|Fig. 1: An original Sondors Electric Bike with the fat tires meant for all terrains. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
A Sondors electric bike (e-bike), much like a Tesla, has the ability to reduce the carbon footprint caused by everyday transportation. However, electric bikes have an added advantage. Electric bikes, such as the Sondors, eliminate the need for a car all together when living in a densely populated metropolitan area. Furthermore, for college students looking to reduce expenses and improve their energy efficiency, a Sondors may offer one of the best transportation solutions. While an electric bike may not be able to replace a car for those living in suburban areas, it does offer an effective transportation solution for those making shorter commutes to either work or school.
Sondors electric bikes sell for approximately $700, which is a far cry from the $1,500 to $3,000 price point that most electric bikes command. The bike operates with a 350W motor drawing power from a 36-volt 8.8-Ah Lithium-Ion battery stored in a compartment on the bike. In terms of energy consumption, a 36-volt 8.8-Ah battery consumes:
With these stock parts alone, the bike can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour and has a range of up to 50 miles when in peddle-assist mode. Peddle-assist mode merely allows for the electric motor to engage as you peddle to reduce the strain on one's legs. However, owners of these bikes oftentimes replace these stock parts with upgraded motors and batteries. [1,2] Examples include people installing a 750W motor paired with a 48-volt 20-Ah Lithium-Ion battery. These upgrades can allow for top speeds of 35 miles per hour and an extended range of roughly 80 miles.
|Fig. 2: A protected bike road located in Hungary. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
In addition to being an enjoyable mode of transportation, Sondors e-bikes also can offer both social and monetary benefits.  For example, by riding a Sondors, a college student can eliminate the costs of car insurance, car repairs, gas, and parking passes.  Additionally, in large cities, proposed e-bike ride sharing services look to make electric bikes even more accessible. Currently, bike-sharing services are already in place, but the addition of minimal-effort electric bicycles are anticipated to pique the interest of consumers.  However, it should be noted that the health benefits of commuting using a normal bicycle may not be observed if one chooses not to pedal while riding their electric bike. This is unlikely to be a strong deterrent for those simply looking for an easier commute, but it certainly should be considered as a factor.
The pros and cons of electric bikes and electric cars are important to consider.  For those that are anxious about the range of their electric transportation, an electric car is a better alternative. Although electric cars may win out for those with longer commutes, Sondors e-bikes take the upper hand for those in densely populated cities such as New York or San Francisco. Particularly for those who work at companies with a bike storage area, electric bikes are far more practical than an electric car. Presently, Sondors are more effective in big cities; whereas, electric cars are more effective for those living in suburban areas.
Sondors e-bikes are simply the next iteration of electric transportation and are in their infantile stages. As cites become denser and traffic congestion mounts, it appears as though electric bikes will become a more attractive option for consumers. In particular, the ability for Sondors to reduce the cost of an electric bike by 50% simply by using more stock parts hints toward more lower-cost electric bikes in the future. Lower-cost electric bikes, paired with increased traffic congestion poise electric bikes to be a key player in the transportation revolution that will occur in the next few decades.
© Andrew Summerville. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.
 T. Franke et al. "Experiencing Range in an Electric Vehicle: Understanding Psychological Barriers," App. Psychol. 61, 368 (2011).
 I. V. McLoughlin et al. "Campus Mobility for the Future: The Electric Bicycle," J. Transport Technol. 2, 1 (2012).
 R. Meireles et al. "An E.Bike Design for the Fourth Generation Bike-Sharing Services," EVS27, 17 Nov 13.
 D. Rojas-Rueda et al. "Replacing Car Trips by Increasing Bike and Public Transport in the Greater Barcelona Metropolitan Area: A Health Impact Assessment Study," Environ. Int. 49, 100 (2012).
 J. X. Weinert, A. F. Burke, and X. Wei, "Lead-Acid and Lithium-Ion Batteries for the Chinese Electric Bike Market and Implications on Future Technology Advancement," J. Power Sources 172, 938 (2007).