are installed on the roof but sometimes they can be installed on a wall or even on the ground adjacent to the building.

The reason for this is simple. Corporations are looking for long term ways to save money and solar power is a great investment to meet that goal.  They may just want to improve their brand image by being seen to be green and reducing their carbon footprint.

Solar Powered Transportation

As most people know, solar photovoltaic power has always been used as a power source for space missions, and with the increasing amount of design and development that trend is likely to continue.

However, what other applications are there here on Earth? In terms of road transport we are still a long way from driving solar powered cars, but there are numerous single person electric vehicles setting new records with each passing year.

In the air the development has been more rapid. Solar cells are being attached to aircraft of several types as well as the rapidly developing drone technology.  The new generation of airships will probably use them widely.

Meanwhile, yachts, canal boats, and water craft of all types, have been using flexi solar cells on their rooftops for years.

Solar Powered Utilities

PV power is used to power a great number of utilities such as hot water heaters, water pumps, parking meters, and emergency phones. The reasons are obvious – to save money and also provide a reliable backup during blackouts.

Solar Powered Streetlights

Many of the streetlights that we see while driving are being powered by solar PV cells. But this trend will go much further than just lights. There are already tests underway as to install solar panels on the road itself. Since roads always take a beating from the sun, why not take advantage? The possibilities are endless.

As you can see, the world is slowly turning to solar power. This trend will continue into the future and will most likely grow with time. In fact, don’t be surprised if solar power slowly replaces other forms of power. People are already finding out that installing PV power to their home saves them a lot of money in the long run. Look for more people to start doing the same.

What are Photovoltaic Cells?

Photovoltaic Cells

Photovoltaic CellsThe sun is the most powerful form of power known to exist so why not start using some of that power for your home? The introduction of PV  cells has made it possible for the energy to be harnessed anywhere the sun shines, but what are photovoltaic cells?

What are Photovoltaic Cells?

Photovoltaics is the process of creating direct current electricity by transforming the sun’s radiation. Semiconductors are used for the process and are made from many different materials such as monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon, cadmium telluride, and several others. Although there are a few applications where PV Cells are built on the ground, in most cases they are mounted to rooftops.

The most important fact about solar power is that it’s considered to be a renewable energy source. This means that this power source will never run out. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this form of power. Now it’s time to look at these in more detail.

Advantages of PV Cells

First of all, there is more than enough sunlight reaching the Earth to meet all of our needs. In fact, the 89,000 TW of sunlight would generate 6,000 times more electricity than the average consumed. That’s a huge difference.

Another advantage is that solar power is completely pollution free during their use and any pollution made during the manufacturing of the cells is easily managed by simple pollution control.

Finally, Solar PV (Photovoltaic) Cells require very little maintenance. In fact, after their initial installation, they will operate for years without any intervention. That means that the costs during operation are very low when compared to other forms of power.

Disadvantages of PV Cells

One of the most obvious disadvantages is that solar power isn’t generated at night. Also, the efficiency is reduced in cloudy conditions. This means that the power must be stored for these times or an alternate system is required.

Another flaw is that Solar PV Cells create direct current electricity. Everything in a home runs off of alternating current. Therefore, the DC produced by the solar cells must be converted into AC. When this happens, an energy loss occurs.

Conclusion

In this day and age of economic struggles, everyone is looking for long term solutions to save money while reducing our overall effect on the environment. Although there seem to be countless ways to accomplish this, one of the most beneficial would seem to be the utilization of solar power.  In the decades to come this technology is likely to become more efficient and used in an increasing number of areas.

Ebike Road Safety – Reduce The Risks

While an ebike is a great mode of transportation, one must remain cautious and ride the bike defensively.  In this article we’ll cover the basics of ebike road safety so that you can reduce the risks of mishaps.

With an electric bike, a commuter can fly around the city without getting tired or worrying about large hills. Since such bikes are not large, one can also take it on trains and get around the city without sitting in traffic all day.

At the same time, a rider should understand the rules of the road. Not only that, one should know what to wear while on a bike. With this in mind, here is a short guide for a person who wants to ride and electric bike safely all the time.

Ebike Road Safety Maintenance

Maintenance – No Interrupted Journeys

Just like with a car, a bike owner should maintain his or her electric bike. To do so, a cyclist should maintain proper PSI levels on his or her tyres. By doing so a rider will experience fewer problems when navigating the busy streets. At the same time, with proper tyre pressure, when hitting large bumps, a commuter will not feel his or her bike shake.

Of course, this is just the beginning, and an owner must inspect his or her brakes, tyres, chain and any other parts. In fact, if a bike owner does not know how to do this, he or she should take classes.

Other times, when busy, the owner can bring his or her bicycle into a shop where a professional can inspect it and fix any issues. Either way, with solid maintenance, a bike owner will not see his or her electric bike fail in the middle of traffic.

Lights – Be Seen and Be Safe

While people hate reflectors and bike lights, they are necessary. Without this, a pedestrian or driver will have a hard time seeing the cyclist. This is a recipe for disaster as many bikers are run over by motorists who do not see the rider until it is too late.

Ideally, the electric bike owner should have a front and back light. With this inexpensive item, one can see the road well and not worry about a driver suddenly running into their path. If riding at night often, one should also buy bright clothing that motorists will see with ease.

Hand Signals – Communicate Your Intentions

With the proper hand signals, a rider can show motorists and pedestrians his or her intent when making a turn. This is important in busy areas where one will ride around a lot of traffic. Sadly, when ignoring this vital advice, some riders will end up getting hit.

Other times, a rider will anger motorists who have no idea what the cyclist is planning on doing. Either way, when understanding hand signals, a rider will go a long way in avoiding issues while on the road.

Pavements are for Pedestrians

While riding, some foolish cyclists think it is safer to take their electric bike on the pavement. This is not wise as an electric bike rider should use city streets. Unfortunately, when on the pavement, one is at a greater risk for causing an accident and hitting a pedestrian. A bike rider must understand that it is easier to ride with the flow of traffic on the street.

Helmet and other safety gear: An electric bike can go fast and a rider who falls can break a bone or suffer a concussion. For this reason, when riding an electric bike, a rider should use a helmet and any other padding he or she deems necessary. With this inexpensive investment, a bike owner will stand a better chance at avoiding a serious injury when falling.

Don’t Drink and Ride

Believe it or not, some electric bike riders think they can ride their bike drunk. While it is not as dangerous as driving a car while under the influence, it is still not wise. In fact, while riding while drunk, a cyclist is at an increased risk for causing a serious and potentially deadly accident.

Remember, an electric bike can glide along quickly, and it is not wise to ride while under the influence as one false move can cause a serious injury.

Anticipate the Actions of Others

Watch for car doors!  Often, a new rider will worry about random drivers running them over and leaving them incapacitated. This is often not the case as many electric bike owners will get in a smaller accident. One such way to crash is to run into an open door.

This happens when a passenger or driver gets out of his or her car and does not look for cyclists. To prevent this, a rider should look in cars and make sure that nobody is opening a door.

Enjoy Your Riding

With an electric bike, one can enjoy a fun ride without breaking a sweat. While this is true, it is wise to understand the risks and take a proactive approach to ebike road safety.  You can easily avoid problems, both minor and serious, with a little care and attention, leaving you free to enjoy your ebike riding.

Should you buy an electric bicycle?

In a world where transportation is central to every day life, getting around in a cost effective, convenient manner that is not detrimental to the environment can be quite the challenge. One new alternative that is gaining popularity is the electric bicycle.

Equipped with a small electric motor to help you up those pesky hills, it is perfect for any commuter who has thought about taking up commuting to work on their bike but is worried their fitness level might not be what is used to.

The electric bicycle is the perfect combination of motorized vehicle and self propulsion. Because is is technically classified as a bicycle, laws surrounding operation are much more lenient than a motorcycle or moped. The small electric motor contains a rechargeable battery so soaring gas prices no longer mean plummeting wallet.

They reach speeds of anywhere from 25 to 45 km/h(15 to 20 mph) depending on the power of the motor with little to no effort on the part of the user. The electric bicycle is gaining popularity and replacing conventional bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles in countries like Germany and China.

There are several classes of electric bikes that are divided based primarily on how much power is delivered by the engine and whether the bike is pedal-assist or power-on-demand. The motor on a pedal-assist bike is regulated by pedaling.

Also called pedelecs, they have a sensor that detects the speed and force of the operator. It also senses braking which is disables the motor. Power-on-demand motors are activated by an actual throttle that is usually found on the handlebars.

Which Electric Bicycle is Right for You?

Pedelecs are divided into two classes: pedelecs proper and S-Pedelecs. Pedelecs proper have a pedal-assist drive system. The motor is low powered with a maximum continuous rated power that will not exceed 250 watts. It will cut out if the bike reaches a speed of 25 km/h (15 mph).

The purpose of the motor is primarily to provide assistance to the rider, in particularly up hills and when riding into a strong headwind. It is the ideal electric bike for someone who wants still wants to get some physical activity out of their daily commute but would rather not show up to work soaked in sweat from the effort if the wind is blowing.

S-Pedelecs are power pedelecs that are not necessarily classified as bicycles depending on the jurisdiction. The motor is over 250 watts and the motor does not stop if the rider exceeds 25 km/h (15 mph). In some places, it is classified as a motorcycle or moped so the rider may need a license and insurance.

