E-Bike, Pedelec & Co.: Wann lohnt sich ein Elektrorad für Geldbeutel und Klima? I Ökochecker SWR

. I like to ride my bike,
even with the rattle box. But when the route gets steeper
and the way longer, you sometimes ask yourself, should
I take the bike, bus or train? Or maybe the car? (off:) I want to know how much
more environmentally friendly is the e- bike compared to the car? And is it better
than bus and train? Or is it just more comfortable
than a regular bike in the end? Turbo.

Oh! ok, ok Oh, I missed the exit! But how big is
the potential for the climate? They need
lithium-ion batteries. Pollutants and
heavy metals can be introduced into ecosystems
and also into the groundwater. This puts a heavy strain on the environment
and the people who live there. I ask myself: What is worth paying attention to
with an e-bike? And how long do I have to
use an e-bike for it to perform better than a car from a climate point of view
? (Fleet music) (birdsong) In 2021, cars and motorcycles caused
the largest share of CO2 emissions
in road traffic, at 62 percent. (off:) According to the Verkehrsklub
Deutschland, e-bikes should be an environmentally friendly and cheap
alternative to the car. To explain the term again: By e-bikes we mean those that
electrically support pedaling with the help of a battery.
Up to 25 km/h.

They are called pedelecs
in technical jargon. S-pedelecs support
up to 45 km/h, for which you also need
a license plate. There are now
almost ten million e-bikes on our roads, and the
trend is rising.
Surprisingly many of these come to my mind today. I'm interested: Why
are more and more people turning to e-bikes? Because we don't have a car, but we do have
children. Because it's super practical,
environmentally friendly and fun. Because I'm much faster with it. From district to district I need ten
minutes instead of half an hour. Why did you
switch to the e-bike? Because my husband had one
and made the mistake of letting me drive. I couldn't get the grin off my
face. I've also been driving 56 kilometers every day
since I've had it
, otherwise I wouldn't do it. So for tours, you can talk
and explain everything with no effort – huit! How about you?
Are you more of a team classic bike or have you already switched to an e-bike? And to all
motorists: would you swap your car
for an e-bike? Tell me in the comments.

Now I want to know
what should I watch out for if I want to buy an e-bike? On the one hand it should suit me, on the other hand it should also be as
sustainable as possible. (Animated music) Frederic Hehl is an expert
in the e-bike trade. He gives me an overview. Let's look at
the different types. Starting with the classic
city step-through bike for the city. According to the specialist dealer, it is ideal for flat
and shorter distances. A
battery capacity of 250 to 500 watts is sufficient for e-city bikes. A so-called mid-engine is
installed here. Compared to other
engine positions , it is easier
to keep your balance here. Here we have
the classic trekking bike again. The more sporty variant
is more suitable for longer tours. Both on the road
and off-road. Powerful batteries with a peak output of up to 600 watts should
ensure this.

Or really the classic
fun machine, an e-mountain bike. They require powerful motor power
and high battery capacity. Wide tires and suspension ensure
safety even on uneven terrain. (Easy music) E-bikes usually weigh
between 20 and 25 kilos. And they cost
upwards of 2,000 euros in specialist shops. (Easy music) How long can I usually
drive with one battery charge? (Easy music) The range question is our
most frequently asked question anyway. The golden question:
How far can I get with this? But we can already
say that on average, if we assume the 500-watt battery: Our
customers already manage an average of 70 to 130 kilometers

The range depends
not only on the battery capacity, but also on driving behavior
and the route profile. Is the battery integrated here?
– Yes. What is it like if it breaks,
from a sustainability point of view? How easy is it to
swap out? As an end user rather difficult. Removable batteries are easier to
charge and repair. When buying, make sure
that the manufacturer offers replacement batteries and spare parts.

With well-known manufacturers you can
usually be sure of this. How long do the
batteries usually last? As a rule, we can already
speak of 2,000 charging cycles. Um … seven years is
always a little bit in the room. Stiftung Warentest, on the other hand,
assumes five years. (Casual music) I'll explain in a moment how to get the most out of a battery
. Are there any other things I should definitely pay attention to when it comes to e-bikes
? How do I recognize a bad e-bike in
terms of repairability and interchangeability
of parts? We should make sure we have
sensible brakes, that's the be-all and end- all.

Then of course
the disc brakes … always a very,
very popular thing. Disc brakes can
provide a shorter stopping distance than rim brakes. They're
easier to repair. In general,
the brakes should be serviced regularly. There are also important factors when making your selection
: your own body shape,
the length of the route and the nature of the routes that
are ridden with the e-bike. (Lively music ends. ) Let's see how
it drives with battery power. (Lively music) For the test drive, I decide
on a, let's say: sporty city model that
is suitable for a wide variety of routes.

pexels photo 3855231

So I have
n't gotten any reinforcements yet. Now let's switch to Eco. Oh yeah, it's getting easier,
I'm getting faster. E-bikes have several
levels of support, depending on how much support you
would like to have while riding. If you slow down a bit on the incline
, you have to pedal
a little yourself, but there is a slight
boost. So compared to riding a bike –
it feels almost the same now in bottom gear. A little easier though. Now I'll switch
directly to the turbo, we'll skip a step, let's
see what that does. Turbo. Oh! ok, ok
Oh, I missed the exit! (lively music) And indeed:
It's easy to get up the mountain.

Okay, turbo is really fun. I've now learned quite a bit
about what to look out for with e-bikes. However, an e-bike shop wants
one thing above all: to sell e-bikes. So how good are e-
bikes really for the environment? And can they make a
contribution to the mobility revolution? To clarify this, I
meet Miriam Dross from the Federal Environment Agency on a car-free street in Berlin. She is an expert for "Sustainable
mobility in town and country". We'll start straight
away with the biggest sticking point: the lithium-ion batteries in the bikes. So why can
the extraction of lithium be so catastrophic for the environment? The mining of lithium
is associated with very high water consumption, especially in areas where it is very dry

In addition,
pollutants and heavy metals can be introduced into ecosystems
and also into the groundwater, and this naturally places a heavy burden on
the environment and the people who live there. You also need cobalt
for the batteries. That comes from countries like the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. A big issue there are
the dramatic working conditions and child labor. In addition, the soil and water around the mines are
often contaminated. At best, my battery lasts a very,
very long time.

What can I do to
make it last longer? It is particularly favorable if the battery is
never fully charged , preferably 90 percent at all times. Extreme temperatures are also
bad for the battery. It is best to store it well protected
from heat and cold. The
removable battery is also worthwhile in this regard. You can just
take it home with you. Let's get to the big picture. To what extent can e-bikes be
an important part of the mobility revolution? Or are they
unable to meet expectations at all? In our opinion, e-bikes can be
a real game changer in cycling. You can
commute to work by bike, where you would otherwise take a car. Any journey that is not
driven by car is positive.

The classic bicycle is still the most environmentally friendly means of
transport. Quite simply
because it does not require a battery. But if you use an e-bike instead of a car, you are definitely doing the climate
a favor. After about 300 kilometers, which
you cover on an e-bike instead of a car , the CO2 emissions from
the battery are offset again. It's even faster
if you charge the e-bike with electricity from renewable energies. (Animated music) And the e-bike
even beats public transport in terms of climate balance. But of course, if many are
to switch to e-bikes, the right conditions must of course
be created for this. Riding my bike in the city gives me the feeling
that public space is heavily geared towards cars. What needs to
change in the infrastructure? It is very important
that the cycle paths are wide enough, especially in the example,
so that cyclists
can pass each other at different speeds. And as much as possible
protected bike lanes. Traffic lights
are also designed for cars, not cyclists? Exactly, there are even new
technologies that show you how fast you have to go if you
want to have a green wave as a cyclist.

Or technical
devices that switch the traffic light to green
when the cyclist is coming. Now such an e-bike costs, sometimes as much as a cheap,
used small car. How should
the politicians support that? What already exists are funding
options from the employer within the framework of leasing
models as job bikes or "company bikes". This is also used
quite often. Of course, such opportunities should also
increasingly exist in other contexts. For S-Pedelecs, i.e. bikes that
support up to 45 km/h, the commuter flat rate can also be
claimed. And individual federal states,
such as Baden-Württemberg, are already providing financial support for the purchase
of pedelecs. (Dynamic music) Sure, no e-bike in the world
is more sustainable than a classic bicycle, but from a climate point of view,
the e-bike beats public transport and the car.

In order for the battery to
last a really long time, it is worth treating it with care. You can say that
the e-bike can be part of the solution to reach your destination in a more
climate-friendly way in the future. E-bike, bicycle or car –
what do you use? Our colleagues from "Zur Sache" have listed advantages and disadvantages
. The result: above. Tips below if your e-bike has
to go to the workshop. SWR 2022.

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