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A slow start to China’s electric bike revolution

bike.jpgCHINA WATCH  Greenbang China travelled back to Guangdong, her home town, during a recent national holiday, only to discover that her dad’s old seven-seat Nissan is out of favour for a new love–an electric bike.

“The oil is getting more and more expensive, and so much traffic jam inside the city – a bike runs probably faster than a car. It is also economical and environmental.”

Yes, dad is proud of his bike. It cost him 1890 yuan (about $245) and it can get up to 20 kilometers per hour when charged up.

But not many people use electric bikes in the city, as far as I see, perhaps because of a ban in another city, Guangzhou, since last November, due to “battery pollution” and other “security” issues, according to the local media. Also in Beijing, the electric bike has been under fire for a while. It was banned last January, but three days later the government changed its mind and allowed people to ride them, although only if the bike was sent to get a licence.

Even though electric bikes are not banned in my hometown, a middle-sized city near Guangzhou, local people still seem to prefer their cars or motorbikes. “It looks funny for a grown-up to sit on the small electric bike, isn’t it,” reckons one of the locals.

My dad begs to differ: “It makes me feel closer to the nature when I am on the bike when hearing the wind goes by.”

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