Some electric bikes combine the physical exertion of pedal-assist with the speed of power-on-demand and have both pedal sensors and a throttle.

Electric bikes that operate with power-on-demand only usually have a larger motor. A throttle, which is usually on the handgrip operates and controls the motor. This allows the rider a variety of options. They can ride using only pedal power or rely manually on the electric motor with the use of the throttle. Riders also have the option to use both at the same time.

Why Make the Switch to an Electric Bicycle?

There are several advantages to choosing an electric bicycle over other means of transportation. Any type of cardiovascular exercise is highly beneficial for people with heart disease and other medical problems. The electric bicycle is an easier transition than a traditional bicycle because of the added boost of the motor.

Electric bikes are zero-emission vehicles. They do not emit any combustion bi-products into the air. While generating electricity and power distribution along with the manufacturing and disposing of the high storage density batteries does have some environmental impact, it is minimal compared to traditional automobiles.

The electric bicycle is 18 times more efficient than an SUV and 6 times more efficient than rail transit. The battery is so small it can be charged using solar power. In fact, in some places, solar parking lots have been set up where riders can leave their bikes under photvoltaic panels while they are at work or doing errands.

Convinced Yet?

As urban areas around the globe continue to grow, more people are looking for an alternative to crowded public transportation and rising gasoline prices. Electric bicycles are a great alternative that not only saves you money, but also combine your morning workout with your commute. With the option between pedal-assist and power-on-demand only, you can decide exactly what electric bicycle is right for you. Next time your car breaks down or you miss the bus, consider looking for an electric bicycle and changing your morning routine for the better.

Five of the Best ebike Brands

Electric bikes or ebikes come in a verity of different styles. Their motors can provide different ranges of power, so you can find one for mountain biking or one for commuting through the city. Either way, one thing is for certain: there are many benefits to owning an ebike. If you’re searching for a ebike, here are five of the best ebike brands to consider.

Riding an ebike is a good source of exercise and you won’t have to worry about polluting the earth or your lungs since they don’t run on fossil fuels. With an electric bike you’ll find that the daily struggle to find parking becomes a thing of the past.

Best eBike Brands

VOLT – “the best electric bikes”

VOLT is an amazing UK based electric bike manufacturer. All their bikes are designed and engineered at the best possible level. Each bike is light weight and sturdy so you’ll be able to ride your e-bike for miles with no problem. VOLT has made amazing advances in the e-bike field.

In collaboration with Bafang Motors, VOLT created the V-WAVE, which is the only intuitive riding module available for electric bikes. V-WAVE allows you to adjust the power being used to suit your riding needs.

You can choose how fast or slow you want to travel and it monitors your pedaling efforts, so it can adjust the power on its own when needed.

They make everything from mountain bike to bikes that can be used in a more urban environment, so VOLT will have a bike for you. Their electrical components are easy to detach, should it ever need replacing. And if something were to go really wrong, don’t fret – each bike comes with a two year “full peace of mind” warranty.

A2B Electric Bikes

For those who don’t want to compromise beauty and style, consider the A2B’s line of beautifully designed electric bikes.

Beauty isn’t the only thing A2B strives for. The bikes are capable of incredible speeds and with some of their bike models, pedaling is optional, so it’s like owning a bike and a moped in one. You can be confident your bike won’t give out while riding.

Ben Hopkin’s broke the record for longest journey traveled by electric bike on A2B’s Alva+ model. He logged an impressive 6,300 km over a verity of tough terrain, including the Nevada desert. So if your looking to go on a rode trip or need to commute long distances on the daily basis, A2B’s ebikes might be a perfect fit.

Viking Cycles – folding electric bikes

This company was established in 1908, at first making traditional bikes and then branching into e-bikes. They’ve been in the bike making business for over a hundred years, so you know you can trust them to make a reliable and quality bike. Viking Cycles specialize in folding electric bikes, which are perfect for storing in cars, apartments, or other small spaces.

Each ebike is guaranteed to be light weight and fast charging. Their best model, the Viking E-Go, can travel 25 miles on one charge. It has 3 setting, so you’ll find a mode that suits any travel. These bikes a perfect for up hill journeys.

Infineum – High-end Electric Bikes

Infineum electric bikes are known for being high-end. They are best known for their patented stackable battery system. Multiple batteries can be placed on the rear rack at one time and are secured into place with their own locking system, which ensures that the battery will stay put as you ride.

Each battery’s charge lasts 25-33 miles. With the stackble battery system, as soon as one battery dies the next one will kick in, so your journey could be limitless. Infusion also provides bike with a cycle computer which shows riders the remaining battery power, as well as distance traveled and traveling speed.

The Infineum e-bikes also have an amazing motor. The motor delivers 200 watts of power, while still remaining small and discreet on your bike. The motor is also much quieter than those of competing brands. So if you need a smart long distance bike, this might be the one.

