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Are Personal Electric Vehicles Sustainable? A Hybrid E-Bike Case Study

Mihai Machedon-Pisu () and Paul Nicolae Borza ()
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Mihai Machedon-Pisu: Department of Electronics and Computers, Transilvania University of Brașov, 500036 Brașov, Romania
Paul Nicolae Borza: Department of Electronics and Computers, Transilvania University of Brașov, 500036 Brașov, Romania

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 12, issue 1, 1-1

Abstract: As the title suggests, the sustainability of personal electric vehicles is in question. In terms of life span, range, comfort, and safety, electric vehicles, such as e-cars and e-buses, are much better than personal electric vehicles, such as e-bikes. However, electric vehicles present greater costs and increased energy consumption. Also, the impact on environment, health, and fitness is more negative than that of personal electric vehicles. Since transportation vehicles can benefit from hybrid electric storage solutions, we address the following question: Is it possible to reach a compromise between sustainability and technology constraints by implementing a low-cost hybrid personal electric vehicle with improved life span and range that is also green? Our methodology consists of life cycle assessment and performance analyses tackling the facets of the sustainability challenges (economy, society, and environment) and limitations of the electric storage solutions (dependent on technology and application) presented herein. The hybrid electric storage system of the proposed hybrid e-bike is made of batteries, supercapacitors, and corresponding power electronics, allowing the optimal control of power flows between the system’s components and application’s actuators. Our hybrid e-bike costs less than a normal e-bike (half or less), does not depend on battery operation for short periods of time (a few seconds), has better autonomy than most personal electric vehicles (more than 60 km), has a greater life span (a few years more than a normal e-bike), has better energy efficiency (more than 90%), and is much cleaner due to the reduced number of batteries replaced per life time (one instead of two or three).

Keywords: life cycle assessment; personal electric vehicles; hybrid energy storage system; e-bike (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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