WA News

License article

Electric bike trial in Perth and Albany results in huge savings across the board

A small cohort of West Australians have saved thousands of dollars between them and eliminated more than 1000 car journeys after taking part in two electric bike trials.

Sixty people across Perth and Albany took part in two separate 10 week trials coordinated by the RAC.

The trials have led to a huge turn around in people ditching their cars in favour of bikes as their main form of transportation.

The Perth trial was carried out in 2015 and the Albany trial began late last year. The 60 participants had free use of an 'e-Bike' for their commute to and from work for the 10 weeks, as well as any other trips they wished to make. 

Those who completed a post-trial survey reported savings of $530 each over the 10 week period, for a combined total of $18,000.

RAC general manager of public policy Anne Still said she hoped the project would bring more people into contact with e-Bikes.


"WA is already a great place to cycle, it's also really progressing in terms of infrastructure," Ms Still said.

"We see e-Bikes as a great way of unlocking more demand for cycling.

"They really take a lot of the effort out of cycling and help bring balance to (people's) commute. There is so much potential to be gained from it."

The e-Bikes were fitted with an electric motor and a battery that provides some assistance to the rider.

In Albany, none of the trial participants had cycled to and from work before. Yet, over the 10 weeks almost half of all work commute trips were done solely on the e-Bike. 

Usage of the e-Bikes for commuting remained high for the duration of the Albany trial, peaking at 60 per cent in the first week, before dropping to 28 per cent by week nine.

But the uptake in cycling was sustained even after the trial finished.

One in two participants enjoyed riding their e-Bike so much they purchased it once the trial finished. And the majority said they would recommend them to family and friends as a commuting option.

Combined, the trials resulted in over 3000 e-Bike trips and 1300 car journeys being replaced.

The global e-Bike market is tipped to expand dramatically in coming years.

It is estimated global annual sales will increase from about 32 million in 2014, to over 40 million by the year 2023.

Latest figures show 20.6 per cent of people living in regional WA ride a bicycle in a typical week for any purpose, compared to 17.8 per cent of Perth residents.