Green Edge – Leisure Cycling and Commuting

Green Edge is a London based company that specializes in making affordable and eco-friendly bikes. Their low prices and quality material keep them in high demand all over the world. Like Viking Cycles, Green Edge’s bikes are foldable while still remaining sturdy.

Their bikes are often used for urban commutes but they can be used on a wide range of terrain. The saddles are super soft which provides for a comfortable ride. Forget traffic jams. With the little beauty you’ll be zipping through the city effortlessly.

The above are just five of the best ebike brands.  Many more exist and perhaps you have a favorite of  your own.  Let us know which brands you like in the comments below.

Ebikes – What are Electric Bikes? How do they work?

If you enjoy the fitness benefits of cycling but dread all those hills that torment every trip to the park, you might be interested in an ebike, or electric bike. These miracles of science come with propulsion systems that aid the pedaling process for easier, smoother and faster rides, but what are electric bikes and how do they work?

In addition, what kinds of ebikes are currently on the market? What accounts for their variations in price and speed? Here’s a quick guide to understanding your new favorite ride.

What are Electric Bikes?

The Mechanics of An Electric Bike

There are two basic types of ebike, and each one comes with its own pros and cons.

The pedelec offers pedaling assistance via a motorized system hidden in the bike’s hardware. It can help you speed up over flat terrain, slow down during a hill descent etc. It calculates things like pedaling force and overall bike speed to determine when you need an extra boost.

Unfortunately, the system isn’t foolproof, and there have been Matrix-like reports of pedelec bikes misinterpreting the data and acting with their own will. They won’t buck you off the seat or anything as drastic, but if you’re, say, peacefully cruising down the road when your bike suddenly decides to stop helping, you may wind up expending more effort than if you’d been riding a non-motorized model in the first place.

The twist-n-go bike is one where you deliberately trigger pedaling assistance via twist grips or on/off switch. It saves you the trouble of your bike deciding to act out I, Robot in the middle of a ride, but as a non-automated system, it also requires much more work on your part.

On the plus side, you’ll never waste power or battery life, so twist-n-gos will last longer than just about every other ebike model. They’re also the kind touted by environmental activists for their eco-friendliness.

Understanding The Controls

Depending on the size, price and overall construction of your e-bike, your model may come with either a “hub motor assist” or a “crank motor assist” .  These are located on the front wheels and pedal areas, respectively, and they’re responsible for giving the bike its juice.

Once upon a time, hub and crank motors had their own advocates claiming their models were the best, citing things like noise levels and basic maneuverability.

Technology has progressed to the point where these arguments are mostly moot, because assistance-wise, they’re pretty much indistinguishable . The only reason you might prefer one over the other is for aesthetics.

To Battery or Not To Battery

All electric bikes run on batteries, so if you want to make wise consumer decisions, you’re going to need to understand how they work and what your options are.

The two biggest types of batteries are nickel-based or lithium-based, the former offering cheaper prices but the latter promising a longer life and more energy per kilogram. Their power can be measured in both Ah (amp hours) and Wh (watt hours).

When it comes to batteries, you should think about terrain first and foremost. Do you pass a lot of hills on your way to uni? Do you expect to consume a lot of processing power going over rough granite and uneven sidewalks?

If you expect to put the hurt on your e-bike on a regular basis, lithium batteries are a safer bet for a long-lasting motor. On the other hand, if you anticipate a lot of maintenance anyway, replacing cheap nickel batteries won’t be that much of a problem and will cost you less upfront.

Buying An Electric Bike

Ready to take the plunge and ride in style? Here are a few considerations before dropping your hard-earned money on an ebike.

  • Price. Sophisticated models can easily set you back thousands of dollars, but if you don’t need LCD navigation systems and Bluetooth capabilities, simpler ebikes can be found for anywhere from $1500 to $4000.
  • Hardware. As mentioned above, there are several choices you can make between battery types, motor types, pedaling systems etc. There are also gears to consider; if you amp up your gears too much, you won’t leave much room for your pedaling motor.
  • Versatility. It’s a common joke that even a broken ebike is still a bike, much like how broken escalators are still stairs. But that isn’t quite true: If you’re riding a new, technologically heavy model, losing the electronics can mean losing all pedaling power over the ebike. If you’re cycling to work one morning and your battery suddenly dies, can you still finish the ride? Or will your bike become a useless lump of metal?

The Sum Of All Things

E-bikes come with pedelec or twist-n-go motors. These may be located on either the wheels or the crank. Batteries are important, so choose wisely between nickel and lithium depending on your budget, required shelf life and personal pedaling needs, and don’t make any foolish decisions when buying your first ebike.

Does that cover it? Are you ready to hit the road?