Electric Vehicles are in the news: with 100,000 sold in the US alone in 2012, the use of EVs is growing rapidly. However, academic studies of EVs are limited by the fact that they are expensive. Our key idea is to deploy a fleet of approximately 25 sensor-equipped electric bicycles or e-bikes to UW faculty, staff, and students.
We plan to use this fleet to pursue three lines of research:
1. To study electric cars at a much lower price point (~$2000 vs. ~$30,000).
2. To study e-bikes in their own right. This is important because e-bikes are the world’s fastest growing mode of low-carbon urban transportation (China has over 200 million e-bikes already). Insights gained from this work will be transformative in understanding the scope and impact of e-bikes on transportation infrastructure in the Canadian context, for example, when used to move people to and from an LRT line.
3. When charged by a solar panel, e-bikes are a cost-effective completely off-grid transportation solution. Moreover, e-bike batteries can be used to power low-cost refrigerators and lighting in developing countries.
This study consists of two main phases, a survey of attitudes towards eBikes, and a field trial.
- A survey on e-bikes was widely disseminated to UW faculty, staff, and students in the units of Computer Science, ECE, Environment, and Psychology. The survey results was used to select 24 participants.
- e-bikes were purchased from our partner, e-Prodigy, and instrumented with sensors. Participants were given e-bikes and appropriate training by our partner, Cycle Electric. Usage data (GPS location, accelerometer readings and battery state) is being collected on an ongoing basis. Anonymized data is stored in our data center on a secure server and this data will be used as the basis for our research. Participants will be asked to fill out user surveys periodically, every three-to-six months.
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This project is a collaboration between: